More reasons why I teach

This is my fuel. This is why I teach. Sure, I won’t please everyone. Not everyone will appreciate or will be happy with the way I teach, but even if there’s one person in the class who thinks the time they spent in my class was worth it – that’s all the reason I need.

(All names removed from cards below)

This is what I got today from a student:

card from studentcard content

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Showing Header for Text Table with Single Measure in Tableau

I had a question from one of my students tonight about how to show the header for text table with a single measure. It’s not super straightforward to do this in Tableau. You can’t simply to go the measure pill and show the header (because it doesn’t have it).

Let’s recreate the default Tableau behavior first, using Superstore Sales.
1. Double click on a dimension, for example, Product Category
2. Double click on a measure, for example, Sales

What you will get is something like this:

default behavior - no header

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Looking for someone to jumpstart your visual analytics project or prototype?

Looking for someone to jumpstart your visual analytics project or prototype?

At BCIT, we have been offering a course on Visual Analytics using Tableau to Part Time Studies students. This course is offered three terms:

  • Winter (January to March/April)
  • Spring (April to June/July)
  • Fall (September to December)

Many students who register for Part Time Studies are working professionals who are taking courses to complete additional certificates/diplomas, or for professional development, or just plain curious.

Students enrolled in the COMP 2256 class learn visual best practices, some data analysis, and visualization using Tableau Desktop. Part of this twelve (12) week course is a term project which requires data analysis and visualization around a topic of their choice. They will need to submit a series of dashboards and a final project report at the end of the term.

The project requires the students to either:

  1. look for a sponsor (could be their employer, a non-profit organization, etc) for their visual analytics project, to be presented to their peers at the end of the term
  2. look for a number of sizable public data sets that they’re interested in, and essentially create dashboards that will support their story

I encourage students to, as much as possible, choose #1. This is as “real world” as it gets. However, looking for a sponsor can become tricky and time consuming for already-working professionals, so I am hoping I can help match up my students to your projects.

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Do you know how DATES work in Tableau? Understanding Continuous vs Discrete Dates

Do you know how dates work in Tableau? It could be tricky, but once you get a handle on it, it can make your Tableau life much simpler.

The first step to understanding dates in Tableau is understanding the concept of discrete and continuous first. These are two very important concepts in Tableau that, if not clearly understood, can definitely cause a lot of confusion (and headaches). It can make you think you’re getting unexpected vizzes or behavior from the application, and that it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do.

A quick Google search lands us the definitions for these two terms:

discrete – individually separate and distinct
continuous – forming an unbroken whole; without interruption

Let’s tie these two terms back to Tableau:

Discrete Continuous
definition: individually separate and distinct definition: forming an unbroken whole; without interruption
blue pill green pill
blue pill green pill
gives you headers gives you axes

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Data Sets for BI/Analytics/Visualization Projects

Just wanted to compile a list of datasets, or sources of datasets, that can be used for BI/Analytics/Visualization projects and explorations (not limited or specific to any tools). These come in different formats, and some may need to be cleaned up. Please do read the restrictions and EULAs that come with each of the links/sources.

This is a work in progress. I  am still updating this post, and will most likely re-arrange or re-categorize the links as I stumble across other data sets.

If you have any that you can share, I would love to add those to this list (and mention you shared it!) – please leave a comment below and I will add them to the list!

Last Updated : February 01, 2015

Canadian Data

US Data

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Teaching Tableau? Learning Tableau? Here are some ideas.

I teach a few courses at BCIT and Tableau is one of them. We have created and, so far, successfully run our Tableau Course for the last 5 terms. We started out by making it a 6-week, 1.5 credit course. However students provided us feedback and many of them suggested it felt rushed and would prefer a longer duration, so in the recent terms we’ve decided to make it a full-blown 12-week, 6 credit course. This course is fast becoming one of our popular courses, catering 15-20 students per section. Next term we are running two sections. We may look at running more in the future, if the demand keeps up.

The students taking this course have also come from a wide range of backgrounds – although many of them are working professionals looking to expand their analytics exposure, or even looking to change careers. We’ve had students with backgrounds in accounting, hotel management, retail, IT, healthcare, banking and finance, insurance, etc.

The two highest points for me in this course are the second and last classes.

Flickr. Photo by Black Zack - Surprise Eggs -   https://www.flickr.com/photos/blackzack00/10205948476
Flickr. Photo by Black Zack – Surprise Eggs –
https://www.flickr.com/photos/blackzack00/10205948476

The second class is when I introduce Tableau to them. The look of amazement in each student when they see and experience Tableau for the first time is priceless. I am sure I can relate; when I first saw Tableau, it was like magic.

In the last class, the students get to do final presentations.

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Tableau Desktop Timesaving Tips

New to Tableau? Or been working with it for a while but find yourself clicking on that back button a little bit too often? Tableau is a great tool for visualization, and it’s easy to use and start playing with. However, it also comes with a few quirks that might catch you offguard. The good thing is, the Tableau community is flourishing. It is easier to find help now than it was a few years ago. There are also already a few books out if you wanted to immerse yourself in Tableau (besides working with the tool and reading the online help).

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading 5 things I wish I knew about Tableau when I started by The Information Lab.

Here are a few more tricks you can use to save yourself some time when working with Tableau:

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Tableau Certified Professionals getting some love at #TC14

Before the day even started, I was greeted with an email that starts with:

Welcome to the Tableau Conference, we are thrilled to have you.  You are part of an elite bunch!  Of the 5200 customers in attendance, you are one of 30 Tableau Certified Professionals.

Needless to say, I already felt awesome even before the conference kicked off. Here’s what was waiting for us.

A wall in the data lounge listing the 30 Tableau Certified Professionals who are attending the conference:

Tableau Certified Professionals - Wall

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