Your Introduction to Tableau Certifications
What official Tableau certifications are available?
There are five official Tableau certifications currently available. If you create data analyses, then getting one of these two certifications should be your first step. The skills these certifications teach can also be a starting point for a data science route with Tableau.
In this article, I will be talking about the first two certifications which are useful for analysts. They are the:
- Desktop Specialist, previously known as Qualified Associate certification, and
- Desktop Certified Associate.
Last Updated November 2020
From beginners to skills needed for Certified Associate or Desktop Specialist certifications. Tableau 2018, 2019, 2020 | By Phillip BurtonExplore Course
There is also a third certification, the Desktop Certified Professional, but you’ll need to be a Desktop Certified Associate to complete it.
The final two Tableau certifications are for system administrators installing and maintaining Tableau. These are the:
- Server Certified Associate, and
- Server Certified Professional.
Again, you’ll need to be a Certified Associate before you can become a Certified Professional.
Why should you get a certification in the first place?
If you already know how to work in Tableau, you may be wondering why it’s worth getting certified. You may be an expert with Tableau, but how can you prove it to others?
Tableau certifications allow you to show others that you can create engaging and effective analyses using visualizations, dashboards, and stories. When you have these certifications, you can put them on your CV or resume, which may help you get an important promotion or your next dream job. Indeed, having certifications on my CV helped me get shortlisted for — and then get — a job.
Another reason for getting the certification is that the training shows you all the things that Tableau can do. You may think that you know everything you need to in Tableau, and this may be true. However, it is difficult to know what things you do not know. Some of the skills that you may learn could improve your Tableau experience immeasurably, and allow you to provide better results for your end-users.
What’s the difference between the Specialist and Certified Associate exams?
The Desktop Certified Associate exam tests the same skills as the Desktop Specialist, plus a few more advanced skills. I suggest having a look at the Desktop Specialist requirements first (more about this below) and then see whether you want to go for the more advanced requirements.
There is also a difference in the price. The Desktop Specialist exam costs around $100, whereas the Desktop Certified Associate exam costs around $250.
Additionally, the Desktop Certified Associate title expires in two years, whereas there is no expiry date for the Desktop Specialist. So, if you are testing to secure a promotion or job imminently, then you can consider either certificate.
If you don’t have a job review or interview soon and want your certification to last longer than two years, then you might want to get the Desktop Specialist certificate now and move on to the Desktop Certified Associate closer to when you need it.
Skills required for the Tableau Desktop Specialist certification
The Tableau Desktop Specialist exam guide shows these skills in detail. However, in brief, they fall into four headings:
- Connecting to and Preparing Data. Here you create, save, and modify data connections, including joins, blends, and unions. You also manage data properties, such as changing data types, default properties, and assigning roles to data fields.
- Exploring and Analyzing Data. In addition to creating basic charts, you also need to organize your data into groups, sets, and hierarchies and add filters and analytics such as reference lines, calculated fields, and parameters.
- Sharing Insights. This heading is about formatting, including color, shapes, sizes, and fonts, and creating dashboards and stories, including interactive elements.
- Understanding Tableau Concepts. Under this heading, you need to know the difference between dimensions and measures, discrete and continuous dates and fields, and what aggregation is.
Knowledge of the above is vital for effectively creating analyses in Tableau, so you probably have most of these skills already. If you don’t, it’s worth taking a refresher course first. It is a timed test, with only one hour to answer 30 questions, so you’ll want to be sure you know what you’re doing before you begin.
Additional skills needed for the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate certification
The Tableau exam guide includes these additional skills:
- Enhanced Data Connections. This includes splitting fields and creating extracts with multiple tables.
- Calculations. This goes beyond the simple calculations in the Desktop Specialist certification, including building logic statements, grand totals and subtotals, and Level of Detail (LOD) expressions.
- Maps. Whereas the other certification needs knowledge of the basic creation of a map, this certification requires filtering, layering, and searching maps, and connecting to spatial files.
The questions in this certification are also more detailed. There are only six more questions, but you have double the amount of time, two hours, to complete the test.
Are there any prerequisites for the exams?
For these two exams, there are no prerequisites. Tableau suggests having at least three months’ experience for the Desktop Specialist certification, and six months’ experience for the Certified Associate, but these are only guidelines.
What is more important is that you have the skills you need. While a lot of this information is available online from Tableau’s website, Udemy’s video training courses will not only teach you the skills you need but also provide practice activities to ensure that you have mastered all the skills.
My Tableau course is around 12 hours long, so you can watch it over a few mornings. The course has 10 practice activities to test your learning. It goes through all the certification requirements systematically and I constantly update the course to meet the ever-updating Tableau program and certification requirements.
If you are completing the Desktop Specialist certification, then some of the last couple of sections in my course are optional, but personally, I think it is still worth learning all these skills. Even if you’re not going to complete the Certified Associate certification, the additional knowledge will improve your Tableau experience.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. Next, I recommend that you:
- Test yourself against the requirements of the official two Tableau certification, and see if you are already there, or if there are gaps you need to fill.
- After that, look into a Udemy video training course, such as mine, to see how easy it is for you to eliminate any gaps in skills you may have.
- And then, consider completing the official Tableau certification to add the accomplishment to your CV or resume. It doesn’t take long to do, and may just help your career.
Thank you very much for reading this, and I hope to see you in my course soon.
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