As the four months of training at The Data School Down Under draws to an end, each member from cohort DSAU15 offers their thoughts, reflections and advice on their training.

In no particular order:

Mark’s simple, yet meaningful tip

When first seeing a new dataset, it’s quite normal we create charts to just explore the data. If the dataset is big enough, sometimes we can get enough charts for a dashboard by doing this only. And this will make us think the job is completed. But the problem is that the charts created for purely exploring the data are usually unable to find the real story or the real insights hidden in the data. So, the suggestion is to use this type of charts first to identify any interesting part of the data, then dive deep into the data. Focusing only on the interesting parts, we can create more meaningful dashboard with the help of advanced Tableau features like calculations, parameters, filters or actions, etc. By doing this, we can build dashboards with good stories and insights, but with very few or simple charts.

You can see Mark’s blog profile here and LinkedIn profile here.

Terry advices on documentation

Get into the habit of documenting your work! 

Documentation is a valuable resource for your clients and an essential deliverable in your client projects, but don’t sleep on what it can do for your own learning. 

In the first four months of training, things can get incredibly fast paced and hectic. You will learn how to clean and wrangle various types of data, and how they can be visualised in new and novel ways. During both your training and client projects, you will likely end up producing a large number of dashboards and workflows, many of which you might want to revisit and reproduce in the future.  

This is where good documentation can help set you up for success. 

During training, documenting your work consolidates learning and lets you more easily reapply what you have learnt.  

Training can sometimes be extremely dense in terms of contents covered. In your client projects, you will also often go above and beyond what was covered in the training to fulfil client requirements. Referencing your previous works is one of the fastest ways of refreshing your knowledge of tools and concepts, or to recreate something you have previously delivered. Good documentation enables you to adapt your old workflows and dashboards to work with a new dataset.  

During projects, documenting your work as you go keeps you sane and on track.  

Your product is a series of decisions made in service of solving specific problems. As you continue to iterate on your product, more and more decisions get added to the pile. Documenting what each part of your work does helps you articulate and process why you did something, and lets you evaluate whether the product is working as intended. When something eventually goes wrong, you can more easily backtrack and isolate the parts that are causing you problems. 

Last but not least, documentation helps you recognise your contributions and demonstrates your value to the client.  

More often than not, you’d have to create special rules and workarounds in your projects to make your product work for the client’s data, or to meet specific client requirements. Documenting your work helps showcase your efforts and creativity in designing solutions, as well as your attentiveness to detail. Notable issues that you had to work around or design solutions for also make for great talking points in your presentations.  

There are many ways to document your work as you are producing it. You could name files and tools appropriately and descriptively when you create them, add comments to your codes/calculations/expressions, or organise your workflows visually using things like containers and colour coding where possible.  

You can see Terry’s blog profile here and LinkedIn profile here.

Huelder’s advice and tip

To someone who dreams of becoming a data analyst but does not have any working experience in data analysis The Data School is the best place you could go to kick off your data analytics career.

At the Data School you are going to go through an intensive training course which is going to provide you data analytics skills. Although it will be demanding and challenging the Data School is going to provide you the best coaches that you can have. Those coaches are going to teach and help you to overcome all the difficulties that you can find through the intense training.

Once you get in the Data School you will start a journey where you will learn many technical skills about data. It will also be a great opportunity to improve your soft skills, and this has been great for me because going through this training I had to put myself up to do presentation every week. This was very challenging for me. The Data School does not only teach you how to work with data, but also how to work with team, how to lead project, how to get what the client wants delivered and how to present your completed work.

One tip that I would have is to share as much as you can with your colleagues and try learn as much you can from them because this way you can learn much more and also overcome your difficulty more easily.

You can see Huelder’s blog profile here and LinkedIn profile here.

Jude’s four tips

Your training at the Data School is going to be intense, here’s a few tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to fail, it’s your safe space, besides you will learn more from your failures than your successes. With that said, if you are making the same mistake twice then you are not learning.  
  • Embrace dashboard week, the hype is real, the confidence you get after it, is priceless. 
  • Always work as a team. 
  • Ask questions and if you need help raise your hand. This is not only important during client projects, but in general during your training.  
  • Continue to invest if yourself, this career requires continuous learning. 

You can see Jude’s blog profile here and LinkedIn profile here.

Martin’s retrospective

The Learning

It feels surreal how much we have learned through our 16-week training. In terms of technical skills, we received in-depth training on Tableau and Alteryx, and we also learned Power BI, SQL, Machine Learning, Tableau Server, Alteryx Server, Tableau Prep Builder, Data Modelling, Visual Best Practices and more. In terms of soft skills, we were trained in project management, agile development, requirement gathering, presentation skills and storytelling. It has really been a unique and rewarding learning experience for me!

