One day by chance, I stumbled across Data School on Seek, and my friend advised this would be a good start in the industry based on my experience and skill set. The Application was simple, “create a winning viz”. As I began playing around with tableau, I knew instantly I had no idea how to proceed. If you are able to one day visit my tableau public profile, you will see some of my very first vizes, which are good examples of bad vizes. My first vizes was a dashboard of a map that showed the number of cats and dogs in the USA and my first very first submission to Data School was a dashboard on Australian Weather. I daresay these vizes wouldn’t stand a chance. But how did I complete a 360 turn, and catch the eye of the data school coaches? When I reflect back, I was really fortunate enough to have a lot of support and below are the things I’ll like to share that made my application successful.

Do your Homework and Research
The first and utmost is to have a good understanding of the application requirements. If you were like me and thought, putting a few charts together into a tableau dashboard, you might need to rethink. For me when I first did that, I knew I had some skill gaps. I had some time, so I decided to learn a little bit more about data analytics. And this actually helped a lot in understanding the foundations of data analytics, and it gave me a lot of confidence in knowing what is actually going on from the backend. Afterwards, I tried to absorb as much Tableau content as I could. This ranged from youtube videos, Vizes of the Days, previous cohort’s applications and the Tableau community. This allowed me to have a better understanding of the Tableau program.

Fig.1.0 – My Very First Viz.

Pick a Topic You are Passionate About
So after spending some time polishing my skills, I had the confidence in managing Tableau. To test my skills, I picked a dataset on Australia Weather and I applied what I had learnt on Tableau. I had set buttons, filters and a map of Australia, I was so optimistic that I submitted this as my first ever application. Three days later, I completely scrapped the weather dashboard and remade a completely new dashboard from a different dataset.

Why did I do this? Simply because I knew absolutely nothing about Australian Weather, I was not a Meteorologist. If this was a viz to showcase my passion and interest, my original dashboard is falling pretty short of it. Lucky enough, I found a dataset on chess games from Lichess. When I was young, I used to play chess and I helped out at my university chess club. So I really enjoyed this new dashboard because I was able to learn a thing or two about chess again and more importantly I was the thought expert on this piece. I was really able to understand the data and generate key insights. Surprisingly I was not thrown off when I was asked about the data, because I knew the topic inside out.

Fig.2.0 – My First Submitted Viz

Ask for Help//Submit Your Application Long Before The Deadline
I was able to go as far as I could without the help and support of others. I had a friend who works as a data scientist, and throughout the process, he provided a lot of advice on the data analytics industry. As I was researching about Data School, I knew someone from a previous cohort. I reconnected with them and they were able to provide a lot of advice, especially on the application process. Finally, by submitting early, a Data School Coach will be able to provide more detailed feedback, and it will help a lot in fine-tuning the dashboard to a winning viz.  

Fig.3.0 – My Final Viz


Anthony Wong
Author: Anthony Wong