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Learn Tableau

A Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning Tableau

One of the world’s most popular data visualization tools, Tableau allows users to create graphs, charts, and other illustrations to share their analytical findings with others. These eye-catching visuals can communicate important details to a large audience and ensure that the information is understandable, even to those with a limited background in data analytics.

Tableau is one of the most popular visual analytics platforms currently available. It allows users from technical and non-technical backgrounds to manage large volumes of data and transform their findings into stunning, interactive visualizations. If you’ve always wanted to learn Tableau but aren’t sure how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll discover the various ways to learn Tableau, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use Tableau.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a data visualization tool used for data analytics and business intelligence. It was designed to help individuals and organizations make better data-driven solutions. This software can simplify raw data into an accessible dashboard format that incorporates visual depictions of raw data from datasets, which can then be understood by various professionals working within a company, regardless of whether they come from a technical background. One of the main benefits of working with Tableau is that it performs fast data analysis and can create stunning visualizations based on data findings.

Tableau provides users with many helpful data analysis and visualization features, such as real-time analysis, data blending, and collaboration capabilities. It allows Data Analysts to manipulate live datasets and devote their efforts more to analysis rather than data wrangling. In addition, Tableau doesn’t require programming or technical skills, making it an accessible, effective tool for data analytics.

Read more about what Tableau is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Tableau?

Tableau has a variety of professional uses. Ultimately, the more you know about Tableau, the more data-driven insights you can bring to your organization. Tableau can bring together various data sources into a single point of truth. For example, suppose you’re working with data in Microsoft Access and Excel, as well as in SQL databases and cloud-based applications such as Salesforce. In that case, Tableau can help you bring these data together with just a few mouse clicks. This provides one central source that can be used for all types of business reporting and doesn’t require you to have any coding knowledge to set up. 

Tableau also provides a way to efficiently perform ETL operations (extract, transform and load). With the help of Tableau’s automated data reshaper tool, you can transform any data you want to use into the necessary format by splitting fields, eliminating header and white space, and changing data formats. Instead of spending a whole day extracting, transforming, and loading data using apps such as Excel, you can do it in just seconds in Tableau. In addition, Tableau’s automated reporting feature allows you to easily create a report, then set it to focus on a specific dataset so that the data will automatically refresh without requiring any coding know-how or additional time commitment.

One of Tableau’s most remarkable features is its visualization capabilities. Even for those new to visually presenting data insights, Tableau comes with built-in best practices to help you present information clearly, effectively, and engagingly. This helps ensure that data is delivered to internal and external stakeholders through eye-catching and informative reports.

Careers that Use Tableau

Tableau is the most widely used modern business intelligence tool available today. Many organizations that rely on data to drive their decision-making process rely on Tableau to help them make sense of the data, making Tableau a staple across industries and professions. It has a range of applications that extends beyond traditional data analytics and business analytics. For example, those working in communication and media analytics use Tableau to maximize audience engagement. Individuals in sports management analytics rely on Tableau to collect player statistics, merchandise and ticket sales information, fan engagement, and build more balanced teams.

In the financial sector, Tableau is used in banking analytics to manage risk and improve customer experience. The manufacturing industry works with Tableau to blend and link similar data to gather immediate results that can improve the efficiency of processes and overall customer satisfaction. In the educational sector, Tableau provides a way for educators and administrators to gain insight into how lesson planning affects student performance or how to make the enrollment process more efficient. It is also used in the classroom to help teachers and students explore and understand data. Even the government leverages Tableau’s features to perform tasks like querying national databases, publishing transparent and interactive dashboards that can communicate data findings, and analyzing data from cities, counties, and boroughs to better manage public services and spaces.

Why Learn Tableau?

Learning to use Tableau has many professional benefits. The following are just a few reasons why you should consider studying this powerful data visualization tool:

  • Tableau is considered to be easy to use. Those with Tableau knowledge can quickly create complex graphs and charts that depict data findings.
  • Many career paths rely on Tableau, such as software engineering, business intelligence, data analytics, and business analytics.
  • The average salary in the U.S. for Tableau professionals is over $100,000 a year.
  • Many top companies actively seek out those with Tableau training, such as Dell, Meta, General Motors, and Bank of America.
  • Tableau makes data manipulation and integration much easier to perform. The Tableau Reporting Tool can manipulate or integrate any programming language or type of software.
  • Because so many organizations currently handle large volumes of data, those who know how to use Tableau can help their employer process, analyze, and visualize this information. The insights in the data help their organization grow by making data-driven decisions.

