The Data School is truly unique. Everything from the hiring process to the mentorship process is completely different from any other organisations out there. There’s never a focus on doing things the traditional way, but rather the better way. And that’s what makes it so great.

This difference cultivates a unique culture. And not just one that looks good on paper, but one that works for real. Before I get into the details, let me ask you a question. What makes a workplace great?

Here’s my take on this. I think a great workplace should have a focus on employee well-being, a healthy work-life balance, great mentorship and a culture that inspires togetherness. And that’s exactly what I signed up for when I joined the Data School. 

So, what is the secret sauce that makes the Data School culture so great? How does the Data School tick all the right boxes?

Three things – the people, the priorities and the procedures.

The People & the Hiring Process

The Data School does a great job of bringing together the right people by cherry-picking the most passionate ones out there. And the process is deceivingly simple. 

You don’t submit a CV or a Resume. Nope, not at all during the entirety of the process. You start by submitting a data visualisation work on any topic of your choice. This step of the process leaves out anyone who isn’t passionate enough to take the time to create something. And no, there’s no expectation on you to have any prior experience on this. Matter of fact, it’s better if you don’t have any prior experience. 

Through this process, you’re demonstrating your passion and your ability to learn – two key factors that drive success. Throughout the rest of the application process, you mainly demonstrate your presentation skills, interpersonal skills and self-learning abilities. 

The end of this process leads to a group of people who look different but share the same passion and mindset. Put them together, and you have an organisation that breeds togetherness.

The Priorities

The right focus leads to the right outcomes. And so, nobody in the Data School is too caught up on the wrong priorities. The key focus is always on delivering the best work and improving through constant iterations.

One example of this is mandatory Friday presentations. Every weekend everybody currently in training presents their work. And it’s open to anybody in the Data School interested in attending. There’s a broad range of people who are attending, reviewing the work and providing valuable feedback, including senior management. This fosters a great learning environment with a great deal of focus on the personal development of every individual being trained.

When the priorities are so focused on driving personal development, the outcome can only be good.

The Procedures

Nearly every process in the Data School is different from what you might experience anywhere else. That’s because every procedure you go through has been redesigned to focus on doing things the best way. 

To me, the focus is simple – do better every day. The training process puts a great emphasis on learning through doing. The client project weeks are designed to offer the chance to solve real problems. The dashboard week is designed to improve the speed of delivery. 

And this extends to every process within the Data School. The focus is on the ways that work better. Forget the usual.

And that’s it. I just spilled the secret sauce that makes the Data School so great. From the outside, the uncanny ways of the Data School might confuse some. But it’s these differences that cultivate the right culture that brings together some of the best people out there.


P.S – This post represents my personal views based on my experience in the Data School.
Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

Fairuz Khan
Author: Fairuz Khan