A Letter to Future Data Schoolers

by Natasha Kurakina

My dear future DS friend,


If you are thinking about applying to the Data School then definitely do it, and if you have already been accepted then my sincere congratulations!


On your first day or even week, you will find yourself in a room among 8 other bright and passionate Tableau enthusiasts. Apart from their dataviz passion and being the best of the best, these 8 people will still be a group of completely different strangers. Everyone has their own interests, unique background and story. But don’t worry, different backgrounds are exactly what makes the Data School experience rich and interesting, and soon enough you will find new friends here.


The first few weeks will be especially overwhelming. Our friendly TIL family will heartily welcome you on Convo, our internal messaging app, which is a great place to look for advice, feedback and support. Of course, you will not remember all of our names at first, and yes it won’t be any easier for future newcomers. But don’t worry, an abundance of internal social events will help you get to know everyone better. Socialising is a crucial part of the Data School experience, which helps to not only connect with DSers from other cohorts and core team members, but is also a great way to share knowledge, experience and empower each other.


You will also meet many interesting people from the community, get to know Tableau Zen Masters and Alteryx Aces, people who promote Tableau and Tableau Public, and speak to the senior managers who supervise data visualisation teams in large corporations around the world.


Your journey will be guided by our head coach Andy. He knows a lot, so don’t miss the chance to ask him lots of questions. Andy will do his best to teach you everything, he will constantly throw challenges at you and push you out of your comfort zone regularly. But don’t worry, looking back at the dashboard week, you will realise that it is one of the best weeks during training. In reality Andy is very supportive and wants you to succeed. He clearly enjoys what he is doing, he tries to make it fun along the way, and his jokes are hilarious … most of the time.


Towards the middle of your training you would start feeling confident in using both Tableau and Alteryx, and let me assure you, your skills will have skyrocketed by this time. Weekly projects are very useful in putting what you learned into practice. Projects with real clients are extremely valuable as they allow you to sample different industries and solve real business problems.


Remember that working on a piece of work for clients means less time for self-development, less time to participate in community projects, less time to work with the data you’re really passionate about and less opportunities to share your work with others. But don’t worry, although it is really tempting, you don’t have to participate in absolutely everything. Time management, routine, reminders and calendars will definitely help you achieve more.


During the whole training period you will feel sleep deprived, firstly from the excitement and secondly from the training intensity. You will never be able to make your viz/dashboard/blog/workflow perfect, as there is always something that can be improved. But don’t worry, no one expects a perfect piece of work from you. Asking for feedback, iteration and regular practice is what’s valued here.


At the end of your training, you will start feeling that you are ready to leave the DS bubble and become an expert dataviz consultant. You will definitely feel sad to leave this random bunch of people who will have become your friends during this time. But don’t worry, the new experience of the first placements awaits you, which will be the next exciting chapter in your data school journey.


Good luck!







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