Read more about why you should learn Tableau

How to Learn Tableau

There is a wealth of resources available for those interested in studying this powerful data visualization tool. In-person and live online Tableau courses are currently available from top educational providers. Those who are new to Tableau can enroll in beginner-level data visualization classes, and those who already have a background working with Tableau can choose more advanced courses, such as bootcamps or certificate study in data analytics. 

For those interested exclusively in in-person study options, Tableau classes near home can be compared using Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me tool. One of the main benefits of studying in a live online or in-person environment is that students can ask questions in real-time and receive individualized instruction and support. Whereas in-person study requires students to commute to and from class for each meeting, you can complete live online Tableau courses from the comfort of your home.

If you are a self-motivated learner interested in exploring Tableau basics on your own, on-demand Tableau classes are a great learning option. Unlike live online study, you can complete these courses at your own pace since they don’t meet at a regularly scheduled time. Udacity’s Data Visualization in Tableau is a free learning option that provides students with three weeks of instruction on the basics of visual design and data visualization. Other on-demand Tableau courses, such as Skillsoft’s Tableau Desktop and LinkedIn Learning’s Tableau Essential Training, are available with a platform subscription. 

In addition to in-person, live online, and on-demand Tableau study, other free resources are available for those interested in exploring topics related to Tableau and data visualization. 

Noble Desktop offers a variety of free Tableau resources that provide instruction on core data visualization procedures and skills, such as creating maps and dual-axis charts in Tableau, as well as working with the new Relationships feature in this program. You can also read about Using Table Calculations in Tableau, which discusses what table calculations are, the different types of table calculations, and how the table calculation is performed. Additionally, a free tutorial is also provided on Using Parameters in Tableau, which provides an overview of what parameters are, how to use them, and working with parameter actions and parameter control.

Read the full guide on how to learn Tableau

Free Introductory Tableau Course Online 

Not ready to dive into a full Tableau course? Instead of committing to a rigorous bootcamp or certificate in data visualization, you may just want an overview of Tableau. If this sounds like you, the good news is that you can start learning Tableau for free online. Noble Desktop offers some excellent free online Tableau tutorials and resources that can help Tableau novices, along with more seasoned Tableau users, learn more about this popular application. Articles are available on topics like how to install Tableau Public, working with Colors in Tableau, and Creating Maps in Tableau

In addition to Noble Desktop’s free Tableau resources, other top educational providers also offer free, beginner-level Tableau instruction. Udemy’s free Tableau Tutorial for Beginners provides nearly two-and-a-half hours of instruction on core Tableau skills, such as joining multiple datasets, writing powerful calculations, and performing visual analytics. Coursera’s Data Visualization and Communication with Tableau teaches students how to communicate business-relevant insights in a manner accessible to audiences from non-technical backgrounds. 

Read about more free Tableau videos and online tutorials

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

Tableau is considered a relatively easy-to-learn data analysis and visualization tool and can be mastered by anyone with enough time and practice. On average, it takes most people between two and six months to learn this software. This process can take even longer if you’re looking to master all of Tableau’s functions.

The speed at which you learn Tableau will depend mainly on the prerequisite skills you bring to the learning process. For example, if you are new to working with data or performing data visualizations, it may be more difficult to acclimate to Tableau’s features. This is why familiarity with applications such as Microsoft Excel can pave the way for using Tableau. Because Excel provides a platform for managing, analyzing, and visualizing data, knowledge of this app can speed up the Tableau learning process. In addition, those with a background in business analytics can often learn Tableau faster than others who lack this training.

The cost of using Tableau depends on which version you select. Tableau Reader and Tableau Public are available for free. When using Tableau Public, anyone can use the web to connect to a file or spreadsheet or to create their own interactive data visualization. Other versions of Tableau, such as Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server, come with a two-week free trial. After this period ends, you must pay to continue using them. Tableau Creator is available for $70/user/month, Tableau Explorer costs $42/user/month. Tableau Viewer is available for $15/user/month.

