The Data School Application Guide.

by Tommaso Ferri

A DIY anti anxiety guide to the Data School Application with some useful tips!  

Is amazing how time passes. It seems yesterday when I presented my NHL VIZ for the final application for the "Data School". And I will repeat it...time is soo quick!

I am writing this post for everyone that wants to apply to the Data School , and I will try to cover all the useful stuff that you might need before the application and the Data School.

The process

Being accepted in the Data School is not easy, because you have to:

  1. Get the grips on Tableau
  2. Make a viz
  3. Send the viz for a feedback
  4. Correct your viz and send it again
  5. First Interview
  6. Second viz
  7. Final Interview

When I decided to start the application process I did not know what Tableau was, and I had zero experience with Excel, datasheets and everything that was related to serious data analysis.

My engineering background was not so helpful either, because nothing in the application tasks was related to complex calculus or rocket science.

You want to know what really helped me? I will make a list for you:

I wanted to play and to learn.

Yes, and I am no joking. I wanted to have fun with something new and I started playing with Tableau Public. Data, before the application, for me was only related to Excel and boring tables BUT when I opened Tableau I was really really surprised. It had a clean interface, it had a lot of automatic visualization utilities and I played a lot with it. I plotted beautiful bars, colored sheets, without any clue of what I doing and with no insights in them. I learned how to make simple charts, coloring them, adding cool text boxes and so on. I played a lot with the software and it was really fun for me.

I learned from the bests (without a plan)

After learning the very basic of Tableau I got my groove one and I started thinking to make a meaningful first viz.

In your case you should think to something that you really like, something that will keep you on the pc and of course something that you can find data about online.

I struggled to pass from a random bunch of meaningless sheets to a coherent and nice dashboard, so...I started watching a lot (and I repeat a LOT) of videos of Andy Kriebel ( my future coach in the Data School) and I literally followed with no clue a lot of his tutorials. A lot of stuff was basically non useful for me , but I was curious, so I spent a lot of time in watching videos and make simple dashboards.

What you need for your first application?

What I think is a must have for your application is:

A basic understand of basic chart types , a solid base in Bar Charts and Line Graphs can really help you in 90% of the viz that you can think of. You can learn from a lot of tutorial videos from Andy Kriebel , Tim Ngwena and Donabel Santos , you cannot go wrong with this 3 tableau masters!

  1. Learn how to use container and think your viz before you make it.
Find an insight that you want to show from the data that you have downloaded and use a few containers and text boxes to explain what you want to show .

3. Basic Filtering and Simple Calculations.

In a few hours you can learn how to make simple filters to filter your data ( and focus your attention on what is important) and to do some simple calculations to enrich your sheets with even more insights.

4. Have fun.

Now that you know the very basic of tableau enjoy your dashboard making process. For the Data School Application you will need to make 2 vizzes. The first with a dataset that you will choose and the second one with a data decided by the Data School.

This is everything you need, really!

Keep Tuned for my next post, I will talk about my application!

And now....have a bit of fun with Tableau!