A white tablecloth, expensive china, and shining silver cutlery beckon everyone to take a seat at the table. But wait, what do we have here? A meal? Nope. It’s visualized data! A vast appealing menu of charts, diagrams, dashboards, panels, graphs, and tables! At a glance, not really edible, but it’s exactly the products that most modern companies are eager to ingest.
We now live in a world where data has become the vitamins and micronutrients of any business. And every company needs special tools that can pack these nutrients into a balanced vitamin complex that is good for business health. This is where Tableau comes to play.
What is Tableau?
According to Tableau brand contributor at Forbes Allison Witherspoon Johnston, “Good decisions start with data”. The more you know about your business processes, your employees, your customers, your suppliers — the more precise you will be in your plans and actions.
Meet Adam. He has launched a small online store that sells accessories and souvenirs. So far, the income is not bad, but Adam wants to have a 360° picture of what’s going on with his business. Which products are bestsellers? Where are the customers from? What are the sales figures today, and are they higher or lower than yesterday?
That’s why Adam hires Mark, a data analyst. Mark uses Tableau to make clear visualizations of the data Adam wants to have at his fingertips. Mark creates a new workbook in Tableau and uploads all the data sources he may need.
The good thing is, Tableau supports virtually all possible data formats, from Excel and text files, though to server databases. Mark uploads the Excel files he needs for reports and connects the databases that store details on inventory, sales, and customers. He then unifies the data he wants to present on the dashboard. He can now create a variety of charts:
- Combine category products with sales volume to see which product categories earn most, or result in losses for his business.
- Add a filter to sort customers by country.
- Build graphs based on daily sales in order to analyze whether a given day does better or worse than the previous one.
Of course, Mark can change chart types, design, style, and color to fit the look and feel of the brand. When all the charts are ready, he simply clicks the New Dashboard icon and draws all the required objects there. He can then send the visualization to Adam, who will open it in Tableau Reader.
Now, Adam has user-friendly visualization to analyze the state of things in his company and make informed decisions about it. Or, even better, they can share the findings through Tableau Server or Tableau Online with other colleagues and choose a course of action together.
Tableau supports a great variety of charts, maps, and plots. Whether you need to analyze the most subscribed YouTube channels, the population of bees across U.S. states, or call center operations, you can do that in Tableau.
This visualization shows the number of subscriptions depending on the type of YouTube channels, from music and blogs to education, science, and technology. The bigger the number of subscriptions, the larger is the circle’s radius, while infographics tell us what content these channels deliver.
Below is a set of charts about bee populations in the USA. The map shows, which U.S. states have the most bee colonies: the darker the color, the more colonies the state has.
As you can see, the largest bee population is in California.
The dashboard below shows a call center’s performance. It clearly presents the number of tickets delivered by phone, in chats, and by email, as well as the number of escalations and the main reasons why users contacted the call center.
Tableau is not a single software, but rather a platform that includes a range of solutions.
- Tableau Desktop: use an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to connect, visualize, and share data in interactive dashboards, reports, and charts from various sources.
- Tableau Server: a collaboration solution that allows you to explore and share data in a secure environment and manage data on-premises or in the cloud.
- Tableau Prep: a tool to prepare data for analysis, allowing you to transform and connect to any data source.
- Tableau Cloud: a cloud-based version of Tableau Server that lets you explore data and share insights from anywhere.
- Tableau Reader: a desktop application that opens and interacts with data visualizations, built in Tableau.
- Tableau Public: a tool for journalists, bloggers, non-profits, or governments to create and share interactive visualizations, reports, and dashboards publicly.
You can start with Tableau Public for free and use its features to explore and experiment. As you gain experience, you can move on to data analytics as a profession.
Data analyst careers with Tableau
Depending on what you like to do, you can choose between four basic roles related to Tableau.
- First, you can approach Tableau as a user. As an entry point, you can study free tutorials and online courses. Watch video tutorials on the Tableau YouTube channel, YouTube tutorials by other educational content producers, or join a free online course Tableau | A Quick Start Guide on Udemy. From these online sessions, you will learn the Tableau basics and will be able to use this data analytics tool.
- To become a Tableau content creator, it is necessary to learn how to ask the relevant questions about data and tell stories through data insights.
It takes time to develop these skills. You can read Tableau's documentation and user community forums to learn about best practices and new techniques. It can also be helpful to attend Tableau training sessions, webinars, and conferences to enhance your skills and knowledge.
- But if you’re seriously considering a career as a data analyst, it’s better to go beyond free tutorials or documentation reading.
At the advanced level, you will learn how to manage a Tableau site, troubleshoot permissions, control ownership, and do basic monitoring and maintenance. Further on, you may learn how to deploy Tableau in a local environment or in the cloud.
There is a range of Tableau certification exam for data analysts or Tableau certification exams for expert-level students with at least six months of experience.
But a good option for starting your journey is Practicum’s seven-month Data Analytics Bootcamp. The beginner-friendly program teaches essential data analysis skills, including Tableau. The bootcamp is designed to be a one-stop-shop for your data analytics career. In the end, you’ll come out a full-fledged specialist with knowledge of all the ins and outs of this exciting role.
Unlock the power of data visualization
If you want to build a solid IT career, but don't feel like you were born to code, consider learning Tableau. It will forge you into a specialist, capable of revealing valuable insights, and presenting those insights, using beautiful and transparent visualizations.
This leading BI platform, used by over 100,000 organizations, from startups and universities to IT giants.
Finally, as a data analyst, you will get an in-demand IT job that brings true value to companies and clients everywhere.