If you are reading this, you must be considering applying for The Data School, then well done for being pro-active doing your research! After studying The Data School website and reading through many blogs you might still have tons of questions. Don’t worry, you are not alone. This is what you can do:

Reach out to some data schoolers via LinkedIn before starting your application

This is the best action I took at the early stage of my application. Consider this – it is a big decision for anyone who decides to apply because it takes commitment if you want to make it through. Like many data schoolers, I worked in other industries before joining The Data School. It is a sharp career transition, so I wanted to make sure this was the right path for me. If you are in the same position, I cannot encourage you enough to reach out and ask all the questions you have to make sure this program is what you want, that the company culture fits your personality, and to get some golden tips to lift yourself to a winning position at the beginning! 

Here are some tips I got from the previous cohorts that helped my application:

1. Get inspirations from Viz of the Day

New to Tableau? Then you might be like me – looking at the previous successful applications and wonder: how on earth could I create a viz like that? After exploring a few different methods and sources, I found the best way to learn Tableau was to get hands-on. When I see dashboards I like on Viz of the Day, I download the workbook and find out how those vizes were created. By browsing the Tableau gallery, I also learned some nice layout and colour combinations that can make a dashboard more aesthetically pleasing. 

How to save a workbook from Tableau Public gallery

2. Pick a topic that truly interests you

This way you will have the motivation to dig in the data, and research to find out more about it. If you want your viz to stand out and make an impression, you should know that many applicants will pick something like sports. However, if sports are where your interests are, then go ahead and let your passion shine!

3. Submit your first application early

You will get feedback from The Data School to help you to improve your viz if you submit it early. The thing is you might never feel your viz is great enough to be submitted, but keep in mind the coaches are not looking for experts who can make a perfect dashboard. Polishing your viz based on their feedback will give you a boost in the competition. If you can make a good improvement, you are also showing your ability to take on advice and learn quickly.

One lesson I learned during my application that I must share with you 

Save your viz!

If you are using Tableau Public, you will not be able to save your work locally but have to publish it. Make sure you do it regularly!

During my second stage of the application, I forgot to plug in my laptop and the battery died. After realising that I lost two days of work – 15 hours worth! I sat there for 10 minutes silently (ok I will admit there might have been some tears). I stared at my screen and thought; “maybe I’m just not meant to get this job!” 20 minutes (or 2 hours) later, I decided to pull myself together and started to recreate all the worksheets I just lost. Luckily I was able to redo it within a day, but don’t get yourself in that situation!

Good luck with your application. If you want to have a chat or have any questions or comments, please feel free to connect with me via LinkedIn

Summer Dong
Author: Summer Dong