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.
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 discreteand continuousfirst. 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:
definition: individually separate and distinct
definition: forming an unbroken whole; without interruption
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.
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.
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).
The company I work for is evaluating tools for BI/Visualization, and Tableau is one of the front runners that we are considering.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to attend this week’s Advanced Tableau training in Vancouver. Our trainer is one of the Tableau Jedis, Interworks’ Director of Business Intelligence (BI) Dan Murray, and boy does he know how to impress.
At first, because of budget constraints, I was contemplating on whether I should just watch the videos – since Tableau has graciously published a number of them allowing anyone to learn the product. But I’ve always thought that there’s always something to learn from in class training – especially if you get an awesome instructor. And I am fortunate – and very thankful – I did get an awesome instructor. I cannot believe how much he packed in two (2) days of training. Don’t get me wrong, my brain was full after two days – but even after the class ended I just wanted to keep on going and try out more Tableau stuff.