Hello Data Rockstars!
My name is Marie and I am a Tableau Senior Tech Support Engineer. I am here to share a few tips for anyone considering taking the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate exam. If you’re not familiar with our certifications, take a look at our Tableau Certification page. Associate is the second level certification which is great to up your skill, advance your career, and show off on your resume.
Why should I take the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate exam?
For the sticker obviously! I did it in part because I like to collect all kinds of badges, I could commit to the most boring task just for the sake of having a cool sticker. But it’s also a great way to up your Tableau skill. While preparing for the exam, you will go through most of the features of Tableau Desktop, build more complex calculations, and truly get comfortable with playing with Desktop.
What’s the exam like?
You stand in front of 3 people who will stare at you for hours in the most judgemental way. Just kidding. It’s a 2-hour proctored exam, which means you are alone in a quiet room with your laptop, and the exam centre provides you with a Virtual Machine where you will have everything you need.
The exam is made of 36 multiple choice questions, most of them analytical (ex: In Superstore, what’s the sum of sales in 2018?), a few about Tableau Desktop features (ex: What rows are retrieved in a left join?). If you have passed the Specialist exam, the experience is quite similar, the questions are just a bit tougher.
You have Tableau Desktop and a few data sources to answer the analytical questions, and the entire Internet to help you!
How do I prepare?
Our free training videos are a great starting point. I recommend the sections on Visual Analytics, Mapping and Calculations.
Once you feel like you got the theory covered, challenge yourself! These challenges are brought to you by one of our former Product Consultants. Levels Beginner and Intermediate will get you to build calculations and fancy charts. Note that building fancy charts is not necessary for the exam, the views you will build are only so you can tick the correct answer. In the context of preparing for the exam, these challenges will be mostly helpful for the calculations, using various functions, table calculations, LODs, etc.
On a side note, the Specialist Exam, while not a pre-requisite to take Associate, is also a nice way to get familiar with the format of the exam.
Any tips for me?
Time is key. 2 hours and 40 questions = 3 minutes per question. This is an average, some questions will take you about 30 seconds, just the time to read it in full, some will have you build calculations that will require more time. You need to balance it so that you don’t get short on time. The exam tool comes with a navigation pane that lets you go back to unanswered questions.
Beware the joins! Joining two data sources? Check the automatic joining field. A join based on an unexpected field will not return any error, but your numbers will never match the answers and will cost you some time.
Read. All. The. Words. Of. The. Question. You don’t want to build a view that addresses the question, only to tick the wrong answer at the last second because you missed one detail. Try to quickly identify key words: Dimension/Measure names, Filters and Aggregations
- What is the sum of profit in 2017 for Furniture?
Getting to a third level nested LOD and still not getting to the desired result, you might be missing on a Tableau built-in feature (I’m looking at you, trend line description and reference bands…). Look it up!
Remember this is an open book exam, don’t stay stuck on a question that could be answered with a quick Internet search.
I am ready!
Register here and go take the exam!
I passed, what’s next?
Yay! You are now a Tableau Desktop Certified Associate! Next on your itinerary is becoming Certified Professional, but that’s a story for another post.