How I started with Tableau

Picture from PixBay

Finally! After a never ending deliberation, here I am with my first ever blog post thanks to all the nudges from the Tableau community. Before you get too excited, this is just a simple post, reflecting my thoughts on how I got started with Tableau.

Hello Tableau!

I started my career as a reporting analyst in 2010 primarily focusing on reporting and automation. After spending countless hours developing reports and dashboards, I slowly developed a strong interest towards data visualization in the last couple of years and I wanted to take my Excel dashboards to the next level with better graphics and data handling capabilities. I had heard about Tableau as a dataviz tool only in conversations and I wanted to learn it. Fortunately, a 2-day training was available on my company training catalog and enrolled myself to that training in early 2016.

Though I wasn’t blown away with the quality of training, Tableau’s simplicity, ease of use and intuitive nature kept me going. Before I knew it, I started having fun learning and visualizing data in Tableau. Like all good things that come to an end, my trial period was done and I was back to Excel. It’s a good thing that Tableau has this awesome online version of the tool by name ‘Tableau Public’. I continued my learning with all the training offered on Tableau website.

My First Tableau Viz

It was in April/May-2016, after few weeks down the training videos, I decided to create my first visualization. I wanted to keep it simple and decided to visualize IMDb Top 250 Movies. As a Tableau novice, I hadn’t anticipated any of the challenges I’d face. What looked and felt like a simple visualization, took more time than expected and I struggled a bit to complete and had to go through the training videos multiple times.

Although I’m little embarrassed to look at my first viz now, I had a proud grin on my face when I had created it. Fast forward to a few months and hours of practice, I did a makeover of my first viz and tadaa, the progress below.

If you really plan on visiting my Tableau public profile, you should notice that my ‘first viz’ is placed little higher as I had fixed the dashboard layout a few months after publishing. (I made the rookie mistake of leaving the dashboard layout set to ‘Automatic’)

My first Tableau viz — Click here to visit
Makeover of my first Tableau viz — Click here to visit

Enter #MakeoverMonday

I first heard about MakeoverMonday in late June-2016 when I was watching one of Ben Sullins’s Tableau videos where he mentioned MakeoverMonday and how it was a good platform to learn and practice Tableau. Intrigued, I googled MakeoverMonday and found out how it worked. It was week 26 of 2016 and the makeover challenge was about MakeoverMonday itself. We had to put together a quick viz of the data collected about the MakeoverMonday challenge and participants. I went ahead and created my first MakeoverMonday viz. It was pretty interesting to see people taking very different approaches. Within no time, I was hooked.

I was fortunate that I discovered MakeoverMonday and Andy Kriebel’s website (vizwiz.com) very early on. Thanks to good man Ben!, It helped me a lot in learning and practicing Tableau, data visualization, not to mention the added advantage of connecting and learning from so many amazing people on Twitter.

(Here is my Twitter list of Tableau people! Follow these great people and you will learn a bunch of stuff)

Tableau Public

As of July 26, 2017, I have 52 visualizations in my Tableau Public portfolio. I took over a year to create these visualizations and you can clearly see my progress. What came next as a gift to all my tedious hours of practice was the recognition from team at Tableau. I was selected as one of the featured authors from the first batch of 2017 on the Tableau Public website. Shortly after one of my visualizations was made ‘Viz of the Day’. I now have a total of four, Just saying ;)

A big shout out to the guys at Tableau Public! Thanks for noticing my work and encouraging me with the title.Thank you for creating such amazing, inspirational platform and Congratulations on reaching 1 million vizzes on public. It’s crazy and unheard of!! Kudos to the guys!

What started as one more skill on the resume has now become a passion. I am now looking forward to more challenging work in the coming years.

I’m glad that with Tableau, data visualization has turned into a hobby, the one I wish to continue.


Alright, I do not want to be short of words for my next post and will leave it here, but before I do, I would like to extend some of the very best resources that have helped me and hope they help you too!

Tableau Resources

Training and Tutorials

People

Social Data Projects

Podcasts

Books

Rajeev Pandey has curated some of the best books on Tableau here

Tableau Books
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