Oftentimes, people ask me how they can learn Tableau. As someone who now uses Tableau almost every day in my current profession, and someone who has really had to ramp up my Tableau data analysis skills in the last year, this is good timing. I can tell you exactly how to teach yourself Tableau.
If you’re not familiar with Tableau, it’s one of the best data visualization tools that allows you to connect data sources and start understanding your data, or seeing trends, very quickly.
Tableau experience is highly sought after in the workplace today. Whether you are an aspiring data scientist, business analyst, business intelligence analyst, or your simply interested in learning more about data analytics, Tableau is the tool for you.
If you’ve never seen Tableau before, here is what it looks like, and here is an example visualization that you could create with data:
If you’re interested in learning Tableau or improving your Tableau skills, you should know that for the most part, it is pretty straightforward and intuitive. You don’t need to have prior experience!
Like anything, there are features that can get pretty complex pretty quickly, even for the most qualified data analysts. However, you can absolutely create informative and meaningful charts from data with only a basic understanding of how Tableau works.
Tableau is very much a “plug and play” kind of software, meaning that you can drag and drop data and information to quickly build bar charts and graphs. Having coding experience is not required for you to learn Tableau.
If anything, Microsoft Excel or Google Sheet experience will help, but you certainly don’t need to be an expert with those either. You also don’t need a Tableau certification in order to make the most of Tableau.
This blog post is all about the various resources I have used to learn Tableau for my profession over the last year, and where you can go to teach yourself Tableau, too.
This post will help you find the best free resource for you to learn Tableau and apply your data visualization skills.
This post is all about 6 resources where you can teach yourself tableau (free and paid options).
1. Tableau Public – Free
Tableau does cost money to use, but lucky for us there is a free version of Tableau software called “Tableau Public” that can be accessed by anyone.
Tableau Public is great because it offers you the chance to get hands-on Tableau training.
The only catch to using Tableau Public is that whatever you create will be viewable by anyone (i.e. the “public”!).
To learn more about Tableau Public, visit this link: https://www.tableau.com/products/public
Tableau Public is great because you can upload your own data sources (I primarily used an excel spreadsheet of my own data when I first started using it) and you can create graphs and visual analytics right away.
If you don’t have your own data that you want to use, you can use free data sources that you find on the internet.
There are thousands of other people using Tableau Public at any given time, too, so inspiration is just a click away. There’s an amazing bevy of dashboards here so you can see how other people have displayed their data or designed their charts and visuals.
It’s a great learning resource to see more creative ways of doing things in Tableau.
If the data you’re using isn’t sensitive or private, and you’re looking for a free way to experience Tableau and practice with it, then Tableau Public is an awesome tool to start learning how to use Tableau and to take your skills to the next level.
2. Tableau Desktop – Free & Paid
If you want to try the official version of Tableau, then Tableau Desktop is what you’re looking for. This will give you the full-fledged, hands-on experience without you having to share with the public everything that you create.
You do have to pay for Tableau Desktop, but there’s good news if you don’t have any money to spare!
Free 1 Year License for Students & Teachers
This is one of the best resources for students and teachers. If you are a student or a teacher, you can get a free, 1-year license to Tableau Desktop. Here’s the link to see if you qualify for that: https://www.tableau.com/community/academic
14 Day Free Trial
If you aren’t a student or a teacher, but you still want to experience Tableau Desktop for free, there is a 14-day trial of Tableau Desktop. You can find that trial here: https://www.tableau.com/products/desktop/download
3. YouTube – Free
At this point, you should have access to some form of Tableau, whether you are using Tableau Public or Tableau Desktop.
A great tool that I used when I was first learning Tableau was YouTube. There were a plethora of full-length Tableau courses that you can access (for free!) where people will walk you through Tableau tips and Tableau basics.
After a really quick search on YouTube, I came across this video that’ll show you how to upload a data source and create a visualization by pulling in data from a data source.
This is a great video to learn the basics of Tableau: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEgVto5QME8
I use YouTube ALL THE TIME if I need to figure something out in Tableau for my job. If I can’t figure it out myself, the Internet (and primarily, YouTube) is the first place I will turn.
The chances that someone else has run into my same roadblock and has already created a video detailing how to get through it are very high!
If you want to up your skill level, YouTube is a great resource. No matter if you are just starting out with Tableau or you are more experienced – there are helpful videos on YouTube for any level of Tableau user.
4. LinkedIn Learning – Free & Paid
For some of the best online courses to learn Tableau, you should check out LinkedIn Learning.
LinkedIn Learning is a paid (and amazing!) resource with over 16,000 videos conducted by industry professionals on all sorts of business-related topics.
There are tons of videos that will show you the best practices for Tableau, how to use the analytics tools within Tableau, the fundamentals of visualization (like basic design principles), and much more.
1 Month Free Trial
If you don’t have access to LinkedIn Learning, they do offer a 1 month free trial. You can learn more about that offer here: 1 Month Free Trial – LinkedIn Learning
If you are able to access LinkedIn Learning, I particularly enjoyed this Tableau Essential Training course led by Curt Frye:
This course covers how to connect to a data source, how to join multiple data sources, how to calculate averages, medians, maximums, and so much more.
Simply search for “Tableau Essential Training Curt Frye” on LinkedIn Learning and it should pop up.
I thought that this course was very well-paced and easy to follow, especially for a beginner.
5. Flerlage Twins – Free
If you have a little more experience with Tableau and you really want to maximize your skillset, you should visit the Flerlage Twins blog.
The Flerlage Twins are brothers who have an entire blog dedicated to Tableau and all the fun and awesome things you can build and do with the tool.
Whenever I am stumped and need to turn to the internet for help with my Tableau visualizations, I often find that the Flerlage Twins’ blog has blog posts or a Tableau tutorial dedicated to what I need help with.
If nothing else, keep this blog in your back pocket in case you need some assistance with creating your visualizations!
6. Tableau Courses – Free & Paid
If you have a little more time and money to spare, Tableau themselves also offer their own courses. This may be the best Tableau resource. After all, who better to learn Tableau from than the very people who created it?
On the Tableau website, you can also find free training videos. They are limited, but they do exist, and may be worth your while if you are looking for as much free content on Tableau that you can find.
Here’s the link to those free training videos on the Tableau website: https://www.tableau.com/learn/training/20221
Tableau also offers very legitimate training courses for their software as well which you can also find on their website. These training programs are a little more pricey (over $1,000 per person) but I can attest that these courses are very good.
I was fortunate enough to take their “Desktop I: Fundamentals” course as well as their “Desktop II: Intermediate” course through my employer.
These courses were led by an instructor, and they absolutely helped speed up my learning with Tableau and helped me sharpen and practice my skills.
If you’re interested in these instructor-led courses, you can find more information here: https://www.tableau.com/learn/classroom/course-catalog
Bonus Resource – The Tableau Community
If you need help while you are learning Tableau, you can always turn to the Tableau community for help. Here, people from all over the world share their problems, solutions, top tips, and love for Tableau.
This forum is free for anyone to check out, and has helped me numerous times.
Here is a link to the Table Community forums.
My Personal Recommendation
If you don’t have money to spend on the Tableau software itself, I recommend using Tableau Public or getting the free, 14-day trial of Tableau Desktop to start getting a feel for the software.
As for training, I would look up videos on YouTube (and watch the one I listed in this blog post above) as well as get the free, 1 month trial of LinkedIn Learning to watch the course created by Curt Frye.
A combination of watching these free training videos, as well as applying what you’ve learned and trying out the tool itself, will have you learning how to use Tableau in no time!
This post is all about 6 resources where you can teach yourself tableau (free and paid options).
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