5/10/2017
Learning Tableau: Resources and tips to help you on your Tableau journey.


I frequently get asked, "do you have any suggestions or resources on how I can learn Tableau?" or sometimes a variation of that question, "how can I get better at Tableau?". I typically respond with a number of resources, so I thought I would put my thoughts together in a post.

Blogs and Social Media


There are so many great bloggers out there, so it would be impossible for me to list them all. People are constantly blogging tips and how-to posts. I've curated a list of helpful blog posts at TableauReferenceGuide.com. This list is organized by category and indexed with a search function. It includes links to some of the best tutorials that I've found. And if you find something that isn't listed, please email me at TabLink@dataplusscience.com and I will add it to the list.

There are loads of people in the Tableau community on Twitter. As a start, I would suggest following the Tableau Zen Masters and the Tableau Ambassadors. This group produces a tremendous amount of content and are typically very active on Twitter. Following and interacting with them will help keep you up-to-date on what is going on in the Tableau community.

Also, be sure to follow them (and the other great Tableau Public Authors) on Tableau Public. Make sure you have your free account set up and then follow each one. This will allow you to see your network activity and the amazing work they are publishing on a daily basis.

Tableau User Groups


If you have a Tableau User Group in your area then get active with your Tableau User Group. This is a great way to network with folks in your local area that are Tableau users and it's a great way to learn. You can find the locals of the user groups around the world here. If there is not one near you, then look for the "virtual user group" meetings and join in.

Videos


There are a number of great video resources. Here are some of my favorite resources:
Tableau Training Videos (Free) - There are over 100 videos posted by Tableau and these videos are a great starting point for learning Tableau.
Andy Kriebel's YouTube Channel (Free) - There are over 100 videos posted by my friend Andy, who is the Head Coach at the Information Lab. This is a fantastic collection of how-to videos covering all sorts of topics in Tableau.
The Information Lab's YouTube Channel (Free) - another large collection of tips and how-to videos from various people at the Information Lab.

Tableau Books


Tableau Your Data!: Fast and Easy Visual Analysis with Tableau Software (2nd Edition) by Dan Murray.
Learning Tableau 10 (2nd Edition) by Joshua Milligan.
Communicating Data with Tableau: Designing, Developing, and Delivering Data Visualizations by Ben Jones.
Practical Tableau: 100 Tips, Tutorials, and Strategies from a Tableau Zen Master (July, 2017) by Ryan Sleeper.

Training


Tableau 10 for Data Scientists on Lynda.com by Matt Francis.
As a former Tableau Zen Master, Matt has an incredible knowledgable of Tableau and he's also a gifted speaker and trainer. While this course isn't free, it will definitely be worth your time and money.

Practice, Practice, Practice


Join the Makeover Monday project. Each week Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray post a new dataset. The community activly participates in this project week to week and it's a great way to practice your Tableau chops.

Find other datasets and practice. Pick a topic that you are passionate about, maybe something to do with sports, the ecomony or just grab local government data and see what you can do.

Try the Workout Wednesday challenge. Every Wednesday, Andy Kriebel and Emma Whyte post a new challenge in Tableau. Each challenge also provides a workbook solution, so even if you can't "solve" the challenge, you can still learn from the exercise by deconstructing the solution.

Study the Work of Others


This leads me to my final piece of advice. Learn by decontructing the Tableau Visualizations of others. Most visualizations on Tableau Public are set to allow the user to download the visualizations. This is a fantastic resource, so take advantage of this. It means that you have the data and workbook for the visualization and it's a great way to learn. Create a folder of visualizations that you like and download them as you see them on Tableau Public (I currently have 689 twbx files in one of these folder). Then take the time to open them and see how they are made. Some in the community have called this #TakeapartTuesday and even created blog posts about how visualizations are built and their learnings from deconstructing them.

If you need a place to start, try this list of Tableau visualizations featured in the Tableau Public Gallery.

Of all the things listed on this webpage, I believe this is the best way to learn Tableau. The videos and links will be a great resource for you, possibly when you are stuck or trying to do something specific and you need some guideance. Having now listed all of these resources, I can say that in my case, I learned the most about Tableau by simply diving into the thousands of Tableau workbooks that are out there on Tableau Public and studying what others have done.

To give you an idea of what I mean, while drafting this post, I checked the activity of my network on Tableau Public. George Gorczynski posted a new visualization, using voronoi diagrams in Tableau. He also tweeted about his new viz and promised a blog post as well. And now I have one more visualization in my folder to study!

Click the image below to see his viz on Tableau Public.


I hope you will find these resources helpful on your Tableau journey. If you have any questions feel free to email me at Jeff@DataPlusScience.com

Jeffrey A. Shaffer
Follow on Twitter @HighVizAbility