Tom's top tips for future Data Schoolers

by Tom Pilgrem

So you made the cut!

If you’re one of the lucky bunch to be starting in DS9 (or 10 and beyond!) then here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your time here!

Well done

First of all – congratulations! The application process and interview stages to get here aren’t easy, so be proud of your achievements so far. Now’s the time to get going though and make the most of the next 4 months. The time will fly by. So make sure you get the most out of it.

1. Have fun

This is probably going to be the only time in your life you’re getting paid to purely learn. So embrace it and get stuck in. The training can feel intense at times, and it is. But it’s all designed and proven to get you where you want to be, the best. It’s important to remember to smile and have fun with your cohort.

2. Blog

I’ve really enjoyed blogging as part of my time in DS. But what it really does help you do is reinforce what you’ve learnt during training. It can feel tiring sometimes but embrace it and get blogging. I find that by writing something down after I’ve learnt it can really help my brain understand. It also forms a great catalogue of tips and tricks you can go back to and use again and again. I often find myself scrolling through both mine and the rest of DS8’s blogs to remind myself how to do things we learnt a while ago.

3. Take time for yourself

This was a really important one for me personally. People stayed up late at night to finish off work for projects. To keep myself sane I need a break from work and training to have my own personal life. It’s OK to say no and go home and do your own thing! In fact, I’d encourage you to do it. Make sure you take the time to do some exercise, read a book, go extreme ironing. Whatever it is that makes you tick. Remember how in the interview process you would have been asked what makes you unique? Keep doing that.

4. Present at an event

I gave a talk at Tiny Tableau talks earlier this month. It was a great experience and one I would encourage you to take on yourself. The format was really easy, it’s just a quick 5 minute talk on anything tableau related. A demo of a tip or trick you’ve picked up and want to share makes for a great presentation. It exposes you to the wider Tableau community and whilst at the Data School in London you should take the opportunity and the platform you find yourself on at the moment to get yourself noticed. It’s also great fun and really key to give something back to a community which has likely helped you during your application process.

5. Get involved in training

One of my two shadow days during training was helping out on an Alteryx essentials course. It’s a great way to get exposed to how The Information Lab teach courses to real clients. It helped me realise how much I’ve learnt. Nothing helps boost your confidence in your skills than people asking questions about how to do x,y or z and being able to answer them all. It will also help you when out on placements and someone asks you how to do something or train some people. Knowing the training materials at your disposal will also aid you. There’s always loads of training courses being run – so make yourself available to help out, it’ll be worth it!


Good luck with the training, DS9. You’re learning from the best in the business, so make the most of it! I look forward to meeting you over the next few weeks!

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