sqlbelle’s data adventures (Tableau/SQL Server tutorials on YouTube)

It’s been a while since I blogged (life got busy!), and am quite surprised to see that some of the posts I had are still getting traction. I guess some issues still persist – perhaps in slightly different forms, but the way we solve or tackle them remain the same.

Excited to share many things since I last blogged, but one of the biggest ones happened in the last couple of months. With the pandemic I had to switch to teaching exclusively online, and really re-think how I deliver my classes.

I’ve decided to try a new avenue to teach – YouTube! I’ve started my channel – sqlbelle’s data adventures – and hoping this can provide value and/or inspiration to those trying to learn data and technologies like Tableau and SQL Server. It’s been fun, but definitely requires commitment.

Here are some of my videos to date (YouTube: sqlbelle’s data adventures):

Initial focus has been with Tableau, but definitely want to add a lot of SQL Server (and MySQL) in this library.

If you’re not familiar with Tableau yet, you can start with this video to have a general idea how to create charts! This is just the tip of the iceberg.

This shows quick tutorials on creating charts like bar chart, line chart, area chart, scatter plot, pie chart, maps, text tables, heat map, highlight tables and many others.

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

Continue reading

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 –

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.

Continue reading

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:

Continue reading