Life is unpredictable. Six months ago, I was looking for a job that would teach me Tableau. Little did I know I’d come across the Data School, giving me four months of expert training, nine real-world client projects, improved presentation and project management skills; and, above all, the most enjoyable experience of my career to date.
Here are five things I loved about the Data School.
- We had the chance to work and develop as a team
There’s a misconception people have about analytical roles: people assume you’re just sitting in front of a screen, by yourself, crunching numbers. The Data School has been so different. I’ve found a keen, talented group of people to share ideas with. Your best work happens when you stop what you’re doing and share it with the group, or work together on projects, or teach each other new techniques and tricks. It’s been by far the most sociable four months of my working life: I’ve spent them with eight interesting, brilliant people; and I’ve developed so much as a result.
- The work was incredibly creative
I know that I work best when I’m given a lot of freedom to be creative and have ideas. The Data School was perfect for me. There were many projects to complete and many pieces of work given to us, but there was a real emphasis on coming up with new ideas and putting them into practice. I felt that I had the creative licence to decide how a visualisation should look and work, and there was always someone on hand to discuss drafts with. I can’t emphasise enough just how much of an opportunity the Data School is to use your imagination.
- I now have the chance to work abroad
I’ve just arrived in Germany for my first placement. Working abroad for a little while has long been a dream of mine, and four months of data visualisation training has made it come true.
- Apps, web scraping and API calls
Previously, I’d seen that some websites had sections labelled ‘For Developers’. I’d tried clicking on those sections, but just found gobbledegook. After four months of the Data School, that goobledegook makes a lot of sense. I never thought I’d be able to scrape data from the web or call APIs or build my own apps.
In general, I feel way more comfortable with technical computing subjects. After the Data School’s SQL training I’m much more able to write and understand code, and learning to scrape websites has given me a decent grasp of both HTML and JSON. I’m really looking forward to developing my coding skills further: the Data School has given me, for the first time, the confidence to do so.
Alteryx has empowered me to build my first app. By tackling some Alteryx Challenges I built one app that found the best Scrabble word from a collection of letters, and another that found the nearest florist, as long as you were in Colorado. I’m really excited to create more apps, particularly as I’ve never been to Colorado.
- Advanced chart types
I knew Tableau was capable of many super-exciting charts, but I had no idea how to create them. I set myself the goal of learning as many different chart types as possible, and along the way I’ve built control charts, Sankey diagrams, network charts, radial charts, jump plots, bump charts and even a Tableau Top Trumps. I’ve been taught so many little tips and tricks, and I’ve really come to appreciate just how much you can improve a dashboard with a few formatting techniques.