Read more about how difficult it is to learn Tableau

How Does Learning Tableau Compare to Other Applications?

Those who work with Tableau may wonder how this tool compares with other software devoted to data analytics, data visualization, or business intelligence. One of Tableau’s main competitors is Qlik Sense. This cloud-based tool for analytics can perform conversational and embedded analytics, enterprise reporting, app development, and automation. However, one drawback to this analytics tool is that it is only available for Windows OS and mobile iOS and Android devices. Like Tableau, Qlik Sense has a free version and a free trial. Qlik Sense Business currently costs $30/user/month, which is less than half the cost of Tableau Creator.

Another comparable tool to Tableau is Microsoft Power BI. Tableau and Power BI are business intelligence solutions that help users gather, manage, analyze, and present different types of business information. In addition, these tools each have extensive data visualization capabilities. In terms of ease of use, Power BI is considered easier to use than Tableau because it is based on the Microsoft Office 365 user interface, and most users are already familiar with this suite. If you are deciding which one to use for your professional needs, Power BI tends to perform better when working with limited volumes of data; it can perform slowly when working with larger datasets. On the other hand, Tableau can quickly handle large datasets and does not limit the number of data points the visualization can include.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn Tableau

Learning Tableau is easier than ever before, thanks to the different methods currently available for study. If you are new to using Tableau and are interested in a basic overview of this tool, free online Tableau courses are a good starting point. Most on-demand Tableau courses are asynchronous, meaning they can be completed at your own pace around other professional or family commitments. Because they are free and available online, students can revisit the course material as needed.

If you are interested in developing a solid working knowledge of Tableau to plug a skill gap or use this tool in your current career, free online courses likely won’t provide sufficient instruction. Instead, a more rigorous exploration of Tableau may be in order. Noble Desktop’s Tableau for Data Visualization Bootcamp is a great learning option for those who want to take their Tableau skills to the next level. This course provides hands-on Tableau training in the small group setting and can be completed in the live online format or in-person in Manhattan. Those enrolled begin by learning about the field of data visualization and receive a basic overview of Tableau Public. Then, learners will explore how to sort through, analyze, filter, and organize data to create stunning data visualizations. Although bootcamp instruction costs more than online tutorials, they provide essential, industry-relevant training that can help you advance your career.

For those interested in learning Tableau to pursue a new career or pivot to a new industry, a certificate program is likely your best match. Noble’s Data Analytics Certificate provides essential training in Tableau and other data analytic tools like Excel, Python, and SQL. This course is available live online and in-person in New York City. All learners receive expert instruction from skilled instructors, as well as one-on-one mentoring to help with information retention and job readiness. Although a certificate program is more expensive than a bootcamp, it will provide you with the necessary training to become a Business Analyst or Data Analyst.

Learn Tableau with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop provides several great Tableau learning opportunities. For those new to Tableau, Noble’s Tableau Level 1 covers core Tableau tools and skills, such as creating various charts and data visualizations. Students receive an introduction to Tableau Public, a free version of Tableau, and learn how to create and edit graphs and charts.

In addition, Noble’s Tableau Bootcamp is a program that teaches students the fundamental components of data visualization. Those enrolled explore Tableau Public’s different tools to connect to datasets, analyze, filter, and structure the data to make visualizations. By course completion, students will know how to customize, manipulate, and publish various data visualizations. This class comes with the option of a free retake for students who wish to revisit course material.

For those seeking a more rigorous learning environment for learning Tableau, Noble Desktop’s Data Analytics Certificate is a great option. In addition to providing hands-on training with Tableau in the small classroom environment, those enrolled in this certificate study also gain industry-relevant training with other data analytic skills, languages, and programs, such as SQL, Excel, and Python. Expert instructors ensure that those enrolled receive training to become Data Analysts or Business Analysts. One-on-one mentoring is provided for all students.

In addition, for those interested in learning more about Tableau, Noble’s Tableau Resources page has more than 50 articles to help you learn more about this powerful data visualization tool.

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