By way of introduction, my name is Oliver and I am one of seven who make up the DSAU16 cohort. We began our program on 1st August and we have wrapped up our second week here at The Data School. In this blog, I will be recapping my experience so far.

Spoiler alert: it was action-packed and thrilling!


Week 1: Introduction and Tableau Training

Monday: Initiation

Our lead coach, Bethany, supplied everyone a bag with a new laptop, shirt, notepad and water bottle. Before you know it, we were already using our notepad jotting down interesting facts about one another. The COO at MIP Australia, Peter, paired everyone and allocated the task to present a mini introduction about our assigned partner. To conclude the morning, Peter outlined the expectations of us for the next 28 months.

In the afternoon, Bethany gave us a floor and building tour. We then completed the day with installing all the software essentials for our laptops.

Tuesday: Data 101

The morning involved discussing data fundamentals and reviewing material which covered the best practices for data visualisation and dashboarding.

We completed the day with – wait for it – a drawing task. Each of us were assigned a poorly designed and informative dashboard. The task involved drawing a sketch of a new and improved version by applying the best practice techniques we learnt in the morning. We presented our dashboards explaining the changes we made.

Wednesday: Tableau Day 1

Finally the true fun begins! Bethany ran our first Tableau training day covering basic Tableau features and concepts such as hierarchies, filtering and sorting. We completed examples and exercises where we then chosen at random (using Bethany’s colourful wheel of names) upon completion to explain step by step how we achieved the desired result of the exercise. I found this as an excellent way to consolidate my learning and understanding.

Thursday: Tableau Day 2

The action and fun continues! Our day started with a blogging session. Right after, we continued our Tableau training and covered concepts such as dual and synchronised axes, calculated fields, parameters and many more throughout the day. I was amazed with the amount of dynamic features and functionalities that can be added to Tableau worksheets.

Friday: Presentations

Bethany assigned us to reviz our application (first or IMDb) dashboards using the concepts we learnt throughout the week. I chose to reviz my IMDb dashboard and presented the new version to the team where we received critical and valuable feedback from both Bethany and Melbourne’s DS head coach, David.

We ended our Friday session watching DSAU15’s client presentation. The clients and myself were amazed in their project and the effort they put into both their workflows and dashboards. It is incredible how much progress they have to show for in just 2 months of DS training. To think I will be where they are in the same time period is encouraging and exciting.

Later, we had a few refreshments and bonded with the wider team. This was a great opportunity to network, listen to their stories and relax after our first week of training.


Week 2: Alteryx Training

We had a full week of Alteryx training with a mixture of different coaches. Bethany taught us simple and complex tools on Monday and Thursday respectively. These included the basics from the favourites tool palette, XML and JSON parsing tools, and my favourite: fuzzy matching.

On Tuesday, we had the pleasure of experiencing David as our coach. He helped us navigate through the workflow configuration and covered all of the preparation tools plus more. Further, he taught us best practices in understanding the data to ensure the data prepared in Alteryx was ready for analysis and dashboarding in Tableau – e.g. checking repeated values in the data that may affect any aggregation.

Our coach on Wednesday was the delightful Natalia. She covered the directory, dynamic input/rename and regex tools. Throughout the session, she provided many real life examples from her consulting experience which was extremely insightful. All 3 coaches offered a diverse range of teaching styles which was enjoyable and refreshing from a learner’s point of view.

We completed week 2 with Friday presentations. I was given the luxury to present my workflow solution for Alteryx challenge #116. Let’s just say after completing this challenge, I need to take a little break from XML parsing. The following figure illustrates my workflow solution.

If week 1 and 2 are leading indicators for what is to come, then I am excited for the journey ahead! I look forward to reflecting on this blog at the end of my training program as I will continue to document my DS journal. If you would like to get in touch, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.