My first week in DS24

by George Pattinson

The first week at the data school was predominantly spent using Alteryx to prep data. For me, this was the first time I had used Alteryx, and it was also the first time in a while doing any real data work because my final interview was back in December 2020!

The worries of starting a new job -remotely- and meeting so many new people quickly disappeared as we spent most of Monday setting up our laptops and doing introductions before being eased into Alteryx with Carl and Peter in the following days. All the team and the rest of DS24 were very welcoming which made the whole process pretty seamless.

After a few days working with Alteryx, Friday finished with a bit of an adrenaline rush: putting to work everything we had learnt so far in Alteryx, we were tasked with finding an additional data set to supplement our original application viz with and prep this data in Alteryx, in 3-4 hours.

My first application viz

Above is the viz that I made for my application, which is about the global coffee trade and how it changed between 1990-2018. Finding new data to add to the viz for me wasn't too bad; the difficult task was actually trying to make sense of the data extracts from my original viz because the four worksheets I had used were all over the place and there were inconsistencies in the field names and data values.

Final Alteryx workflow

The above image is my final workflow, with the bottom container being the additional data I joined to my viz. The other four containers include the original data worksheets, which required a lot of cleaning up, however I ran out of time to complete what I wanted to do with them. Within the bottom container, the steps mostly consist of data prep (sampling, cleansing, filtering etc) before joining the coffee consumption data to coffee import data in the final stage of the workflow. Presenting what I had managed to throw together on Alteryx and in Tableau at the end of this was a little daunting, but I think it went ok and I was given some feedback which was also useful.

After DS24 finished up, it was time to listen in on DS23's first client project. It was really good to see how much progress they had made in the 10 weeks or so at the Data School, and it also gave us a flavour of the projects we will be working on in the future.

I really enjoyed the steep learning curve in my first week  - I just wish I was able to use Alteryx in my original application which would have saved me heaps of time! If you're toying with the idea of applying to The Information Lab I can't encourage you enough to download Tableau public and give it a go!