Diving Into Data: My First Week at The Data School

by Jeffrey Brian Thompson

This week has been a whirlwind of new experiences, learning, and making connections that I'm excited to share with you.

Day 1: A Warm Welcome and New Beginnings

The journey began with introductions to my cohort, the dedicated coaches, and even the founder of The Data School. The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and anticipation as we embarked on this new chapter together. The emphasis was on building a community and setting the stage for the intense learning ahead.

Day 2: Unpacking the World of Data

Equipped with our new laptops, we dove into the theoretical aspects of data. The day was filled with lessons on data sources and architecture, and how to answer questions with data. We explored different data types in Tableau, investigated various data sources, and learned effective strategies for researching companies. A particularly engaging exercise involved analysing an NFL dashboard, which opened my eyes to the depth of insights that can be gleaned from well-structured data - and taught be a lot about American Football!

Day 3: The Nitty-Gritty of Data Cleaning

Theory continued to be our guide as we delved into what constitutes clean vs. dirty data, and how to recognise and remedy outdated information. Through hands-on exercises—sans software—we practiced cleaning data on paper. This approach underscored the importance of planning and understanding our data before jumping into digital solutions. We also tackled concepts like granularity, pivoting, aggregation, unions, and joins, all through practical exercises that made these concepts stick.

Day 4: Meeting an Old Friend in Tableau Prep

After laying a solid theoretical foundation, we were finally introduced to Tableau Prep. It felt like greeting an old friend, thanks to our prior deep dive into data theory. The day was spent cleaning actual dirty data sets and understanding the intricacies of project planning within the software environment. This hands-on experience was invaluable, cementing the previous days' theoretical lessons into practical, applicable skills.

Day 5: Project Day - Putting Theory into Practice

The culmination of our week was the first project challenge. Tasked with planning and preparing a data source for analysis, we applied everything learned throughout the week. The project not only tested our new skills but also boosted our confidence in cleaning and restructuring data. Presenting our projects to The Data School was a proud moment, and watching a more experienced cohort present their project offered a glimpse into our future growth and the exciting challenges ahead.

Reflections and Looking Forward

This first week at The Data School has been an incredible journey of growth and discovery. From the basics of data cleaning to the complexities of data architecture, each lesson has been a building block towards becoming proficient in data analysis. The supportive environment and the emphasis on learning through theory before practice have been instrumental in my development. I'm eagerly anticipating what the coming weeks will bring and how I'll continue to evolve as a data professional. Here's to more learning, challenges, and success at The Data School!