DS20: Locked Down But Starting Up

by Gordon Hack

With the country having ground to a halt and the creeping summer heat intensifying the lockdown malaise, starting the twentieth cohort of The Data School was a breath of fresh air. It felt very odd to be starting a new career in data analytics while the rest of the world was shutting down, but as became clear on our first (virtual) day, this was a testament to the robustness of the operation run at The Information Lab.

Having received all of our hard- and software in the mail, we spent the morning setting up with Craig on Zoom, and being inducted into the various Info Lab networks. Then after meeting a bunch of future colleagues at team lunch on Remo, it was on to an introduction to the company from Tom. In fact we already knew the company very well, having previously been taken on board Convo, The Information Lab’s internal communication platform, but it was refreshing to have Tom spell out the unique company philosophy, with a strong emphasis on openness and communication facilitated by the platform.

Finally it was on to introductions from Andy and Carl before diving headfirst into a Makeover Monday on our barely-unboxed virgin machines. Needless to say this was nerve-racking, coming at the very end of the day and having not touched Tableau for a good while.. furthermore we were given precisely 1 hour to do it 😱 (I can easily take up to a day on the thing). But it was a fun and (what I’m sure will prove) useful experience. Also Andy and Carl were able to critique our Vizes and provide pinpointed feedback in a process that didn’t feel at all hung up by being remote.

So all in all the day was a hit, and although it was sad not to get to meet people in person (particularly my fellow cohort), our seamless integration within the company has left me with nothing but optimism towards our coming months of virtual training.

Here’s the Makeover Monday I came up with in the session. Coincidentally this week fell on the very serious topic of FGM, being the first Monday of the month and therefore #Viz5 for gender equality (www.makeovermonday.co.uk/viz5/). As with my previous Viz5 (see here), I opted for a chart displaying each individual as a single point to bring home the gravity of the topic.

Then after the session I couldn’t resist giving the viz a minor face-lift before publishing to Tableau Public. You can find the final Viz here.

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