i had a few 'aha' moments beyond the initial faffing around: Joe Mako and Richard Leeke's posts were probably the most inspiring for me.
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In addition to what Shawn said, here are ways I intentionally practiced:
- Find a viz you like on Tableau Public, an answered forum question or a blog post, then download the workbook, take it apart and put it back together.
- Find a viz you like on Tableau Public, an answered forum question or a blog post, then try to create a solution yourself w/out peeking at the answer. If you get to one, or get stuck, then still have the original to look at.
- Find an unanswered forum question, try to create a solution yourself, wait to see an answer.
- Start answering forum questions yourself.
I did buy the Kindle edition of Rapid Graphs with Tableau (it has color images, unlike the print edition) and found that to be useful at helping frame aspects of Tableau that weren't covered so well in the docs. I haven't looked at any of the more recent manuals.
I also copied intersting posts and links and took a ton of notes, I threw them together in a wiki at http://drawingwithnumbers.artisart.org/wiki/tableau. Additional resources are the The specified item was not found. and the TabWiki.
Bullet points 1-4 of what Shawn posted. Simply creating reports as requested and doing doing doing (a.k.a. PRACTICE)!
Attached is a training workbook that I put together while working at Tableau. It is a compilation of Tableau training resources that will get you from basics to advanced.
TrainingResources.twbx.zip 117.2 KB
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This isn't how I learned about Tableau, but it *really* helped me understand visualization.
Produced by Edward Tufte, "Teaching to see"
I'm also impressed by Stephen Few's "Information Dashboard Design".
Excellent Allan. Thx.
Hi Jen - I'm new here so it could be that I'm not seeing the download link. That training workbook you mention sounds like a tremendous help to those of us who are new to Tableau - would you mind reposting it? Thanks in advance!
Link was not visible from summary view on front page of community site, but was when I clicked through to this thread. Sorry!
Go to work for them! (I think I deserve "Correct Answer" on this response)
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A few other reflections in the summer of 2014 (while I'm preparing a presentation on getting good at Tableau for the Maine Tableau User Group in a couple of weeks):
Pick one or two areas of Tableau to learn at time, there are many: visualization design, dashboard interactivity (i.e. Filter Actions, etc.), calculations, mapping, shaping data (which often gets into SQL), performance for different data sources, working with really massive data sets, how to evangelize and build Tableau expertise in your company, administering Tableau Server, hacking Tableau's XML code, hacking Tableau Server, using the JS API, working with specific vertical industries and even sub-divisions of those, etc. There's a fabulous thread on learning Tableau and finding your niche at http://wannabeawesomeme.weebly.com/viz-a-viz/identity-crisis.
Another set of video options besides the online training are the videos from the Tableau Conferences, there are hours and hours of video out there from a number of the conferences.
My own opinion is that the two best Tableau-specific books out there right now are murraydan885 (Daniel Murrary)'s Tableau Your Data and the Tableau manual, though I haven't read benjones0 (Ben Jones)'s book yet, I expect that will be excellent.
Learning data visualization is like learning how to communicate in a different language. As adult learners, we have to do more practicing of a new language in order to retain it, so try to embed some use of Tableau into your daily life. Maybe it's doing some analysis of your daughter's gymnastics team scores (yep, I did that), reading a Tableau blog every day, running the local office sports pool, carving out time to build new dashboards, etc.
Making connections and being active in the Tableau community (local user groups, the Tableau forums, Twitter, http://tableautalk.com/, etc.) can help you over the humps in Tableau learning because you'll know who you can go to for help.
Andy Kriebel recently spoke at the Atlanta Tableau User Group and talked about a common Tableau learning curve: We start with Tableau, after a few months we feel like we're doing pretty well, and then something happens (like diving into table calcs, or mapping, trying to improve our design skills, etc.) and we feel like we hardly know anything, and then we start climbing that curve again.
Also know that this path is a neverending one, because the variety of data and problems that Tableau is applied to is enormous and always expanding (never mind that Tableau regularly ships new releases with new features). To make a binary distinction, I think there are two kinds of Tableau "experts". There are the ones who call themselves experts and are consciously or unconsciously ignorant of how much they don't know, and the ones who will own up to knowing a lot about some areas of Tableau and then insert various caveats about what they don't know and what they are learning. One of the things that makes the Tableau community great is the vast majority of helpers fall into that latter group - however much we know, we're wanting and willing and ready to learn more, even if that means we have to challenge our assumptions and rethink what we thought we knew.
Great insight Jonathan.
You have touched all the dimensions of the topic in an amazing way.
After reading your article, I realize there is a pool of resources to hone our skills in Tableau.
And as mentioned by you, keep learning & keep contributing to the community.
A little bit of everything. Some books, videos, classroom etc... But mostly through practice, experimentation and working with other Tableau enthusiasts!