It is the beginning of a four-month intensive training program to take us from data enthusiasts to great data analytics consultants before we are sent out on placements. The Data School is definitely not your average training program, school or course. The Data School arms us with extensive data analysis training using the best analytics tools in the business, including Alteryx and Tableau. The goal is to become the best data analytics consultants that will be able to produce significant ROI to our clients. In this blog, I will go over the hiring process and three things I wish I knew before starting this program.
THE HIRING PROCESS
The Data School has a unique hiring process. Anyone with a passion for data analytics is welcomed to apply at any time of the year. The Data School is constantly taking applications, you can view the application process here. Basically, you must find a data set and create a data visualisation (viz) in Tableau. Post that viz on Tableau Public where The Data School will review all the applications and choose 20 people for the next interview stage. During the next stage, you will be given a data set and again create a viz in Tableau. You will present your viz to the coaches in person and they will then select eight people to join the next cohort of data schoolers.
You do not have to have any experience as a data analyst. The main thing The Data School is looking for is a passion for data analytics. Each data schooler has a unique background. My background includes an MSc in Zoology where I emersed myself into researching the ecology of reptiles. Other backgrounds within cohort 7 include finance, research, hospitality and math.
The point is that nearly none of us had any exposure to Alteryx before starting at The Data School. The Data School provides all the training you need to graduate. However, that doesn’t mean it is easy. After surviving the first week of training, I realised that I would have benefitted a lot if I did three things before I started:
1. Familiarising myself with Alteryx
Alteryx is an extremely powerful program with a very wide variety of useful tools. Anything you would need to prepare and analyse data, Alteryx has it. As I have mentioned before, The Data School provides all the training you need to succeed. However, as we only have four months to become excellent data analysts, the rate at which you need to learn is extremely fast. I have always considered myself to be a fast learner, but this was something else entirely. Especially considering a program that I have never seen or used before. Within the first three days, we covered around 30 different Alteryx tools from around seven pallets. I found it quite hard to keep up at times. Alteryx provides a two-week free trial and looking back at it now, I would definitely have benefitted from using this free trial. That said, Alteryx is also very intuitive and user friendly once you understand the tools better.
2. There isn’t only one right way to design a workflow
During the first week of Alteryx training, the coaches will explain what a tool does and how you can use it. After learning a few new tools, they give us a task in the form of a word problem. We have to use the tools we have learned to solve the problem. When looking around to see how others have solved the problem, I got quite nervous about my own solution as it was completely different by using different Alteryx tools. Here is the thing, there is not only one way to solve a problem in Alteryx. Different tools can be used in a variety of ways to get to the desired outcome. It is okay to have a different workflow or pathway to solve the same problem. In fact, it is great to have a unique solution. We all get to share our individual answers on the big screen, and you pick up quite a lot of tips and tricks from others to optimise your own work.
3. Have a crack at the Alteryx exam, it’s free!
I don’t know about everyone else but hearing the word “exam” immediately sets my brain into panic mode. During week 1 of The Data School, I learned that we would have to get certified in both Alteryx and Tableau before taking on placements. The Alteryx exam consists of 80 questions and you get two hours to complete the exam. To pass, you need to achieve at least 80%. I am more concerned about the time restriction than the pass mark. The good news is that you can take the exam on demand, whenever you feel like it. Even more reassuring news is that it is okay to fail! You can try again as many times as it takes to pass after a 7-day cool off period. If I have known this before, I would have taken a crack at the exam before starting at The Data School. Familiarising myself with the layout of the exam and the type of questions I will encounter would have set me more at ease.
In a nutshell, week 1 of The Data School has been an amazing learning curve. Alteryx is even more powerful than I have imagined. I am extremely excited to learn what else I can achieve with my data in Alteryx. I can definitely see how The Data School is more valuable than any other course or school for the next generation of great data analysts. If you are interested in a career in data analytics, there is no better place to start! Check out the brochure, anyone is welcomed to apply.
Thank you for reading my blog!
If you have any questions on the application process or training, please feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.