image image 22nd March 2021

A day in the life of a Data Analyst

We caught up with Tom Wardell to find out more about what life is like as a Data Analyst. Tom joined The Data Shed in the midst of the pandemic and has settled in the team completely virtually, so we’re looking forward to welcoming him to The Shed when that day finally comes!

How does your day start?

I get up each day at 7.30am. I make a pot of strong coffee and read the Economist to catch up on worldwide news. I am generally not a morning person so every evening I make overnight oats for the next day, that I have with some fruit. In the warmer months I will typically go for a run before work, but at the moment this is replaced by online Pilates or exercise class.

What does an average day look like?

Our team will have a stand-up meeting first thing every morning where we check in with everyone and share our plans for the day. The Data Refinery’s team is relatively small at the moment, so we try to get as involved with each other’s work as possible – where someone thinks they can lend a hand or share a fresh perspective they will be sure to speak up.

After that, my day is generally split between development work and supporting clients. One of the best things about working as an analyst for the Refinery is that no two days are alike. In the morning I could be coding a new product for the platform that continuously monitors the quality of incoming data, and in the afternoon, I could be leading a workshop with a client on how to best segment their customers or get the most value out of their data. Through all of this I work closely with the engineers, who themselves work to maintain and extend the platform.

We finish each day with a ‘wash up’ meeting. Here we have a debrief on how everyone has got on that day along with any interesting things or blockers we have come across.

Our weekly Shed-wide meeting on Wednesday is definitely a highlight of the week. Various senior members of staff will present the meetings and give an update on how client work is progressing, any new clients we have secured and give shout outs to any Shedders that have gone above and beyond that week. This is all done in a variety of wacky themed presentations. They are all brilliant, but my favourite theme recently has been Bob Ross, complete with inspirational ‘Bob-isms’ to cheer everyone through lockdown.

Has COVID changed your daily work routine at all?

Like quite a few new starters, I joined the company in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It does feel strange to have not met my team in person yet, but our daily team and weekly company wide meetings have meant I feel like I have known everyone at the company for years.

Having never worked from home until the pandemic started, it felt very strange to swap the daily commute for a wander downstairs to the kitchen. I have found that it has been great for my productivity. There are always times where it would be more ideal to be closer to your colleagues, but I was really surprised at how well everyone has managed with the situation. While the pandemic has been terrible for so many reasons, one of the silver linings is that we have all taken more time to check in with one another and see how everyone is doing.

Do you have any WFH tips to share with us?

When working from home, it is easy to get bogged down by the same surroundings day after day. I have found it useful to move my desk between rooms in the house every couple of days. This gives me a sense of change and variety in the week.

A cheap wi-fi extender has proved to be the most valuable item I have bought this year, meaning I can now work from any room in the house without sounding like R2D2 over Teams!

How does your day usually finish?

I usually log off at 5.30 and head out for a walk with my girlfriend. I really enjoy cooking so it is nice to switch off from work in the evenings and focus on making a really nice dinner.

Why do you love your role and being a part of the TDS team?

One of the great things about being part of The Shed is the genuine intellectual curiosity that everyone shares. There is always someone willing to fill in any gaps you have on topics ranging from the widely known to the very niche.

We have weekly open mic sessions that anyone can sign up for and share something interesting that they have been working on. We also have a number of Microsoft Teams channels where people share interesting things or discuss a problem that someone has come across.

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