Learning through doing – Picking yourself back up in Tableau

I must be honest with myself after turning 21 last week, I had a bad week, full of overthinking and making silly mistakes and being unsuccessful with The Data School 6 application. It would have been very easy to put two months of Tableau learning aside and forget about it, but its made me more motivated to compile a portfolio in which employers could employ me for my Tableau skills.

It’s okay to find an alternative path to achieving your Tableau job

To be honest, being unsuccessful for The Data School 6 did make me very sad. However, I told myself “It’s okay to be unsuccessful Umar, not everyone gets it right first time” and it helped me loads in my Tableau development. Two months of learning won’t get wasted unless you don’t put the time and hours into developing your craft every single day, which is what I do with Tableau. Have a goal for the week and stick to it.

I stumbled across this excellent piece from one of my great Tableau friends in Eva Murray (@TriMyData) in which she talks about the ways in which you can get a job in Tableau. Reading this article, it immediately struck my mind that there are alternative ways (not just The DS) of getting a job through Tableau, which put my mind at ease to the possibilities of having a Tableau job that I will love in the near future.

Attitude is everything

I cannot stress to you how much attitude plays in terms of learning Tableau from the word go. From the very first day, I have been so keen to learn from the Tableau community on social media by asking for advice and guidance and taking it all on-board. If I did not take this approach, I would give up after the first week of using Tableau Public.

From what I’ve heard in the Tableau community on social media, it always pays dividends to be keen and friendly and not overconfident. Overconfidence leads to arrogance and no-one likes an arrogant person! I’ve found its better to be level-headed about what I’ve achieved in Tableau to the point where I’m ready to develop and gain more skills in Tableau.

Help each other out, it’s good to talk!

This is becoming more recent in my Tableau development as I grow in confidence as I’m starting to help others become confident in Tableau. As I’m using the software as part of my final year project, it has become my go-to-software for developing data visualisations, which has meant some demand for people to learn Tableau.

I must admit, there was no demand to learn Tableau on my course as it was more or less a hobby, but as I found someone who was totally engaged and shared my values and ethos, she has become one of my students in Tableau. It comes to show if you’re willing to talk to people about something you’ve learned, the demand will be there.

Finally, always learn from your past vizzes……

I always think this is an excellent practice for Tableau, but learning from your past vizzes and improving your design and storytelling skills will definitely help you in the long run by critically giving you self-feedback on where you think you need to work on for future vizzes.


For example, with this Arsenal v. Chelsea viz, it took me three attempts to get it right and that was through constant self-feedback and the Tableau community on social media, advising me on what I needed to improve on to make the viz look even better than the first version. If you learn something from your past vizzes or pick some new practices up, it’ll pay off long-term when it comes to creating newer, more dynamic vizzes.

Hopefully, it has given you some insight into how I’ve picked myself up on Tableau after being unsuccessful with a job application. I still think for what I’ve achieved in two months of learning Tableau has been incredible stuff and I cannot thank everyone enough for making my journey awesome. I still have more to learn as time goes on, but its a journey I have enjoyed so far.

If you haven’t checked out my latest Makeover Monday entry this week, its worth viewing as it’s about Andy Kriebel’s (the other half of Makeover Monday) 2016 spending habits with American Express. I’ve kept it super simple with a bar chart, which was inspired by Eva Murray’s earlier entry, which laid the foundations for this viz.


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