A Tale of Two Meet and Greets

by Jenny Martin

Back in January, I came to a Meet and Greet full of hopes and dreams. I’d had the pleasure of being taught by TIL before on an Alteryx Essentials course, so I knew how awesome the company was and had already submitted my application. Everything I heard that evening, everyone I spoke to, it all solidified my resolve to do everything that I could to get a job here!

Fast forward a couple of months and now I’m at another Meet and Greet but with an important difference – those three letters after my name! (No not BSc or MSc or anything like that, but TIL!) By the time this Meet and Greet came around I’d been part of DS14 for a whole 3 days, so I wasn’t sure how much help I would be really. In fact I felt a little bit nervous, the imposter syndrome creeping in a bit. Luckily this quickly disappeared once I started talking to people. I found it surprisingly easy to talk with genuine enthusiasm about how much I was enjoying my first week.

So how did I manage it? Why did they let me in?

The one viz on my Tableau Public before I came to the Meet and Greet

I remember at the first Meet and Greet hearing that you shouldn’t apply if you’ve only got one viz on your Tableau Public profile. That set alarm bells ringing! That’s exactly what I had done! I knew that Carl was supposed to be doing my phone interview later that week, so I made a beeline for him and shared my fears. That’s one of the best things about TIL, I think, if you’re open and honest about what’s going on with you, you’ll get an open and honest response back. Carl told me that from my application alone, he wasn’t 100% sure, that I should spend an hour doing a Makeover Monday the next day and send that over too. That’s what’s expected for a Makeover Monday btw, for you to just spend an hour and see what you can do. I think that really helped me to stop worrying about being “perfect” because there’s no such thing as a perfect dashboard, there is always more iterating and improving to be done, so I found having a cut off point super useful! 

Once I’d done that Makeover Monday, had Carl’s feedback, and made it to the final stage, I knew I had about 3 weeks until I would receive the data to start working on my final dashboard. I knew that during that time the best way to prepare would be to do as many Makeover Monday’s as I could. At one point I thought of setting myself a goal of doing 1 a day, but working full time in a job I wasn’t enjoying meant I sometimes struggled to find the time/energy and so I only actually managed 4 in the end! I certainly didn’t stick to the 1 hour limit on any of them, because I found once I started using a new dataset and having a look at what others were doing on Twitter, I would disappear down the rabbit hole of Tableau and be enjoying learning too much to stop (wow, ok reading that back, my housemates are definitely right to call me a nerd so much…)

Once I received the data for the final interview, I had so many ideas of what I could do but also no idea what I *should* do – if that makes sense? I was a bit paralysed by wanting to make everything perfect that I didn’t know where to start. My best advice if you find yourself in this situation, have a look around on tableau public/TIL or Data School website/YouTube channel for vizzes that use a similar data source i.e. see what other people have done with geographical/time data, what are the different chart types people use, how do they use interactivity etc. The data I was using was around dockless vehicles in Austin, and I managed to stumble across some dashboards to do with commuting in London. It really helped to reassure me that I was on the right track!

The Dockless Vehicle Dashboard for my final interview

As for the interview itself, I’ll share the best advice that my friend gave me: “be confident, act like you’ve already got a job and that you belong there, because clearly you think you do or you wouldn’t care this much.” I think this helped me to relax and just be myself. My other top tip would be to arrive early and chat to some the DSers who will probably be around. Chatting to DS12, asking them questions, it all helped me get into that mindset that I belonged there! 

So that’s my first blog written at the end of my first week. Please do give me feedback to help me improve if you can! Maybe for my next one I’ll have some interesting Tableau/Alteryx tips to share….

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