What it does: Trains data visualisation and analytics experts
Staff details: Some of the best trainers in Australia
The good bits: Learning a highly marketable skill and getting paid to do so
The not so good bits: You’re locked into a contract
The Data School Australia story
The Data School Australia, blurs the line between training college and employer. It offers a 28-month, fixed-term contract. At no cost to themselves, grads spend four months being trained up in Tableau and Alteryx and a further 24 months employed by the Data School. (Though the Data School will pay your wages, you’ll be sent to work at organisations across a range of industries. Placements have included Lendlease, Optus, WPP, AFCX).
The Data School UK opened in mid-2015. Given its success, the Data School Australia was opened in mid-2018. The Data School partners with Tableau and Alteryx to create new data experts in their technology stacks.
While the Data School doesn’t appear to have an official diversity policy, its application process is merit-based. While skewing young, both staff and students appear to be from a range of educational, ethnic and national backgrounds. Unusually for IT education institutions and employers, women seem to be well represented at the Data School.
Neither the UK nor Australian Data Schools appear to have yet rolled out a Corporate Social Responsibility Program.
The recruitment process
The Data School Australia will have three intakes each year in April, August and December. The Data School in Australia has employed the 4th cohort of consultants and is now looking to employ the 5th cohort.
Applicants do not require a particular degree or specific work experience. They do need a desire to learn, an inquisitive nature and a passion for getting to the truth by way of data. They also need the right to work in Australia.
The application process is initially task-based. Applicants are required to Download a free copy of the Tableau software, find some data that interests them and create a viz (visualisation). It is both possible and advisable for applicants to check out some visualisations from previous applicants before constructing their own.
If their viz demonstrates “passion, creativity and a flair for data”, the applicant is invited to do a phone interview with one of the Data School’s coaches. If that goes well, they are invited in for an interview involving several of the Data School’s trainers and staff.
It should be noted that the Data School doesn’t confer formal qualifications. However, grads will be expected to take certification exams in Tableau Server, Tableau Desktop and Alteryx. Apart from being brought up to speed on these software programs, you’ll also be taught how to become an excellent presenter and how to work effectively with clients.
Unlike most educational institutions, the Data School has a commercial incentive to produce well-prepared graduates. It puts a lot of effort into creating analysts with top-notch technical and soft skills.
After finishing your training, you’ll be placed at organisations facing data issues. This involves working in a range of industries with a high likelihood of spending some time assisting financial services, media or retail clients. Those who’ve attended the Data School UK have been placed with corporations including Boston Consulting Group, BP, Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Eli Lilly, UBS, Optus and Xerox.
The Data School pays employees $55,000 during their first year that will rise over the placement period. There are no upfront fees or HECS debts to worry about. You’ll get the training and industry experience that is virtually guaranteed to lead to a lucrative career as a data analyst, data scientist or data consultant.
Given the Data School UK has only been around since mid-2015 and its Australian iteration since mid-2018, a number of the UK Alumni have ended up working at one of the organisations that they were placed at within their 2yrs of placements or as consultants at The Information Lab – which is the partner consulting organisation that provides the trainer and client backbone to The Data School in the UK. MIP are the equivalent ‘powered by’ consulting organisation in Aus. Once their 28-month contract has been completed, grads presumably have the option of remaining employed at The Data School and negotiating a higher salary. Or hanging out their shingle as an IT consultant. Or finding a full-time job in one of the burgeoning number of blue-chip corporations that use Tableau and Alteryx. In the era of Big Data, Data School alumni seem well-placed to enjoy well-paid and exciting careers.
The vibe of the place
The Data School Australia hasn’t been around long enough to have an identifiable corporate culture. But if it is anything like its British equivalent, it will be a place where passionate trainers teach motivated students. That means you can expect a buzzy atmosphere, as well as classrooms and work placements where you will be encouraged to reach your full potential.
Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5
"The Data School's mission is to create the next generation of data visualisation and analytics experts to help meet the huge and growing demand for these skills in the world.
We hire and train people throughout the year to provide data analytics and data visualisation services to companies all over the world.
The Data School UK originally opened in June 2015, and the Data School Australia is commencing from July 2018.
We provide 4 months of training where you'll be part of a small group in our dedicated classroom facilities in central Sydney. We have some of the best trainers in Australia, led by our head coach Craig Dewar.
We give our students a deep understanding of how to store, manage, prepare and visualise data using fast growing technologies, as well as teach them the people and management skills they need for the workplace.
Once trained, graduates of the Data School are available for multiple industry placements at clients that cut across a range of sectors and industries. A new class of consultants become available each April, August and December.
Data School Alumni come a from a diverse range of backgrounds and have secured a range of highly sought after jobs across many sectors for an amazing array of A-list clients."