You want to become a data analyst, but you are not sure where to start. You come across this seemingly great opportunity at The Data School which provides training, work experience, and a clear pathway into the profession. But is it the right option for you? Is it even legitimate?
If the above resembles your current situation, read on to find my personal opinion on a few aspects that I wondered about when I was in your shoes, and for which I now have some answers. Spoiler alert: Yes, The Data School is legit.
Program Structure and Duration
You can find the structure of what a stint as a Data Schooler looks like on the website. For my cohort, we start off with a 4-month training period, before going on placements (typically four 6-month stints) to work with clients over a 2-year period. That is a pretty long time to commit to and might not work for you. If you have any doubts about whether you could commit to it, then my suggestion is: don’t do it. Don’t get me wrong, you would have learned a lot even if you have to walk away in the middle of the training phase. However, it is just a whole lot of hassle for everyone involved, including you.
You might find that the content of the training phase is not as clearly spelled out on the Data School website as compared to, say, a university’s course information page. One reason is that the curriculum gets updated to reflect the current demands of the industry, whereas a uni often doesn’t update its courses for years. For example, the program for my cohort has just been updated to give more weight to Power BI, in response to its increasing market share. It is reassuring to know that the program does get updated and not stay stagnant forever, although it can be slightly unsettling to not be able to find much details on the Data School website (note: you can find some information in the FAQ section at the bottom of this page).
Rigour and Intensity
I can honestly say that I have been very impressed by the quality of the training so far. The level of the training material, method of delivery, pace of learning, etc., have been mostly fantastic — there really isn’t much to fault. Everything is contextualised to help our understanding, and we can get specific advice and feedback from the domain experts (i.e., the coaches), which is not possible if you try to learn it online, for example.
However, you should expect a high level of intensity as, after all, you will be learning and practising for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 16 weeks in total. Again, this is something that may not suit you as everyone learns differently, so you should certainly take this into consideration.
Once again, these are just my personal opinions. There are usually information sessions you could attend to get more information and opinions from other people, and I would strongly encourage you to do so.
Ready to take this further? You might want to check out my thoughts on the application process, or perhaps hop on over to the application portal and find a cohort that suits you.