A Big Thanks to our amazing coaches, David Bartolo the Head Coach, Bethany Fox and Natalia Miteva! And I’d also like to thank our amazing assistant coaches and gurus from MIP, including Rachid Mousine, Tram Trinh, Ryan Lambert, Russell Huynh, Jonathon Cavalieri (Data School Alumni) and Grace Murphy (Data School Alumni) who bring to us decades of experience and knowledge in the field.

The Projects

At the Data School, each cohort engages with 7 different client projects during the 16-week training. For me, these client projects have been the most exciting and enriching part of the Data School experience. Our cohort had the honour of working with clients ranging from the government, to fast-growing start-ups and to a Fortune 200 company, spanning across 7 unique industries, ranging from commercial real estate to online shopping.

These projects provided us with the perfect opportunity to apply what we have learned to real-world business data and client needs. The projects have led to a great enhancement of our skills including data preparation, data visualization, data modelling and presentation skills. I am proud to say that we have often exceeded client expectations and delivered amazing business values to our clients!

The Team

I feel so fortunate to be on such a wonderful team and work with amazing colleagues who are so talented and hardworking. Our team has great work ethics and treated every client and project with passion and professionalism. I couldn’t have finished the journey without my peers and colleagues!

You can see Martin’s blog profile here and LinkedIn profile here.

Thanh’s tip

My one tip that I would have to give is ‘Maintain a healthy balance’. Don’t delay, because as soon as you start to fall behind, it will start to compound and catching up will be a real struggle, especially when Client projects start. At the same time, you do not want to burn yourself out.  

“Work Hard, but don’t forget to have fun” 

You can see Thanh’s blog profile here and LinkedIn profile here.

Ayda’s assessment

Hello,

I’m writing to you who have successfully completed the application process or want to apply for The Data School! Congratulations!!!
You are in the right place to succeed in one of the best careers in the world!!!
Here, you will learn more about data and what it means to become a data analyst.
As a data analytics consultant in the Data School, I want to assure you that all training hours will be worth it, and you will get the most out of the materials delivered in the courses by practising and reviewing the topics discussed in the classes daily.
But don’t worry if you sometimes get stressed!  You will just calm down as soon as you have a chat with your coach. Everything will be fine.
At the end of the four month training, you will have a look at the past and realise how quickly the time has flown.

Have fun with your new journey of data!

You can see Ayda’s blog profile here and LinkedIn profile here.

Antoneely’s advice

Hello there, if you’re reading this likely you are considering applying or you are part of the upcoming cohort. YAY! Your hard work paid off!

My advice or reflection would be organise yourself and maintain personal control in the best possible way. Here’s some context:

I successfully completed the training while doing a full-time graduate degree. Did I tell you that I earned high distinction grades on every unit in the Master’s program?

Consider how to manage your time effectively to practice all of this awesome stuff during four months and to deliver during client projects. Much time boxing will be required – you’ll quickly learn this.

As well as looking for ways to improve your personal control, there will be times when the stress will be up all the time, but no worries, stress is a good thing if it’s handled well.

I hope this helped you in some way. Best wishes on your new journey. Warm hugs!

You can see Antoneely’s blog profile here and LinkedIn profile here.

Andrew’s advice

The four months training was a great opportunity to learn and fail lots. Not only did I learn technical skills, but plenty of soft skills as well – I learned to be more aware of my emotions, stress (and more recently, the volume of my voice) and strive to improve my control over them. I also failed plenty.

Imposter syndrome is a very real issue, and there are still times I doubt that I have the skills to be a good enough Data Analyst. I try to get over this mental hurdle by reminding myself how far I have come since beginning at The Data School. I strongly advise looking at your first Tableau application to The Data School and comparing that to what you are able to do now. I guarantee there will be progress of some kind, no matter how small it is. Alternatively speak to your coach for any concerns and I am sure they will reassure you of your success.

And with that progress in mind you can move onward. Good luck!

Conclusion

Cohort DSAU 15 would like to thank all those that supported and made our training possible: Coaches David Bartolo, Bethany Fox and Natalia Miteva, along with amazing assistant coaches and gurus from MIP, including Rachid Mousine, Tram Trinh, Ryan Lambert, Russell Huynh, Jonathon Cavalieri (Data School Alumni) and Grace Murphy (Data School Alumni).

We could not have made it without you. Thank you!

The Data School
Author: The Data School