At the end of our training period in the Data School we are encouraged to reflect on our experience, something which often we don’t find ourselves having too much time to do during the DS itself (though not from want of people getting you to do this). If you’re thinking of joining the DS, here’s my two cents;

It’s meant to be hard

Things worth doing aren’t generally easy, and when people come by something without putting much effort in, there’s a reason they call it lucking out. The DS employs an intense training method which broaches a subject from multiple angles simultaneously (or the inverse) which can often feel quite overwhelming, to the degree that it may feel like nothing’s going in. Your brain’s capacity to absorb information is far greater than your ability to notice it doing so, so try not to get too hung up on a lurking inferiority complex that you are not picking things up first time. Good things come to those who wait – this is a neat way to encapsulate the DS because you’ll also probably be consuming a reasonable amount of beer.

This is also true, because if you break for lunch any later than 12.15 you will be in v long queues.

But it’s not meant to be spirit breaking

That said, you know your own mind. Feedback is important at the school because it is ultimately the critical function of human learning. If you find that defensive barriers are rising, or that you’re hiding behind some entirely during the training then you need to speak up about it. TIL are probably some of the least judgemental technology consultants in London because as a company, the ethos is to teach people to fish, not just give them fish, tease them with fish, or worse, slap them with fish. This is also important because in a cohort, you’re effectively learning as a team, and the instant rivalry or competition creeps in, the essence of learning from one another can fall apart.

DS10 and 11 working together as Conrad teaches server stuff.

You will not only learn Tableau and Alteryx

Tableau and Alteryx are tools but they are not sonic screwdrivers. The BOFH is no longer an acceptable persona in IT (not that it was ever) because as our society shifts towards the technological, you will learn that often you will be doing an important role at placements moving them with this shift. This means moving minds more than moving pills or browse tools, and requires a very different set of skills – sometimes it will feel like pulling teeth and sometimes it will be surprisingly rewarding. People who excel at the DS recognise this and their own style with it – DSers are technically highly accomplished, but you’ll best remember the helpful ones with personalities (which is most of them).

Sometimes the help and encouragement with a personality is not always related to data.


Other important notes:

The jokes are terrible

On par with cracker jokes.

Bow Lane is a great place to work

You will probably not get tired of walking up Watling St and seeing the view of St Paul’s Cathedral.

You’ll never go in the pub downstairs, but you will hear it

Particularly on any kind of evening with sports events.

I really enjoyed my time with DS10 because we work together well as a team, even if our personalities are all very different, but the virtue of being in a small company with small work groups means that it’s not hard to stay in contact with one another. If you’d like to chat with me about my time at the Data School, then please @ me on twitter.