How to improve your Tableau skills

Baby learning

Every Tableau Jedi started as a novice. They did not become proficient overnight. They gather plenty of learning resources, continuously practicing and challenging themselves to improve their Tableau skills.

When I first encountered Tableau, I was impressed with the amount of learning resources available, such as books and online articles.

Below is a summary of the learning resources that I use on the journey to becoming a Tableau Jedi.

Training

Tableau offers both paid and free training – schedules and types of training can be found here. You need to create a once off free account (even if you are not ‘yet’ a Tableau customer) to access all the training tutorials and materials :).

  • Classroom training – These paid training sessions are fantastic if you like to learn in a structured way. Tableau offers physical and virtual classroom training.
  • On Demand training – As a time poor individual, I prefer the flexibility to learn at my own time and pace. Tableau On Demand training provides online video tutorials that enable me to do just that. Moreover, On Demand training is FREE. The videos range from 5 to 20 minutes. Most of the video tutorials come with Tableau workbooks that you can play along with whilst watching the video. This is fantastic if you like a hands-on training. You can also do this training offline by downloading the videos and workbooks. Based on my personal experience, I do not recommend you spend a week or two watching all the videos in the On Demand training. The best way is to consume what you need, then go back and apply what you’ve learnt. This can be an iterative process. For example, I start with the video detailing how to connect to my data, then go back to my Tableau workbook and implement what I’ve just seen. I may then encounter another challenge which is how to connect to another data source. I’ll then go back to my On Demand training video, watch it and them use these learnings in my own workbook.
  • LIVE Online training – I thank Tableau for providing another FREE training resource on top of the extensive On Demand training videos and tutorials. You can check out the schedules for the LIVE Online training here.The only downside of this LIVE Online training is it’s scheduled at a specific time and date, mostly North America time. If you live in the other part of the world, the time difference can be a challenge.

Webinars

Tableau webinars is one of my favourite learning resources. It provides much more than just the technical aspects of learning Tableau. Here you’ll have the opportunity to listen to industry leaders on the latest trends as well as customers sharing their experiences. You can also watch previous webinars.

Tableau Community

Tableau has one of the most active user groups and high number of followers. Tableau Community provides you with access to Forums – a fantastic way to have any Tableau question answered quickly or enable you to share your Tableau knowledge by responding to posts by others. If you’re having a problem, there’s a good chance others have encountered the same.

You can also connect to Groups as well as talk about topics of interests in Tableau Community.

To access Tableau Community, create a once off free account. The same account can be used to access Tableau training and tutorials.

Tableau Public

Tableau Public is often called the ‘YouTube’ for Tableau visualisation. Anyone can use Tableau public to build their own visualisation and share it with the world.

You can browse the Tableau Public Gallery or subscribe to Viz of the day by clicking in one of the viz’s and then on the Subscribe link.

Viz-of-the-day

It’s truly a source of inspiration.

Often, if I like a particular Viz, I download the workbook from Tableau Public, open it with my Tableau Desktop then reverse engineer the Viz. I get to learn so much from Tableau Public users who tend to be full of creative people, many of whom use Tableau in a way that I would never have thought possible.

Viz-of-the-day-2

Events and Conference

What better way to meet other Tableau enthusiasts than in person. Tableau regularly holds and sponsors events, user groups and conferences. You can find the events and schedules here. By attending these events, not only do you get the chance to put names to faces, but also make new friends that have the same interests and face similar challenges. This is a great way to connect and expand your Tableau skills.

My favorite event is the Tableau Annual Conference (TC). The upcoming TC15 will be held in Las Vegas. It’s the biggest and hottest event of the year. I’d like to compare it with a Rock Concert because it shares the same characteristics –

  • It has rock bands (not just one but many of them)
  • Meet and Greet with the Rockstars – You get to meet and learn from Tableau Jedis and Zen masters as well as fellow Tableau users / customers. You also get to meet Tableau employees ranging from the maker of the software, the founders, the support team, the consultants and they are all freakishly friendly 🙂
  • The key note speakers are inspirational. Past speakers have included Hans Rosling (Data Visionary from Gap Minder Foundation), Michael Lewis (author of Liar’s Poker and Moneyball), Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysicist) and Dr John Medina to name a few
  • There is heaps of hands-on training (you get to learn a lot more than you can possibly learn on your own in one year)
  • Bring your Tableau problems to Tableau Doctors – you can make an appointment with them and get those tricky questions resolved by Tableau employees. You even also get the prescriptions emailed to you after your appointment which contains solutions to your problem or follow ups
  • Get certified – you can get Tableau certification on the spot and earn those well deserved medals.

Blogs

I follow several blogs about Tableau. Here is my personal list (feel free to share yours as well):

Tableau Whitepapers

The Tableau website also has a lot of interesting whitepapers ranging from best practice visual analysis through to designing an efficient workbook. To access Tableau whitepapers, you can create a once-off free account.

Books

There are lots of books written about Tableau and Data Visualisation.

If you are after a book to learn Tableau, this book is an excellent one – Learning Tableau by Joshua MilliganJoshua is one of the Tableau Zen Masters and I am a big fan of his blog VizPainter.

Learning-Tableau

Here is a list of interesting books to supplement the above resources and further enhance your Tableau and data analysis skills:

http://www.tableau.com/about/blog/2013/7/list-books-about-data-visualisation-24182

Google

Last but not least, you can always ‘Google It’.

Google Tableau

How to improve your Tableau skills

Tableau Server 9 (64 bit version) Deployment – Core considerations in physical and virtual environment

There are minimum System and Hardware requirements when you deploy Tableau Server 9 (64 bit version).

The full list of minimum requirements can be found here 

Tableau Server 9 (64 bit version) Deployment – Core considerations in physical and virtual environment