Well that was quick, the last four months of training at the Data School went by crazy fast. We are all already off to our respective first placement. Tomorrow, I will go work for 6 months at JLL with Laura, onto my first experience in a corporate environment, really looking forward to it! I think it is time to stop for a minute and share my reflections on my time spent at the DS, most probably the most determining for my future career and development.

You don’t only get paid to learn

In my opinion, what is great about the Data School is not only the fact that you are actually paid to learn these very valuable skills in a supportive environment, it is the attitude you are taught to adopt towards what you don’t know. You never know everything, there is always something new you can pick up on. At the DS you are strongly encouraged to blog regularly, take on challenges (i.e. MakeOverMonday, WorkoutWednesday, Alteryx Weekly Challenges), these not only get you involved in the community, they are great ways to learn new things while having fun. I will definitely maintain these habits to foster my own continuous learning. My advice here is to try them all when you have down time, especially the Alteryx Challenges, I felt they were so helpful in getting more efficient during project weeks.

You will present, a lot

Yes, there is one client project almost every week, and the other weeks, Andy always came up with something in order to have us presenting on Friday at 3pm. I was really looking forward to this as I thought of my presenting skills as a weakness. They say you only get better with continuous practice, I can’t say I am ready to rock a keynote (I might someday!)  but I have definitely made progresses. I am also looking forward to give the Tiny Tableau Talks a try soon. While in DS, you will have opportunities to give talks or demos, don’t think twice, they are invaluable learning experiences for our job as a consultant.

There Might be some Lows

While most of the experience felt like driving full speed on the highway, I did hit a few lows. Especially At the end of the third month. With already many client projects and trainings behind us, having the dashboard week (one new dashboard/presentation everyday :-)) and another project back to back was a bit difficult to handle. This might also be because I was going through the stress of having to find a new tenant to replace me in an apartment I was leaving, but I did feel a bit low at this moment. I handled it by slowing down a bit and trying to stay away from the computer for two weekends.

But it’s so Worth it!

Yes it was quite some work, but I don’t regret any bit of it. I feel like I have acquired more experience in these 4 months than during my two years Ma. Not only the technical parts, I think more importantly the mindset to tackle a client’s data problematic. This is in my opinion the most valuable bit, the tools might change or evolve, but the ways to break down and crack a problem by putting yourself in a clients’ shoes won’t. Having had 8 clients coming at us with their very different queries and varying levels of clarity regarding what they wanted delivered, really challenged us and helped us improve in that sense.

When coming in the Data School I knew I was about to embark on a very challenging adventure, I had very little experience with Tableau and barely knew anything about Alteryx. Of course I can’t say that after four months I have been entirely around the topic, but I definitely feel like I have learned so much and feel well equipped and ready to get started on my placement!