Well, when it came to choosing the topic of my initial post with the Data School; since I had personally read some ‘Week 1’ blogs which provided helpful indicators for what to expect for the beginning of my own DSAU adventure, what else could I choose for a first blog to share then my own first week experiences?

Day 1 – Tuesday

It was such a thrill to show up for my first day at the Data school. Sure, there were the usual nerves you would expect starting a new position, but mostly excitement. Which naturally resulted in arriving at Wynyard far too early on my first day. Still, it wasn’t long before some equally keen new cohort members joined me. And after being shown some initial protocols (like the breakroom, and, more seriously, some covid rules), we ventured into the room that is to practically be our home-away-from-home for the next four months.

Normally, we’d have all been starting on the Monday of our first week. But with the Easter weekend we were short a day and had a busy agenda to fit in. 9am and we were off, with our first introductions by MIP’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Kokinakos (PK) and our coaches Craig Dewar and David Bartolo, going into detail about the Data School and explaining the training, certification and project plans going forward. This was followed by us introducing each other and a brief tour around the building, as well as being issued our security badges by Faye. The Data School has a well-placed location, with a short walk to Wynyard station and a number of handy stores or lunch options.

Following a quick break, we came back to find we had received a number of goodies! Thank-you to everyone at the Data School for our gear kit. It will certainly be of great use throughout training and client placements.

Next, we needed to bring it up to working order (requiring many downloads). We were introduced to Ben and Tony in IT to help wrangle everything into place. The last item on the day’s agenda was a comprehensive overview of the expectations for the training period. Then, we had finished our first day!

Or not quite, for we had welcome drinks with the coaches, staff and previous cohort graduates, who are a lovely and (very data enthusiastic) crew.

Day 2 – Wednesday

Second day, and our first experience diving straight into using the software we had already heard so much about – Alteryx. What can I say really, except, why hadn’t I known of this before??!

Alteryx is an incredibly versatile tool for not only preparing, blending and analysing data, but allowing users to break down and build their approach towards analysis, in a time efficient manner. After a morning discussion about some of the key techniques and more common Tools (‘Select’, ‘Union’, ‘Formula’, ‘Summarise’ and more), it was straight into undertaking some Weekly Challenges to get some real exposure to the practical construction requirements of Alteryx Workflows. As a tip for anyone just starting out; including annotations and comments are a handy way to track and clarify the steps within your workflow.

Day 3 – Thursday

Day 3, and it was right back onto Alteryx, building on the lessons of yesterday. Today we practiced inputting file types (for example, JSON files) and utilising several more Alteryx Tools (such as ‘Text to Columns’, ‘DateTime’ or ‘Cross Tab’). That afternoon, more Weekly Challenges! These are a good way to gain some problem-solving experience in Alteryx and a better understanding of making functional Workflows.

Day 4 – Friday

Well, we made it to the last day for the week! The morning was packed with plenty of information and tips for writing blog entries for ourselves and the Data School. Mid-morning, it was time to have our profile photos taken. From there, we were given our first project; to rework the dataset used in our Data School applications using Alteryx. All in time for a public presentation at 3pm! It was certainly much easier to manipulate my large project dataset through Alteryx and I successfully completed both a Workflow and presentation with my data.

The final event; rounding out the week with some Friday night drinks with everyone.

So, well done DSAU8 team and coaches! Despite a day less, we completed both our first week and projects, while the training remained well-paced and incredibly informative.

And with it only being the first week, I look forward to continuing from here – Onward!



Tamara Allcock
Author: Tamara Allcock

Tamara has an interesting background in veterinary science, data analytics and retail. She discovered her passion for analytics while working on a range of research projects involving Australian and exotic wildlife. She was excited to learn about the Data School and the opportunities it provided to develop this interest into a career path. It may be a common preference, but she thinks you can’t go wrong the variety of options a delicious pizza offers. In her spare time, Tamara is an avid reader and watcher of fantasy, science-fiction or assorted pop culture and also enjoys painting, craft projects and writing.