In my penultimate week of training in the data school, after nearly 4 months, I've naturally been reflecting on the process and all I've learnt. And naturally, you think of what you maybe could have done differently to enhance your learning and make your life easier.
For future applicants, or those soon starting their journey at the Data school, these tips will hopefully help you to get as much as you can out of your experience here.
- Ask Questions, and then ask more
Entering a new workplace is always daunting and it can be slightly intimidating asking questions to relative strangers. But questions are always, always welcome and everyone here is more than happy to help. Whether that's a coach, or a dataschooler, questions are always encouraged and there is a culture of promoting collaboration and aiding one another. Even if you think its a stupid question, you can only really benefit from asking it, there isn't truly any downside.
2. Enjoy it
Training goes very, very quickly. It can be intense, and fast paced but overall its a very enjoyable process. So remember to give yourself time to relax, and take it in and enjoy it. Everyone is super friendly and happy to help and day-to-day you're always learning something new. If you're someone who enjoys challenging yourself, the data school will certainly do that and give you the resources to help if you are ever struggling.
Now this is something I've admittedly been inconsistent at doing (especially as someone who enjoys writing), but blogging about our learning is something that is heavily encouraged as we progress through training. Not only does it help us to reflect and consolidate our learning, often you'll find yourself using a blog written by a fellow Dataschooler to help evercome an obstacle you might come across. So it gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and aid others via the internet and your blog posts.
4. Use the Resources and Opportunities Available to You
The Data School, just like a regular school, has many resources available to aid our learning. There are countless people in the organization that can help you with your problems, and opportunities to help you grow. For example there are user groups for Tableau and Alteryx where people from outwith the organisation come to the office and share ideas and aid one another. With these user groups, there is an opportunity to volunteer to give a presentation/talk. This can perhaps help you with your public speaking skills as well as consolidate your learning. And again, you'll get the support you need if you have any roadblocks or difficulties in doing this. So take risks with the comfort of knowing you have plenty places to turn to for help.
5. Back Yourself
With the pace of training and the volume of things you learn, it can be easy to be overwhelmed at times. And you might find that certain topics you don't quite understand at first and are challenging which can be a little disheartening at times (something I experienced especially early on). But it's important to remember that not everyone learns everything at the same rate, and certain topics might require some additional attention for your comprehension. It's ok to not immediately be a whizz at everything and importantly, don't let it bring you down or knock your confidence. Have faith in your ability to learn and overcome obstacles, and make use of the help available to you. Whether that's the coaches or a fellow dataschooler, or the myriad of information available online in forums and other websites. So back yourself and don't be afraid to try new things and really challenge what you're capable of.