Phillip Burton

Tableau is a data visualization tool essential to data analysts of all experience levels. It’s a straightforward tool for beginners, as they can use its drag-and-drop technology to quickly create visualizations (vizzes). Advanced users can expand Tableau’s functionality through formulas, filters, and other interactive elements. It allows users to rapidly create analyses from existing data and upload these analyses onto the internet. 

Tableau 2020, 19, 18 & 10: Certified Associate certification

Last Updated October 2020

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From beginners to skills needed for Certified Associate or Desktop Specialist certifications. Tableau 2018, 2019, 2020 | By Phillip Burton

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Common Tableau uses

Tableau allows users to translate raw data into highly visual dashboards and analyses, that are ideal for explaining data trends to non-technical stakeholders. The most common uses include:

Bar Chart

Creating your first Tableau visualization

You don’t need to be a Tableau expert to get started building your first visualization. You can create a visualization in five steps:

  1. Select your data in the Data Source tab.

2. Open a blank sheet.

3. Select the fields to use. Tip: Hold the Control key (Command key on Macs) to select multiple fields

4. Click the “Show me” button to select a visualization type. Available vizzes are highlighted.

5. Select the type of visualization and watch Tableau instantly create it. To adjust the viz, drag and drop fields to or from the presentation.

You can expand your vizzes in a variety of ways:

Maps

Which Tableau is right for you?

Tableau offers both a premium paid product as well as a free tool. The premium Tableau is around $70 per month per user, which is much higher than the price for Power BI Pro of around $10 a month per user. This price allows you full use of:

There are also more advanced versions, such as Tableau Python Server, which can integrate with the Algorithmia library to enable machine learning, which can be useful for data engineering.

Tableau Public, which is available from public.tableau.com, is the main free version. It provides most of the functionality of the full-price versions with two main exceptions:

As the free version is otherwise a fully featured analytics platform, Tableau Public allows you at the very least to try out all of the features for yourself and see whether the free or paid-for version could be useful for your company.

There is also another free edition called Tableau Reader, which allows you to load visualizations which have previously been created in the paid-for versions.

How can I learn how to use Tableau?

Tableau’s style is distinctive, and that plus the terminology may cause some challenges at first. For example, dimensions and measures are put into shelves, and there are various cards and marks for filtering and creating your analyses. Also, sometimes navigating your way through more advanced functionality can be non-obvious at first. 

However, there are many good Udemy courses which will enable you to get the best of Tableau, allowing you to create visualizations that can both impress and tell a story. In my course, for instance:

It will only take a few hours to learn how to create your own analyses. And if you wanted, afterwards you could enter the official Tableau exams and get a certification if you pass. Wouldn’t that look good on your CV or resume?

Thank you for reading this article. I hope that soon you will create your first Tableau analyses.

What is Tableau?

Page Last Updated: September 2020

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