The End of DS8 - Reflective Blog

by Oliver Clarke

The four months at 33 Cannon Street have very nearly run out (1 day left!). Before I leave I thought I’d reflect on the months I’ve shared with the other inhabitants of the DS. After each client project we did a ‘start/stop/continue’ where we went through what we should have done, what we should not have done and what we should continue to do. I’m going to structure this blog in a similar way looking at what I’ve done/liked and what I should have done more.

The Good:

Courtesy of Dmatt333

  • First and foremost the training we have received has been unilaterally fantastic. We’ve had direct access (whether in person or over Convo) to experts in all sorts of fields – all of whom have been more than happy to share their knowledge.


  • The other members of DS8 have all been great. It’s remarkable that we haven’t had a single argument/falling out in the past 4 months, despite spending the majority of them rubbing shoulders in the same room. The members of DS8 have a wide variety of backgrounds (from physics to chemistry) and a whole bunch of different areas of knowledge. At any point I was finding something difficult, the first thing I did was turn to whomever was sitting next to me and ask them for help. I read all of their blog posts and learnt something new from at least one of them every day.


  • The client projects have probably been the most useful weeks in terms of personal development. You get to apply your knowledge of the tools to practical, real world problems as well as work on your soft skills. Everyone takes a turn to be the project lead which I found incredibly useful and eye opening. Finally the end of week presentations to the clients were always great as both a test of our understanding, as well as a way to realise our own progress. These weeks go fast, with a whole lot of stuff to get through on top of the normal training schedule. My time management skills were quickly tested and forced to improve.


  • The past 4 months have been filled with opportunities I don’t think I would have found anywhere else. I had shadow days with consultants ‘out in the field’, helped run training sessions, received training from external and internal experts, and knew that whenever I had a question, 130 people with over 400 years of experience are available and willing to help.


My Bad:

  • I definitely fell behind slightly when it came to my Tableau Public page. I missed a fair few MakeoverMondays, and didn’t create that many vizzes on my own data sets. This is something that I am trying to fix going forward, but if I had the last 4 months again, I would definitely change this.


  • I’ve been pretty quiet on Convo. I have posted questions a few times, but I would always go to whoever was in The Data School before trying Convo. Again I am going to make a concerted effort to improve my visibility on Convo now that I’m going out on placement.


  • I think in general I haven’t applied the same rigour and structure to my personal development outside of work, than I have to my work in the DS. There is so much to do out there – Alteryx Challenges, MakeoverMondays, WorkoutWednesdays, User Groups, TinyTableauTalks, answering community questions on both Tableau and Alteryx – that I found myself slightly paralysed by choice. A more structured approach would have (and will) hopefully have gotten past this problem.


Final Reflections:

Courtesy of RavenU

As you might have guessed already, I have absolutely loved the past 4 months. The common thread running through all of my gripes has been me failing to take full advantage of the opportunities offered to me. It has gone by extremely fast, and I find it slightly ridiculous the amount of stuff we have all learnt since February. If I have any advice to give to DS9 it is pretty simple:

  1. Use those around you for help
    1. Whether your cohort, your trainers or those on Convo; everyone will be more than happy to help.
  2. Grasp the opportunities offered
    1. As I said earlier, there is so much that you can do, try to do as much as you can.
  3. Enjoy it!
    1. It’s unlike any job I’ve done before, but I really hope you enjoy it as much as I have


That’s it for this #ReflectiveBlog, as always if you want to chat you can find me on twitter @olliehclarke.


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