A Data School Reflection - The Final Week

by Marcus Grant


We have now finished our second to last week at Data School and all I can think of is “Where the hell has the past 4 months gone?”

DS has been a rollercoaster of emotions and in all honesty, I am relieved to have gone through the experience and come out on the other end in one piece!

I hadn’t planned to apply to the DS back in April/May… It all started with my boss sending me to the Information Lab Tableau 101 workshop (lead by Carl Allchin and Luke Stoughton) shortly after I joined their team.  The organisation I worked for use Tableau Public and saw how quick I was to pick up on it after realising how easy it was to use.

It took a bit of convincing from Carl and Luke to get me to apply and after a few post Tableau 101 pints, I am glad that I applied.

My personal Highs and Lows

I want to reflect on some of the highs and lows I experienced during the 4 months of DS training:

The Highs:

  • Seeing how much we have progressed since first starting DS.
  • Finally understanding how the {INCLUDE} LOD can be used.
  • Realising I don’t suck at Parameters anymore (Thanks Sasha!)
  • Becoming more confident with presenting in front of people.
  • Becoming part of the Tableau and Alteryx community.
  • Getting to work abroad in Germany with a great client.
  • DS6 – We’re all from such different backgrounds yet we all got along like a house on fire!
  • My Pod! (Pod2 is the greatest)
  • Graduating!

The Lows:

  • Not knowing how to ‘switch off’ at first, leading to a burnout/loss of motivation after a few months.
  • Imposter Syndrome – “How did I manage to get a place on DS?”, “I always feel like I am falling behind!”, “These guys are so much better than me”, “They will find out I am not as good as X person”.
  • Feeling a bit ‘boxed in’ sometimes being in the same room with the same people.

While the lows can be hard-hitting at times it is always good to remind yourself that you’re doing fine and have nothing to worry about especially if the TIL team haven’t pulled you aside to discuss your progress.  The high’s far outweigh the lows and there is always somebody to talk to within the company when you’re feeling low.

I am thoroughly looking forward to putting what we have learnt in DS to action at my placement and future placements and to be representing The Information Lab out in the world.

Next week (w/c Monday 18th September) we will begin learning SQL and probably be doing a lot of ‘Create this in SQL, Alteryx and Tableau’. We also graduate on Friday 22nd before I fly off to Germany on the 23rd.

Word of advice for DS7ers:

  • Take notes!! And make sure you read up on them regularly.
  • Don’t expect every viz you create to be awe-inspiringly good! Some weeks they’ll be amazing and in other weeks you’ll be asking yourself “What the hell was I thinking making that?!”.
  • Learn when to switch off and don’t stay up late doing Alteryx/Tableau stuff too often.
  • Get involved in the communities early on as you will meet/get to know so many people who will provide you with a host of outside experience.
  • Do the Alteryx challenges, Tableau Workout Wednesdays, Makeover Mondays and any other challenges you can find online as they’ll help with your learning.
  • Be confident and learn how to say no (Thanks Amanda for this one).
  • Make the most of Convo.
  • Never forget that you have TIL – We are all here for support with ANY issue.