Hi! I’m James. I recently joined The Data School and I’m loving every second of it.

In this blog post you’ll see how much time I put into learning and practicing Tableau while applying to The Data School, and the before and after results of all this effort.

A word of caution however, the time I spent learning was the ideal amount for me, and in no way should dictate how much time YOU should be putting in. Instead, I hope this inspires you to dive into Tableau by showing how much improvement can be made in such a (relatively) short period of time.

Prior to discovering The Data School I had zero knowledge about Tableau. I knew almost nothing about programming and data (apart from Excel basics and a teeny tiny amount of R and Python from some online courses). Hence, I felt like trying to learn Tableau would require herculean amounts of effort.

To my surprise Tableau was super intuitive, had great training videos, and on top of that, had an amazing community who would answer any questions I had.

I ended up clocking in 75 hours and 15 minutes on Tableau over the 44 days from finding out about The Data School, up to the day before the final interview. This is how it looked:

From finding out about The Data School (20th Nov) to my final interview (3rd Jan) – my running total of hours spent on Tableau.

As you can see, I put in around 10 hours a week on average, until the week before the interview where I did around 35 hours!

I also seemed to take fairly long breaks after each submission…

But what does this actually mean in reality?

To answer that I have included my first ever viz below, and you can probably place it at around 4-5 hours of learning.

My first ever viz!

My thoughts when I made it at the time; “WOW! (this is the best thing ever)”. My thoughts now; “WOW! (…that has a lot of room for improvement)”.

Even though I may think it looks not-that-great now, that doesn’t matter. What actually matters is the fact that I kept trying, kept failing, and kept learning. In the words of Bob Ross “we don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents.”

Eventually (after 75 hours and 15 minutes according to my semi-accurate time keeping) I made a half decent viz for my final interview – which you can see below:

My viz for the final interview


In the end, the amount of time I spent didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because it was so interesting and fun. For me, enjoying the learning process is the number one piece of advice I would give to anyone thinking of applying to The Data School.

For those who have yet to make the leap, I strongly adivse you to thoroughly read through our application process by clicking the Apply button above.

Remember to take as long as you need to apply, and enjoy it.

Check out my Tableau Public to interact with the visualizations above (and see a few more that I did along the way), or Tweet me @jamf_data if you need help with your application.