5 Ways to Learn Tableau As a Beginner
Updated: Sep 4
Data visualization is the graphical representation of data. It involves use of images and charts/graphs to communicate relationship in data. As a niche, data analytics and visualization is quite invested with many tools – and therefore in this article I provide a simple guide to learning Tableau for data analysis. Tableau is a data analytics and visualizations tool – a leader in business intelligence and a competitive tool when it comes to visualization.
Get the right app (download and install the right Tableau application)
Having the right tool installed in your machine is one of the common questions I get from Tableau beginners. Tableau has several options depending with your needs as a user. Both the three options described here will get you started with Tableau.
Tableau desktop is the premium application by Tableau. Usually, offered as a bundle with Tableau Prep (a data preparation tool) as Tableau Creator license for $70/month. This tool has a trial period of 14 days after download and installation. Most suitable for professional and organizations looking forward to connect to wide variety of data, quickly build visualizations and share workbooks in a secure environment in seconds.
Download: Tableau Desktop
Tableau public is a free application that allows anyone to connect to a spreadsheet or file and create interactive visualizations for the web. A powerful tool for anyone to learn Tableau for free. Some of the shortcomings of this tool are;
You can only connect to limited data sets (usually excel, text and shapefiles)
You can only save your workbooks to the Tableau public server – meaning no privacy of your data/dashboards.
Download: Tableau Public
Tableau for Student
Tableau for student is a free one year license of Tableau desktop for free. To get this free license, a student MUST provide evidence of being a full time student at any accredited institution around the world. Such a student must be 16 years of age and above to get this license.
Suitable for students.
Download: Tableau for Students
(Having the right tool installed is useless unless you plan way forward. (Failing to plan is planning to fail) Come up with a solid plan on how to implement the five points below – ensure each goal has a timeline and stick to it. You can also find a mentor to keep you accountable on the same.)
1. Watch Tableau online training videos
Tableau training videos is a great place to get started with Tableau for free. Though this site isn’t equipped to make you ace you data visualization skill – it will at least help you improve your skills and gain courage interacting with data.
This great resource will help you;
Get started with Tableau
Introduce you to visual analytics.
Build different charts and graphs.
Understand mapping in Tableau
Learn Tableau calculations.
Create dashboard and stories
Publish workbooks in Tableau.
2. Take courses to accelerate learning
You can also learn Tableau by enrolling to one of the online course providers such as Udemy, Simplilearn, Cousera, Udacity, Packt etc.
Online course is simply a transformation within a short period. Meaning every single online course brings a unique transformation in its own trajectory. Choosing the right online course (based on students reviews and trainers knowledge on the subject matter) will always bring a unique transformation at the end of class.
The good thing about online courses is that you get to learn in a stair case manner (ideas tend to flow rather than mixing topics) - making your learning time easy and transformational.
Some of the best online courses provide test quizzes and exams to help learners test their knowledge.
3. Dive into the data
One of the optimal way to learn any subject is through practice. By diving into data, you get to apply what you’ve learned in real life scenarios and gain courage working with data. This can be done in the following ways;
Re-creating dashboards published and made available in the Tableau public gallery – recreating dashboards will help you learn ideas implemented by others and use them in your work. “We see further by standing on the shoulders of giants” – Isaac Newton
Building dashboards from scratch – either by participating in data visualization forums (e.g. Viz for Social Good) made to promote data use or building own visualization using open data for public good.
4. Find help in the community
Other forums can be found in different social media channels such as Facebook groups etc.
5. Get a book/follow blogs with fresh ideas and content
Blogs are a great place to learn Tableau, especially blogs which keep things fresh by sharing the new features and updates on Tableau. Thousands of these blogs are available on the web for you. And one is this you’re reading now.
Other sources are books by industry experts which explore different topics on data visualization. Sample of books you can try.
Other materials include free guides on different subjects such as this one on 35 different ways to visualize data – which will help you fast-track your data visualization skills.
Practice!! Practice!! Practice!! Practice!! Without practice knowledge can’t be applied. Participate in data visualization forums and groups, read whitepapers by other vendors. Prove your Tableau expertise by taking Tableau exams.
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Thanks for reading.