In the application process, we’re promised 16 weeks of intense training in all things data, focussing on Tableau and Alteryx. Well, it certainly is true. Even though 16 weeks doesn’t seem like a long time (it really isn’t!), the amount of knowledge and experience you acquire at the Data School is incredible.

We started with the training on the two tools which would be the backbone of our analytics journey. In those first weeks, we got a glimpse of how to operate some heavy analytics machinery, and that set a very solid ground for the client projects to come.

While they seem a bit daunting (especially in the first two or three rounds), both the coaches and the other data schoolers provide a very comfortable safety net. There is a great openness to questions and exchange of ideas, as in any great learning environment. And that makes the journey a lot more fun and engaging.

So, if you’re reading this and asking yourself if you should apply for The Data School on one of the next intakes, my unequivocal answer is yes! Everything, from the application process right up until graduation is definitely worth it. I recommend you check some other reflective blogs to read about different experiences in The Data School. I especially liked this one by Jonathan Waerner, which looks back at 16 weeks’ training in charts.

With that, I leave you with my favourite list of things at The Data School.


Learning Environment


Like myself, a lot of other data schoolers in my cohort had previous work experience and joined The Data School in search of a career shift. The diversity of backgrounds, experiences and cultures is, in my opinion, one of the best things about being part of The Data School.

Not only you get top training in all things data, you also get to spend 16 weeks in a classroom with 7 other people who, like you, are keen to learn new skills and share what they already know.

The results of that are fantastic!




From basics to advanced training in both Tableau and Alteryx, the amount of learning while at The Data School is phenomenal! We learn everything from SQL to the basics of how to design a good dashboard. And not only that, there’s a lot of emphasis on our soft-skills training. Each of us has a week where she/he gets to be a project lead, arrange meetings and gather requirements with the client, organise the team and the final presentation. In fact, every one of the 16 weeks ends with a presentation (either in the context of a client project or another challenge). It’s a great way to develop public speaking skills.


The community


The Data School Down Under just turned one year old early this month. The fourth cohort just kicked off last week, and that makes us now 29 Data Schoolers. Not only that, but we also have our brethren DSers over in the UK and an immense network of experienced consultants both at MIP and The Information Lab. They often are the people we go to with some trickier questions. All in all, you’re surrounded by talent right here in Sydney. And you’re a click away from the folks in the UK.


The coaches


I’ve just mentioned them in the community, but they deserve a whole topic of their own. During the 16 weeks at the DS, we are mostly taught by our head coach, Craig Dewar.

Craig is an experienced consultant who has worked with clients in many different industries. That means that he has undergone himself most (if not all) of the problems, questions, and fears we face during client projects. So, he’s an excellent source of knowledge and wisdom. And what’s best, instead of just giving us the answers we’re looking for, he sits down with us and teaches to find the answers to our questions. He’s really good when it comes to dashboard critiquing. So, if you get into The Data School, do make good use of all those skills!

I also have to mention other coaches who have helped Craig during this time. Pete Goldsworthy, who made us experts in Tableau and Alteryx. Tram Trinh, who always made time to give us some insightful feedback and taught us all about different features in Tableau. Charles de Leau, our predictive analytics guru. Russell Huynh, who taught us all about spatial analytics in Alteryx. Madeli van Niekerk, our PowerBI expert. Ryan Lambert, the Alteryx god. Nick Duncan, who taught us all about macros and analytic apps. Glen Bell, who taught us about Data Modelling, and (even more importantly, I dare say) how to be liked as a consultant. Ben Szabo, the IT guru at MIP. PK, who was there to helps us deal with the clients, provide great feedback and even better presentation skills. Last, but not least, Andy Pick from the Info Lab who came down and taught us everything you need to know on Tableau Server. To all, my sincere thanks!

Ricardo Santos
Author: Ricardo Santos