If you’re reading this blog then you’ve probably heard about how amazing the Data School is. Maybe you’ve already submitted in an application.

Don’t worry. I’ve seen the signal and heard you scream, “How do I prepare for the selection process and stand up from the crowd?” So, listen and read carefully because here are some golden tips from the DSAU2 cohort on how to join this incredible learning opportunity!

  1. Choose a topic that shows your personality and interests

Who are you and what are you passionate about? It’s easier to work on a topic and talk about it if it’s something that grinds your gears and floats your boat. I personally love travelling and in my spare time, genuinely spend hours researching up cheapest flight tickets or best travel gear. Thus, I chose to work with incoming flight passenger data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. What about you? What’s a topic that not only demonstrates your skills but also showcases you?

  1. Makeover Mondays in between submissions

The best way to learn Tableau is to practice it. On its website, there are already numerous self-paced tutorials and learning resources covering topics from first getting started to calculations. An additional resource to practice the art of visualisation is Makeover Mondays. Makeover Mondays is a series of weekly challenge to make over an existing visualisation. You can post up your unique take on the visualisation, learn best case practices from other people’s submissions, and receive comprehensive feedback on your work too at the weekly live webinar.

  1. You can download Tableau Public after Tableau Desktop ends

Not a full-time student and your 14 day free Tableau Desktop trial is over? Drag and drop to your heart’s content because Tableau Public might be the solution for you. With 10GB of storage space, you can keep exploring your data and sharing it with the world. Note: You will need to publish your viz to Tableau Public in order to save any changes as you can’t make any offline saves.

  1. Complete your dashboard in advance so you can capitalise off feedback from the DSAU coaches.

In my opinion, one of my favourite highlights in the application process was receiving thorough feedback on my dashboards from the DSAU coaches. If you want, one of these in-house experts can give you tailored and individualized feedback on your work to help you learn and improve. However, you’ll need to manage your time well in order to make the most out of it. Tl;dr: Don’t do it last minute.

  1. Save your viz regularly and save several copies.

There’s no doubt you’ll spend hours and great effort into making your perfect dashboard and visualisation so don’t forget to save frequently! Seriously. I wasted a solid 6 hours of work on my second dashboard submission because I forgot to save to the server while on Tableau Public. I managed to recover some of my progress and recreate the rest but still, it wasn’t a good use of time.

  1. Double check your data to make sure it is clean before visualising it.

Is your data clean? Are there random digits or symbols or not? Having clean data is the foundation to a relevant visualisation. Spend some tifor to check your dataset and make sure you don’t have any unwanted surprises.

  1. Practice presenting your data with a story and to highlight insights.

Preparing, analyzing and visualizing your data is part of the journey. Yet, no matter how amazing and groundbreaking your masterpiece is, it’s not complete if you can’t communicate it. Take a moment to look at what you’ve made. How was the process? What was your approach?  What fascinates you about the dataset? What did you learn?

With these tips and our guidance, I hope you have an even better idea of how to move forward in the application process.

Wishing you all the best with the process!

Pris Lam
Author: Pris Lam