The world runs on big data. Nearly every innovative technology that has come up in the recent is pegged on big data. The International Data Corporation projected that by 2020, the world will have generated 50 times the volume of data it generated in the past decade. It is this data that businesses analyze to draw insights that will drive their objectives.
However, without a tool with the capacity to handle such humongous volumes of data, skillful professionals to develop and operate this tool, and a Tableau online course where professionals can learn and become experts, a business may not get much from the rich data it collects and stores. This is where Tableau comes in handy. Tableau is not only a data visualization tool but also an appropriate tool for mining, cleaning, and analyzing data, as well as performing calculations and drawing statistics.
Tableau is a data analysis and visualization tool used to transform raw data into an easily understandable and interactive format from which useful insights can be drawn. This tool is popular in the Business Intelligence field where large volumes of data extracted from sources like relational databases, OLAP cubes, ORACLE databases, spreadsheets, flat files, and cloud databases are used.
In Tableau, data is analyzed on dashboards and worksheets where any individual in the organization who needs it can access it. By far the greatest advantage that Tableau offers is its non-technical nature. This opens it for use by all professionals.
Tableau package consist of 6 products:
- Tableau Desktop. This app supports Windows and Mac operating systems and comes with an interactive dashboard. Tableau desktop is mostly used for data visualization.
- Tableau Prep. The prep builder and conductor applications’ sole function is self-service data preparation.
- Tableau Server. It is a sharing and collaboration system that let’s teams in the organization access dashboards. Tableau Server is compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems.
- Tableau Online. This application is in the form of a hosted server that is hosted in the cloud for easy access by the team from anywhere.
- Tableau Reader. This free software lets users access view-only workbooks and visualizations that have been created on Tableau desktop applications.
- Tableau Public. This is free to use software that anyone can use to create interactive data visualizations like graphs, maps, and charts from their spreadsheets or files and publish them on the web.
How Tableau works
- Once installed, Tableau connects to data from different databases using the data connectors available for the specific Tableau version purchased. Connectors are available to connect live to databases or extract data into Tableau Desktop for analysis.
- A professional data analyst or data engineer then uses the raw data to create interactive visualizations from which insight is drawn and useful hidden business patterns discovered.
- These dashboards are then shared with users in the form of a static file. Users with the Tableau reader can then view the files.
- Data analysts have the option of publishing data that was extracted on the desktop on the Tableau server which comes with features that enable users to access this data from different locations including desktop, mobile devices, or from cloud services like email.
Why has Tableau maintained popularity?
Gartner Research has named Tableau a leader in BI and data visualization space 8 times in a row up to 2020, in its Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligent Platforms study. This was based on its ‘ability to execute’ and ‘completeness of vision’. Tableau is a robust data visualization tool that can handle large volumes of data from several sources easily and effectively.
Tableau Comes with the following benefits for its users
- It is used for forecasting using the exponential smoothing technique
- It is used for storytelling
- It is used to create quick interactive visualizations
- It allows real-time interaction with data
- It comes with data connectors that can pull API from the web to connect to any data source
- It is easy-to-use. It focuses on natural language processing and machine learning rather than the often complicated programming languages.
The Tableau Developer
A Tableau developer is a professional who is skilled at creating technical business solutions through data visualization to optimize business processes. Using different types of data, he creates the required BI dashboards and draws reports to present as recommendations that will form the basis of improving business processes.
Roles of a Tableau developer
- Based on the source of data, a tableau developer formats, cleans, and creates the required visuals from data sets.
- Develop tools for data preservation through a process known as online analytical processing.
- Queries databases and performs tests to draw insight and recommends on the actions to be taken to improve business processes.
- Generates Tableau dashboard reports and visualizations to share with others in the team
- Participate in feedback sessions for system improvement.
- Acts as administrator for Tableau server.
- Builds in features like forecasting and storytelling in the software as required by users.
- Comes up with technical documentation that would be used by seniors and stakeholders to draw insight and as reference for the future
How to become a Tableau Developer
There is a high demand for Tableau developers in the BI industry. Tableau is an invaluable skill for those pursuing a career in data science or data engineer careers. It is also a career in itself. By May 2019, a Tableau developer attracted an average annual pay of $108,697 and this figure keeps increasing by the day.
Do you possess the right skills?
As a Tableau developer, it is important to possess the following soft and technical skills. Evaluate yourself to see how best you can fit in this career while also identifying areas that need improvement.
- Excel, mathematics, and statistics
- Data warehousing and architecture
- Data visualization
- Data sets, data blending, data partition, and data query languages
- Life cycle application development
- System software knowledge
- Storytelling and forecasting
- team -player
- Oral and written communication skills
- Attention to detail
The right education qualification?
Even though this is not strictly a requirement, a Tableau developer is better placed coming from a computer science or business-related educational background.
Tableau Developer without a formal education qualification
The right educational qualification certainly puts you a step ahead if you have opted to pursue a career in Tableau development. Without the educational qualifications, the other way around it is through self-learning.
The Tableau website has free tutorials and training videos that one can take advantage of. Familiarize yourself with data sets and download workbooks both of which are available in Tableau Public, learn formulas and advanced calculations, try to draw insights, spot patterns, and forecast, and also learn how to create visualizations. Publishing your visualizations on Tableau public gallery will help you compare with experts as you increase your knowledge.
Register for an online course
Taking a training course in Tableau is a good way of acquiring knowledge in a structured way. Online courses are typically self-paced and quite flexible. They feature a comprehensive syllabus that equips learners with theoretical knowledge, real-time industry practice, revision tests, and other means of support and is often recommended by experts more than a pure self-learning approach.
Alongside structured learning comes after clearing Tableau certification exam. To acquire a Tableau certification you first need to
- Have a Tableau Associate qualification
- 5 months of proven experience handling Tableau tasks or projects
- Undertake training
Some Tableau certifications you can pursue include
- Tableau Desktop Certification
- Tableau Server Certification
Join the community
Tableau has an amazing community consisting of data engineers, data scientists, IT developers, data analysts, project managers, and other professionals where you can get help, ask questions, and learn from Tableau experts in the field. Other communities like Reddit Tableau Community are also quite resourceful.
As long as technology will keep evolving, there is no end to learning new skills. The starting point, however, is enrolling for a course in Tableau. Once you earn a certification, keep interacting with other like-minded professionals and experts in the field while you build your experience.