Approaching the final days of our 4 months at the Data School Australia it seems a good time to reflect on my time here. The period has flown by, it feels like only yesterday we were going through introductions at the new office and getting to work in an area that we all love – Data.

The initial learning curve was steep and fast paced. I think this approach of being thrown in with all the tools from beginner to advanced in the first couple of weeks was a good way to go. After the initial exposure to them, when there comes a need to use them later on they don’t have the same untouched aura about them and we can practice the practical implementation of them.

After the steep learning curve came the projects and dashboard week! I group them together because I think both are designed to put us under strict time pressure, while obviously still wanting optimal insights and user focused results out of them. We definitely got more and more efficient at them, working as a team and working back if need be (there was never any pressure to do this, but we made the decision that what we would present would be much improved when we did a little extra, especially on Thursday nights before a presentation). It’s funny to see though that even recently when we’ve had good dashboards, they often create new questions to ask and there is always improvements to be made, so I think it is a good skill to know how much of this ‘requirements creep’ to include and how much to leave ‘for the next version release’.

Personally, I already knew a bit about reporting Software like Tableau, but being exposed to and learning Alteryx has been my biggest highlight. Along with the variety of people and industries that we’ve come into contact with already! Doing my first real exams since school to achieve my Tableau certification and Alteryx Core and Advanced certifications was interesting. I can’t say I loved the clunky structure of the Tableau one, but they both pushed me to learn more and it’s nice to see how our skills measure up in the community.

By making that decision to take the leap and join the Data School Australia 5 months ago I definitely don’t regret the amount I’ve been able to grow both my technical and softer skills like presentations, the networking with experts across data science and analytical fields, and helping in 7 real life projects in completely different areas has made it extremely worthwhile. I’m looking forward to what our four 6-month placements will bring next.

Finally, I wanted to include my top 10 key learnings from the intensive Data School Australia program:

  • Practice Speed and efficiency to meet deadlines
  • Prioritising requirements and doing them in order from necessary to the ‘nice to haves’
  • Managing people and teamwork. Done right can make everything a whole lot better!
  • Using resources/expert’s available (ie. where to find information)
  • Accuracy and attention to detail (In my view the single most important thing we’ve been practicing, it’s the backbone for everything else)
  • Communication (on progress, role assignments, re-using workflows etc)
  • Asking the right questions – To find out exactly what the user wants to get out of their data.
  • Keeping a good file structure on your computer can be vitally important when working on lots of projects and to find things for re-use.
  • Working in an area that you really enjoy can make the time fly!
  • There’s a great community out there in many specific areas that you may be interested in eg. Sportsviz Sundays

 

Check out my Tableau work so far here: https://public.tableau.com/profile/blake.stroh#!/

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Blake Stroh