My morning commute takes me through the beautiful Darling Harbour area of Sydney every morning, on my way to the Data School in Pyrmont. I generally use this time to catch up with my favourite podcasts, catch up with family, and prepare myself for the day’s tasks ahead.
Upon arriving at WeWork my first stop off is always the coffee machine to help kick start my brain, before congregating in the Data School office. I normally use this time for checking emails, writing blog posts, refreshing myself on the days previous topics or researching the days teaching topics. The team also discuss any interesting viz’s we’ve found, useful Tableau and Alteryx tips and tricks and general.
Days in the Data School begin with training sessions led by one of our coaches. Topics can range from Alteryx to Tableau and Project Management to Data Science. Our training sessions are always engaging and are typically a mixture of demonstrations, follow-me exercises and challenges, each designed to quickly improve our skill levels in the specific area. We also share our challenge solutions on the large screen, which is a great opportunity for us to pick up new tips and compare approaches with our colleagues.
Each coach has a different area of data expertise, meaning we’re always learning from subject matter experts. This morning we have been learning about Tableau Server from Andy Pick, a visiting coach from the Data School UK.
Lunchtimes are often spent outside of WeWork, trying the latest creations from the sandwich shops and cafes scattered along Harris Street. It’s a time for building friendships with colleagues. On a sunny day, we enjoy strolling over to Pyrmont waterfront to refresh ourselves, before jumping back into our data analysis and visualisation. If we’re on a tight schedule for the day lunch can occasionally be cut short, and we’ll jump back into our tasks early.
On a project week, most afternoons are spent analysing and visualizing the client’s data as a team. Projects are often run using Agile techniques, so we might begin the afternoon with a ‘Stand Up’ session where we quickly review our previous days work and tasks for the afternoon as a team. Teamwork is crucial during our client projects, and we often pair up or work in small teams to tackle different problems. Each Data Schooler has a different skillset, and we often bounce ideas and support each other to help deliver our projects.
My favourite element of the Data School so far has been the variety of clients and industries we’ve been exposed to. In our first six weeks, we have worked for clients from the Fashion, Construction and Financial Industry, and have additional projects planned with Fast Food, Insurance and Education companies over the next few months. Throughout the course of the projects, there are plenty of opportunities to craft complex Alteryx workflows to wrangle data and design powerful visualisations in Tableau.
The best thing about working with both Tableau and Alteryx is that it allows me to work out different skills. If I’m the mood to geek out over data wrangling, I’ll dive into Alteryx. On the flip side, if I want to flex my creative side, I can design and produce dashboards in Tableau.
Whatever the task, afternoons are our time to make serious headway into our projects and practice the skills we’ve learnt to date.
The end of the day is spent recapping on our progress and learnings. If we’re in a client project week we will often discuss what tasks to focus on next week. The Data School has a busy social calendar and once a week we will spend an evening at industry events or socializing with other data consultants. On Fridays, we will present our work to each other and our clients, followed by a few drinks and snacks.