The beginning

The first time I met Ollie, Jevon and Robbin was at the DS7 graduation party, which was great. That was the first time we were thrown out in the wind as we had to be creative with a joke on the spot with music blaring, lights flashing and a bunch of strange people looking at us. I’m not very good at doing things on the spot – but hey, this is the DS, everything happens on the spot in the DS. The rest of our group, we met the first day of the DS and it has been great all the way. Everyone either came from a science or business background – except Ollie who is a passionate singer/psychologist.

One of the very first things that I realised at the DS is that everyone in the group is there for a reason. Everyone has strengths and when you are not good at something, the other members in the DS are there to support you (not to mention the rest of The Information Lab).

Things to know:

  • Working through Tableau and Alteryx in a group is often quite fast, depending on the project or task. Personally, I prefer figuring things out on my own – digesting a problem and getting to solution through a lot of thought and reflection – it is the way I learn. This was not always possible in the DS due to the fast pace. By the end of the DS I realised it is simply faster to ask when I’m stuck vs catching up when I fell behind.
  • In the DS, it was also the first time I worked in any kind of team. There is a lot of team-work during the four months – especially during the client projects. I think we worked very well together as group and everyone did their part.
  • You often don’t have a lot of time to do analysis, especially if Andy is handing out one of his 1-day or 1-hour projects, so focus on learning and applying new techniques. If there is one thing that I would have done differently, it’s this. During the time at the DS, the focus is not to obtain insights from data (excepting the client projects where data investigation is necessary), but to learn new techniques in data visualisation. This didn’t sink in until the very end and I would really recommend focusing on learning and applying new techniques than spending hours trying to answer creative but unnecessary questions.
  • You are going to be exposed to things you have no experience in. For me the two areas of greatest personal development were presenting and working in groups. Not to mention writing blogs and having a twitter account…
  • Be prepared for feedback. During the time at the DS you will realise there are quite a lot of things that you need to focus on.
  • Have a range of funny jokes,  but Andy’s response on jokes is often more funny than the joke itself…
  • Realise that everyone in TIL wants to help you in any way possible. From solving interesting Alteryx problems, laughing with us at Andy or Carl, or Jack from the sales team demonstrating how to look excited when presenting. Use the help that they offer.
  • Have loads of fun.

Going forward:

I made very good friends and really enjoyed all the people in DS8. Everyone had their little space to fill and were really missed the days they were on holiday or shadowing with one of the DS already at a placement. It is sad that this time is now over, but I trust we will see each other quite often.

I now look forward to the upcoming placement where I can apply what I’ve learned and to see where my previous experience comes together with what I learned at the DS.