With information technology ever progressing, the majority of industries around the world are recognizing the importance of data science as a means of gathering and leveraging insights to positively impact their business intelligence. There is no better time to become a data Analyst, and if you are aspiring to either begin your data journey or pivot your current career path into data, the trainee analyst position The Data School is a perfect opportunity to learn from industry veterans under a robust, rigorously structured, and professionally relevant program.

So now that you have decided to apply for the Data School, I’m sure you’d like to know what to do to give yourself an edge over the other applicants. Here are some tips that I personally found useful in my interview process, which will surely help you succeed as well:

1- Attend the Meet and Greet organized by The Data School at your closest Data School branch. You might not see the need for an in-person visit compared to just reading what’s already explained on their website but trust me you won’t regret it. Not only will you see the office location and environment, but you’ll also get a feel for their culture, vision, and expertise. You’ll even get a chance to meet the coaches and others who share your passion for data. They explain the process in detail, give you a clear idea on what is expected and skills you will gain, as well as answer any questions you may have.

2- Pick a topic of your interest or something that you’re truly passionate about to generate your Visualization (as part of the interview process). Due to the fact that you will have to “tell a story” with your data in addition to technically manipulating it, it is always much easier to create and deliver a compelling narrative to go along with your Viz about something you have genuine interest in. I can’t emphasize enough on this. This will give you enough points to talk about and it would be a more natural enthusiasm when you present the data insights. Some public data repositories are:

3- Emphasize more on the story points than on the dashboard. Of course, the dashboard is important but if it is fascinating without insights, it might not make the cut.
For insights, ask questions –
Who would be the audience for your dashboard.
What answers you’re looking for from the data.
Look for outliers and try to find the reasons for those outliers.
Break your problem into smaller chunks.
Ask specific questions from your data. General questions won’t give you clear picture.

5- Research as much as you can on the topic. As Abraham Lincoln quoted “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax. ” Follow the mantra. Google about the topic. It will guide you to frame right questions, get meaningful insights, create your story and enough talking points during your presentation. Your knowledge on the topic will show that you’re well prepared.

6- Ask for feedback, from your family members, friends, kids, and Dataschool (they encourage you to ask for feedback). It’s one of the best ways to improve yourself and it’s always good to have an extra set of eyes to give a different perspective. People tend to give some generic feedback like good or bad, instead ask for specific feedback. They don’t even need to have a similar / Data background. Even my 8 year old daughter gave me some creative inputs :-).

7- Practice giving presentations at least 10-15 times. It can be in front of a mirror, family members or friends. Rehearse the complete presentation from start to end until you can deliver it effortlessly. You can also record yourself using your smartphone or a video camera. It will be a shock initially but extremely helpful. You’ll be able to catch the vocal fillers like ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’, your hand movements and eye contacts. You will be way more prepared and confident if you practice.

All the best and see you soon.

Seema Keswani
Author: Seema Keswani