It’s been quite some time since my last blog post.
I’m now coming to the end of my Data Fellowship apprenticeship so there hasn’t been much energy available for much else recently. The past eight weeks have been dedicated to completing my final project, along with creating the report and presentation to support it.
The stress levels have been manageable but I have to admit that this period has been far more intense than I expected it to be. As seems to be the way with most data projects, you start off analysing one particular area and then end up uncovering a whole can of worms in another. I’ve come across so many system and quality issues in the past month and we’re now facing the reality of our current reporting being totally inaccurate.
Despite this challenge, there’s a silver lining. My discoveries will give me plenty to talk about during my interview with the assessors in August. However, the downside is that condensing all my findings into a 3,500-word report has been a real struggle. I think I’ve spent more time editing the word count down to meet the requirements than on the actual analysis for the project.
But it’s finally done. With a mixture of relief and trepidation, I hit the send button on my documentation yesterday afternoon so it’s now in the hands of the assessors. The only thing that stands between me and a Data Fellowship certificate is a two-hour presentation and interview with them at the end of the month. I have four weeks to revise everything I’ve learnt about data since March 2022, hoping it still makes sense and I’m able to retain it in my memory.
For anyone considering an apprenticeship, especially those who left school years ago, it’s definitely something I’d recommend. However, go into it with your eyes open and prepared for the significant volume of work involved. It’s important to be realistic about how much time it will take away from other aspects of your life. I’ve had to put regular blog posts and streams on hold, as well as postpone several personal projects, to give myself enough time to meet the requirements and complete my portfolio.
The results won’t be revealed until at least September but that hasn’t stopped me from badgering my employer about the Advanced Data Fellowship (ADF) already. Doing this will require another two years of study alongside my day-job and the pressure that comes along with it, but obtaining a degree at the end makes it a compelling opportunity. After putting in 18 months of effort to reach this current level, it seems foolish not to take the journey to the next step.
I’ve heard from the apprenticeship company that there’s an ADF intake due to begin in December. However, the timing of this really isn’t ideal. A couple of big work deadlines are scheduled for the same month and there’s a significant event taking place early next year which is going to require an awful lot of preparation. The following start date in March 2024 would be far more suitable, so this is what I’ll be pushing for if my company decides to go ahead and make the offer.
That ‘significant event’ description was intentionally vague. You might already know what I’m referring to if you managed to join us for our latest Twitch stream in mid-July when I shared a few details. But if you didn’t, don’t worry. I’m going to write a post about it in the next few weeks once I’ve managed to get my workload back under control, and there’ll also be regular updates published on the blog as our plans develop. For now, let’s just say it’s something I’m incredibly excited about.
Although I need to focus on revision in the coming month, it feels as though I’ve got a little more breathing space now that the final project has been submitted. I’m hoping this will allow me to post more frequently than I have been this summer. Though it’s difficult to determine how often that’s going to be and the streams will take a little longer to find their rhythm again, I’m eager to getting back on track as well as explore a few new directions.
Having some time away from Later Levels to focus on something else made me realise there are a few changes I want to make here. You’ve probably noticed the first already. While I still liked the previous theme, it no longer aligned with what I want to get out of blogging nowadays. There’s a part of me that wants to return to the days when it was more about the community and sharing conversations, so I’ve gone for something subtler which looks more typically ‘blog’.
Next up is the content. While I still enjoy video games and intend to continue writing about them, my interests have changed in the past few years. Pete and I have really started to get into board games and our collection has grown after visiting the UK Games Expo in June. I’ve started to take running more seriously too since participating in the ASICS London 10K for SpecialEffect in July (photograph opposite). There’s also a bunch of topics related to my day-job that I’d like to consider too, about IT best practice and frameworks.
I guess this means that Later Levels is going to evolve into something more diverse this year. And that’s ok, because the blog is an online reflection of me and this is where I am at the current stage in my life. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my apprenticeship and still visits here occasionally to check in. I look forward to hanging out with you more regularly in the future!