What have I learned on my first month using Tableau?

The dawn of a new year beckons as 2016 becomes 2017 and already this year feels a lot quicker than last year. But there was a goal that I wanted to accomplish and that was to learn Tableau. On the first day of 2017, I jumped into the unknown and I have not looked back since then.

When I came to Birmingham City University to do my BA (Hons) – Media and Communciation (Journalism) two and a half years ago, I wanted to come out of university doing something in sports journalism. Two and a half years later and I’m still preparing for The Information Lab’s Data School 6 application which I’ll be working on next week. It feels surreal how my career options have changed so quickly, but I have no regrets about it because life’s too short for regrets.

Anyway, onto the fun stuff with Tableau. On New Year’s Day, I started to take the plunge and start using Tableau as a way of creating richer, more powerful data visualisations. At first, I found it quite confusing to use the software to create the visualisations. But, with a lot of watching video tutorials most days of the week, it really opened my eyes to the styles of visualisations I could create in Tableau compared with most data visualisation software in the market.

While I could not create a lollipop or waffle chart in my first few weeks on Tableau as I mainly stuck to the traditional vizzes of bar charts and line graphs, the latter end of January saw me achieve my goals of creating lollipop and waffle charts with considerable success. I’m still unlocking more secrets of using Tableau to make more creative vizzes through the weekly social data project MakeoverMonday, which is run by the Head Coach of The Information Lab’s Data School Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray. Whilst my first three weeks have seen me try new things with Tableau, I’m still hungry and motivated to make my Makeover Monday entries look better than my earlier entries.

Have a look at my Week 3 entry for Makeover Monday about employment growth within G7 countries here using the waffle chart template from Andy Kriebel’s blog VizWiz.

mm-w3-g7-eg-revised

Whilst I have a lot to learn about Tableau, I’m starting to find my feet within the Tableau community, which has been so beneficial for my confidence. I cannot believe the amount of stuff I’ve learned so far and I’m not done yet. I’m also going to hopefully attend the Birmingham UK Tableau User Group, which is run by Rebecca Abrahams, who also has her own blog called Vizalicious, which is worth a read if you ever come across it.

I do not have any bad thoughts learning Tableau so far and I’m really excited for what the future brings with Tableau for employment opportunities. I’m still learning more about what I can do with the software as I’m training a BCU Journalism student about it. It just shows if you can take the plunge with something and show a passion for it, the opportunities that open up are endless!

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