What is tableau?
Tableau is an end-to-end analytics software that is used to connect to databases easily (e.g., by dragging and dropping) in order to represent data into a wide range of visual formats that is easier to understand. The software has tools that simplify the detailed analysis of data so that it can be represented in different visual forms (visualizations) that are interactive or that allow the demonstration of the data to showcase insights. The primary uses of Tableau as a data visualization software is mostly in business intelligence and data science.
With Tableau, you can securely interact with your data on a desktop PC, mobile device, browser or with your data embedded into an application. Tableau can, therefore, integrate into an existing data infrastructure whether in the cloud, on-premises, hosted, or on the main operating systems including Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, or iOS. Some of the different Tableau products Include:
- Tableau Desktop
- Tableau Server
- Tableau Online
- Tableau Reader
- Tableau Public
Below is a comparison table showing the differences between Tableau and similar software tools.
Tableau has several features that make it the data visualization platform of choice, some of the stand-out features are as follows:
1) Revision history
It is easy to roll back and associate older versions of a book in Tableau Server. Additionally, you can limit the number of revisions that can be made.
2) Subscribe others
As an author, you can easily share vizzes (visualizations that have been publicly published) or subscribe others to your dashboard which can bear your name so that others can recognize the author. Tableau server also has body views that give useful information about the usage of Tableau Desktop and licensing.
3) Connector improvements
Tableau has a lot of connector functionality including a feature that allows the user to build additional versatile, robust, and powerful connectors. Additionally, multiple joins and tables are supported.
Some of the other features related to connector improvements include:
- Extraction of data from SAP BW
- Presto connectivity with LDAP
- Connect WDCs to Spatial Data
4) MATLAB integration
You can deploy MATLAB based algorithms and models in Tableau and use them for predictive insights.
With Tableau, you can directly connect with Denodo data. Therefore, Tableau seamlessly fits into data virtualization strategies.
7) Mobile device management
You can easily and quickly deploy Tableau mobile across a large or small organization.
8) Other features
A list of other features are as follows:
- Patented technology (patent held by Stanford University)
- Importation of data of all sizes and ranges
- Creation of interactive dashboards
- Management of metadata
- Tableau Public to share data
- Tableau Reader for data viewing
- Dashboard commenting
- Manage security permissions at all levels
- Numerous native data connectors
- String insights into a story
- Data notifications
- Highlight and filter data
- Create “no-code” data queries
- Translate queries to visualizations
- Automatic updates
Benefits of Tableau
Some of the core benefits of Tableau are as follows:
- Breathtaking visualizations that inspire anyone to see and understand more.
- Allows for a higher number of insights because the user can easily analyze data without any definite goal in mind. Data can also be adjusted hypothetically to enable the comparison of scenarios.
- Can be used by users without coding/programming skills especially because it is highly interactive. This also allows the democratization of data which enables people to understand and act faster with transparency based on fact.
- Tableau can be used by individuals or different sized organizations and for a wide variety of needs.
- Tableau can be used with commonly used databases including file-based data sources like MS Excel, OLAP data sources like BW and Microsoft Analysis Services, Cloud-based data sources like Google Analytics, Relational database data sources like SQL Server, and Teradata, or with a Web Data Connector or web services as a source.
- Tableau has a large community that you can learn from, troubleshoot or discuss any related topics with.
How to learn Tableau and become a Tableau Developer
Depending on your current position, there are several different paths that you can take to become a Tableau Developer. An example of a path that you could follow is as explained below:
- Start off by learning Tableau from several Tableau learning videos on the Tableau community website. This will allow you to grasp better and soak-in the features and benefits of Tableau. Make use of other resources available for free like the Tableau Knowledge Base.
- Register or pay for a Tableau certification training course to go deeper, better understand Tableau and get a certification. (More on certification below).
- Participate in social data projects like the one offered by the Tableau community in Makeover Monday. This will give you further practical knowledge and understanding of data beyond what is provided in a training course including the different insights that can be generated from different datasets. You will also gain more practice and experience with the different visuals that you can use.
- Once you have gained experience and you feel you are an expert, take a shot at the Workout Wednesday challenges from other Tableau Developers.
- Keep up, learn, ask questions, help others, and interact with other Tableau users in blogs and other forums like:
- Network with other experts in your local area or online in meetups, webinars and such so that you can gain personal connections to become a well-rounded member of the Tableau community.
After your training and after gathering experience, there are several options for how you could gain certification depending on what you are after.
In the Tableau Desktop suite of certifications, some of the certifications that you could pursue depending on your level of understanding include:
- Tableau Desktop Specialist (Fee of $100 with a suggested product experience of 3+ months).
- Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate (Fee of $250, with a recommended product experience of 5+ months.
- Tableau Desktop Certified Professional (Fee of $600, with a recommended product experience of 12+ months).