Why Data School is Amazing

by Natasha Kurakina

The first week at Data School has come to an end for all of us in DS5. Everyone is adjusting to the changes in their daily routines and to the swift pace of life here. Our calendar was packed with lots of different activities. We learned some useful Tableau sorting tips and that time keeps slipping away.

So far every single day was extremely exciting and by the end of the week I was confident that this is the best place to start a career in data visualisation. Here are my reasons why Data School is amazing.

First of all, this is not just a few-months-long training on how to use Tableau and Alteryx. This week showed that DS is so much more well-rounded than that.

We learned the general principles of good data visualisations, reviewed the best practices and then Andy made us apply this knowledge in our makeovers. With Dan Raines, who previously worked for Tableau, we looked at the product range and discussed how Tableau helps to cultivate a data driven culture.

This week also featured two prominent guest speakers. Tableau Zen Master Rob Radburn talked about his experience, how he uses Tableau at work and what makes a good visualisation. I particularly enjoyed the part where Rob addressed the challenge of introducing changes, a highly relevant topic, and provided advice on how to deal with it.

Another speaker was the head of Tableau EMEA James Eiloart, with an incredibly engaging speech about Tableau philosophy and its obsessive culture of putting the customer experience first. I was a bit surprised to learn that Tableau was designed for asking questions and getting answers from data rather than just producing beautiful visualisations, but the simplicity of exploring the data is exactly why I love Tableau.

At the end of the week Jonathan MacDonald gave us a quick introduction to Tableau Server and its features, so looking forward to seeing him again for more extensive training.

Though we hadn’t practiced much in Tableau itself, this week provided lots of opportunities to learn as much as possible around it and get to know the community.

Community is another argument for why I think DS is great. Apart from the obvious fact that Data School and The Information Lab can boast about having some of the most prominent members of the Tableau and Alteryx communities, everyone here is extremely supportive and helpful.

I am used to big corporate culture, but this week in DS I learned the alternative, the culture of sharing and empowering each other with knowledge. Such openness and sincerity is still very new to me, and I must confess it feels exciting.

To wrap up my excitement about the first week, I would add that these few days were fun and not like going to work at all!


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