Finally, the time has come when I have finished 16 weeks of training at the Data School, where I learned a lot and had some amazing time with 6 other amazing people. And now it’s time to reflect on all that I have learned during these 16 weeks.

  • Data Visualization:

    • Tableau – Data school application process introduced me to Tableau. I was impressed by its ease of use and how much you can do with it in a short span of time. After completing my DS application I did a couple of MakeoverMonday Projects. But at Data school I learned how to take a structured approach in analysis. Making a cross tab before visualizing the data was the most helpful tip that our coach Craig Dewar introduced to us. It helped me not only understand the data well but also validating if my calculations are returning me the right results. Apart from that, we have been trained on all other Tableau capabilities like set actions, parameter actions, spatial calculations, LODs, window calculations and many more.
    • PowerBI – We had a few sessions for Data Visualizations in PowerBI where I have learned the power of PowerBI. In very few sessions with PowerBI, I learned how to clean and transform data and build decent visualizations. PowerBI’s marketplace comes quite handy when looking to make complex charts. I have tried a couple of them during our training. In all, I have some fair knowledge of how PowerBI works and I am sure with some more practice I would be able to do good stuff in it.
    • Using the right colors for Visualizations – We had a session with Tram Trinh where we learned how colors can affect visualization and how to choose the right colors. We also learned how different people see the same colors differently and how to make and test the dashboard for color blind people. After this training, I am consciously choosing the right colors for my visualizations.


  • Data Transformation:

    • Alteryx  – In the first week of our Training, our trainer Peter Goldsworthy got us into the deep end of Alteryx. From the first use itself, I was impressed by the ease of its use and the functionalities it has. From Data Preparation, Transformation, Spatial, Macros, Analytic apps to Predictive Modelling; Alteryx have so much to learn.
    • Tableau Prep – We have also been taught Tableau’s own Prepping tool which is relatively new but showcases simple to use tools in an intuitive environment. Here again, I learned Data cleaning, joining and transforming the data.
    • SQL – I had worked as a Software Developer and had prior experience in SQL, hence, this was not very difficult for me. However, it was a good refresher working in SQL. Advanced SQL training with David James was very helpful, it covered some advanced topics like Window Functions in SQL and Performance Tuning.


  • Soft Skills

    • Presentation skills: Every Friday at Data school, is a presentation day, either for client week or otherwise presenting for Friday challenge. For client week presentations we used to do a dry run of our presentations and provide feedback to each other. For Friday challenges we used to get the task at 9 in the morning which needs to be completed and presented at 3 PM. I have seen some remarkable improvements in everyone including my presentation skills. Peter Kokinakos, our presentation skills mentor, used to assess our presentations very carefully and provide us constructive feedback and guide us on how to tell a story in our presentations.
    • Project Leading: In these 16 weeks of training we had 7 Client weeks where for every project one of us had to play Project Lead role. During this week we had to be a single point of contact with the client, guide team, run scrum meetings, etc. I have worked as a Team lead before but since this was just a week’s project the experience was very different and enriching.
    • Time Management: During all the client Project weeks, Friday Challenges, dashboard week, one thing that centered the success of all of them was how well you manage your time; and how to timebox your work. If certain things don’t work then you have to see for alternatives to get the task accomplished.

All in all, I had a great 16 weeks of working, learning and enjoying with my amazing cohort.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Head Coach Craig Dewar, Peter Kokinakos, Peter Goldsworthy, Ben Sazbo, Glen Bell, Nick Duncan, Tram Trinh and all MIP staff for their support. And finally, thanks to all other Data schoolers to be there whenever asked for any help.


Photo via Good Free Photos

Iram Javed
Author: Iram Javed