DS14 - Week 1 Recap

by Natalia Miteva

Hello! I am Natalia and I can proudly say that I am part of DS14 together with 8 others. I started my journey at the Data School on 1st April and have just completed the first week. Similar to my fellow cohortians, I will be blogging about my experiences and learning.

Here’s a summary of the first week:

Day 1 – Introductions

Day 1 started with an introduction to The Information Lab and the DS. The founder, Tom, talked to us about the history, evolution and future of the organisation. The two head coaches, Andy and Carl also spoke about their experiences and contributions.

In the afternoon, we were each given a bag with brand new equipment and we set up our laptops and downloaded all necessary software. Within less than 2 hours, we were ready for our careers at TIL!

We finished the day by completing the latest Makeover Monday challenge and had an hour to produce a dashboard and present it briefly to the group. Here’s what I created.

Day 2 – It’s only getting better

Day 2 began with a HIIT workout. Yes, TIL have inhouse fitness sessions every day, apart from Mondays, including kickboxing, yoga, and running! Working at TIL is getting better and better every day!

After the workout, the real training began. Carl introduced us to Tableau Prep Builder. This tool, part of the Tableau package, allows you to manipulate and clean your data before you load it into Tableau Desktop. We used the Preppin’ Data weekly challenges Carl and Jonathan post on their blog. The challenges proved a great way to learn and practice key data preparation techniques. We covered all functions: aggregate, pivot, join, and union, as well as some very useful formulas.

Day 3 – Alteryx Essentials

We had a full day of Alteryx training with Carl. He showed us the basics of the software, including data input, preparation, joining, parsing, transforming, and some key formulas. Jack from DS12 was our guest teacher. He presented a few others tips and tricks and revealed how we can document and organise our workflows. I am sure this will come very handy once we start working on client projects.

In the evening, I stayed for the Meet & Greet event. It felt great attending a second one of these, but on the side that I so wanted to be when I came to this office the first time.

Day 4 – Back to Tableau

Our Thursday began with an HR session, where we learned more about how TIL and the DS work, as well as the support available for all of us. We also discussed the upcoming Christmas party in Slovenia and the exciting activities that are awaiting.

Later, Andy covered the first part of Tableau essentials with us – e.g. types of data (continuous vs discrete), dual and combined charts, dates, filtering, grouping, maps.

We generated our own unique dataset with Mockaroo and conducted analysis on it. We somehow ended up with cars and plants in the same data!

At the end of the day, we watched DS13’s client presentation. They did incredibly well and the client was extremely pleased with the work they had produced and the insights they generated for his business.

Day 5 – Revizzing

On Friday, we spent the morning recreating one of our existing vizes, with the idea of supplementing the data we already used with an additional dataset. We also had to manipulate the additional data in Tableau Prep Builder and/or Alteryx.

We were very lucky to have the opportunity to pick a buddy from DS13 and utilise their help. Still, the exercise felt pretty hectic as the time seemed to pass 10 times quicker than normal. I focused on stripping some of the unnecessary content from my original dashboard and introducing a new point of analysis.

We also watched the presentations of the work DS9 have done during their ‘Back to School Week’ in between their placements (this is where it gets super impressive).

In the evening, we had our Welcome Party. This was a great chance to bond with my fellow cohortians over a pint of beer and Domino’s Pizza, and also talk to other members of the DS and listen to their stories.

If you have any questions about the Data School, or would like to chat in general, do not hesitate to get in touch on Twitter @nataliatamiteva.

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