Some things never change
Let's wind the clock back a year.
I am on a train back from London (of course), travelling through the beautiful country side, hurtling back to the South-West, to Plymouth where I studied my undergraduate degree. There's a copy of "Environmental and Resource Economics" by Tom Tietenberg and Lynne Lewis open in front of me, but I'm not paying it much attention.
The 13th of May 2015 was perhaps one of the best days of my life so far. And a lot of it I think has to do with luck and opportunity.
Setting the scene
I studied Economics for four years and took a sandwich year in between where I worked between my second and third year - this is when I fell in love with the idea of working with data and presenting it back with added analysis.
I decided I wanted to work in data visualisation toward the end of 2014, and when I read Neil Charles' post on 'How to do football analysis in Tableau' in Febuary 2015, I think that changed everything.
It was through NeilCharles and Steve Fenn I became interested in Tableau, but one opportune tweetwhich I read on the way home by Chris Love (who I followed after seeing his amazing Iron Viz entry on the History of the Football League) which was the largest of what I call the bizarre series of events which has lead me to end up where I am.
Yes, a year ago today, I interviewed to work at the Information Lab and be part of the inaugural class of the Data School.
8 hours for 30 minutes - Worth it?
I'm sure you've heard of the process, sending a Tableau Public viz, having a chat with Andy Kriebel for 30 minutes about it and about myself - God, looking back at that visualisation, I can pick SO many holes in it.
- The years are along the y-axis (I honestly have no idea why I did this)
- There's clear red-green colourblindness issues
- The stacked bar is kinda hideous
Stepping back even further, here's the first visualisation I posted on Tableau Public.
It's using TransferMarkt data which I scraped using Import.io, but he's a scatter plot - I distinctly remember being impressed that I could actually add annotations and comment boxes. Bless.
The rub for me was that, after passing the phone interview, the date given to us by Andy was slap bang in the middle of my exams. These were my finals, the four exams I needed to pass to walk out with a credible degree. Tuesday 12th, I had a Game Theory exam. Thursday 14th I had an Environmental Economics exam. And here was my prospective employer, a Zen Master no less, asking me if I can make the Wednesday work (I did ask to have it rescheduled - the answer was "are you sure you can't make it work?")
I gambled. The 4 hours there and 4 hours back was enough time to revise on the train, I could do some reading, check my notes. And hey, if I'm not prepared now, there's no hope right?
The interview process is akin to speed dating - 15 minutes in a competency based interview, 15 minutes presenting my work. Then told "we'll let you know" and poof. I'm wandering down Tottenham Court Road with no idea how the interview had gone.
Meanwhile, back on the train..
And there I was - hurtling through the South-West, mind wandering away from willingness to pay models and carbon tariffs, I receive 3 emails.
|The first from my lecturer and personal tutor, who asks how the interview went and informs me of my final coursework grade - 89%! I was dumbfounded - I didn't expect that!|
|The second, an automated one - telling me my dissertation is ready for collection - and I was overjoyed with my result of 69.1%|
|And finally, the pièce de résistance - A call from Andy offering my a job. |
Incredible scenes. My feelings are fairly accurately depicted in the above .gif
I cannot imagine a better job right now - I enjoy what I do, I'm driven to continue learning... There was a great moment in our third or fourth week where I stopped, and realised that I was now being paid to do something I was doing in my spare time. Simply amazing.
And the best part?
It is so rewarding to be able to see the progress.
A great example is the visualisation below - I think it's among my favourites I've created (along with a couple of the client projects I've done & the tiled map I created in Tableau 10 last week)
The best bit? The data used here is almost identical to that first scatter plot. I cannot wait to see what else I can learn in another 12 months.
Let's see what happens between today and the 13th of May 2017!