Dear DS6

by Wiktoria Rudz

I’ve heard on the grapevine that the next cohort of DS’ers is almost selected! I remember that when I got in (which feels like ages ago), I was reading all the DS4 reflective blogs bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. So let me not wait for Andy’s forceful request and write a couple of words about my Data School experience during the Data School training.


Dear DS6,


People are great

Before joining DS I’ve heard and read a lot how friendly and helpful people are at The Data School. Not that I didn’t believe it, but I thought it meant typical British polite: “I like it!” while thinking “this is rubbish”. 😉 It turns out the success of the whole organization lies in the fundamental unwritten principle that people should help each other. It is a characteristic of the whole Tableau & Alteryx community if you haven’t had a chance to notice yet. Additionally DS is very sociable and will welcome you with open arms (and chat rooms).

Coach Andy will encourage you to do these things the most: help each other, ask for feedback and:


Ask questions

Just ask questions and don’t pretend to understand everything.


Manage your time well

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but if you just got into The Data School and also plan to get married or change apartments anytime soon, just cancel the wedding and stuff right away. Even if you are super organised, which I thought of myself, all the stress with trying to reconcile the duties was too exhausting and unnecessary. Make sure you can focus and make the very most of the training. To do that you just need to dedicate a lot of time for practice. If Data School is definitely NOT one thing – it is not just 9 to 5 job.

In week two there were 3 different meetups for users after work. When the client projects started, I had been starting the days with either the workflow or a dashboard on my laptop screen. If you like solving Tableau or Alteryx puzzles, then that is not a problem. Remember that the Data School is investing in you, so you need to invest all your focus and time in the training. I remember clearly what Tom Brown said during his demo when I went for the meet & greet last year: try Tableau and if you don’ love it just forget about applying.

For me constantly having in the back of my head that I’m really short on time and don’t have yet everything arranged for my wedding (which is in 3 weeks BTW) is just uncomfortable. You’ll be better off planning everything around DS (especially DASHBOARD WEEK). You might also want to ask your friends and family for support and understanding.


What’s next?

Time at DS will fly fast, it will be intensive and then everything will slow down a bit. You might not feel completely ready for your placement, but they say it’s normal. I’m thinking to myself: hey, I didn’t feel ready for my Tableau exam and I scored 93% 😀 You will have more time to engage with the community more and do all those things you promised to yourself at the very beginning to do regularly like blogging, participating in Alteryx weekly challenges, Workout Wednesdays, Makeover Mondays and helping others solve their problems.  At least I hope so. In the World of new technologies learning never ends. All of the above is my plan for the next couple of months together with doing my best at my first placement.

Did you know Andy needs 20 mins to write a blog post? It takes me around 3 hours and I don’t even have it proofread anymore (I hope it not too painful to read).


The future

When I first heard about The Data School I was a marketer, who needed a change. I thought that helping organizations to understand their data would suit me well. I had witnessed a lot of struggle during my career so it seemed like a good idea. I applied and in the meantime got unexpectedly promoted at the current job. As the Data School initially sounded like a perfect idea, I wasn’t waving goodbye to my new position and salary without a shade of a doubt. Today I am really glad I took the risk and grabbed this opportunity. Whatever you do now and however you imagine your future, after the Data School training you will perceive it in very bright colors. I can’t give 100% guarantee as I haven’t graduated yet myself but just from being here and observing the work that previous cohorts do, I am confident to say that Data School is a one of a kind, life changing experience!

I am looking forward to all three placements. The Data School program allows you to change the workplace every 6 months to gain a variety of experience, which is a sheer brilliance. There are other positives like changing the environment, working from home, managing your own projects and most importantly having the whole Information Lab team help and support with any of your issues.


Good luck team and see you around!




Thanks Coach Andy for making this fun, Natasha for our lunch walks, Phil for the accurate English idioms and my Robert for all the support!


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