How to Learn Tableau

If you are a data analyst or just considering getting into the field, chances are you have at least heard about Tableau. The tool is helpful to deal with huge amounts of data and present it in a visually appealing way. But do you really need to learn Tableau and how difficult it is to do get on some level?

In this article, you will find answers to these questions and will understand how to learn Tableau easier.

What is Tableau and why you need to learn it

Tableau is a powerful data visualization and business intelligence tool that enables organizations to analyze, understand and communicate their data. It is widely used by data analysts, business analysts, and data scientists to create interactive dashboards, charts, and reports that help organizations make informed decisions. The tools is used in the business sector as well as in government organizations, and academic institutions to analyze large and complex data sets, discover insights, and make data-driven decisions.

One of the key features of Tableau is its ability to quickly and easily connect to a wide variety of data sources, including spreadsheets, databases, and cloud services. Once the data is connected, users can create interactive dashboards, reports, and visualizations using drag-and-drop functionality.

Tableau also provides a wide range of visualization options, including bar charts, line graphs, scatter plots, heat maps, and more. Users can customize the look and feel of their visualizations, add labels, annotations, and filters, and use advanced analytics tools to explore the data in depth.

Moreover, Tableau is highly flexible, allowing users to create custom calculations, parameters, and filters to meet their specific needs. Additionally, Tableau provides a wide range of options for customizing the appearance of visualizations, including colors, labels, and annotations, making it easy for users to create professional-looking dashboards and reports.

Tableau also has powerful collaboration features, allowing users to share their visualizations and insights with others in their organization. Users can publish their dashboards to Tableau Server or Tableau Online, which enables other users to view and interact with the visualizations in a secure and controlled environment.

How hard it is to learn Tableau

Tableau is considered to be relatively easy to learn, being a drag-and-drop tool that is quite simple and intuitive. You don’t really need to have any deep data-related skills or know a programming language. However, some people find it hard to work with raw data and prepare before analyzing it. This usually includes collecting, combining, structuring, cleaning, and transforming data.

For getting more advanced with Tableau, you’ll need to learn SQL as well. This might take more time but generally is also not as difficult as learning a programming language like Python.

How long does it take to learn Tableau?

As we mentioned, Tableau is quite a simple tool, especially for basic visualizations. If you want to get started with Tableau, you will need about a week to create your first simple dashboards. However, for a more solid understanding of Tableau and dealing with advanced tasks like creating custom calculations, parameters, and filters as well as advanced charting techniques, you will need at least a month of active learning. Finally, to build confident Tableau skills, you will need two to six months.

What is the difference between Tableau and Power BI

Tableau and Power BI are both widely used data visualization tools for analyzing and presenting data. While they share some similarities, there are some key differences between the two:

  • Tableau supports a wider range of data sources, making it a more versatile tool for data integration. Power BI, on the other hand, mainly integrates with Microsoft products like Excel, SharePoint, and Dynamics 365.
  • Tableau has more advanced analytics capabilities, including predictive analytics and statistical modeling. Whereas, Power BI is more focused on business intelligence and data visualization.
  • Tableau has a more intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easier for users to create visualizations without prior technical knowledge.
  • Tableau is generally more expensive than Power BI, with higher licensing fees and implementation costs.

Knowing what Tableau is, how it’s used and what is the difference between Tableau and Power BI, let’s move to the tips itself on how to learn Tableau for beginners.

4 most effective tips to learn Tableau faster

If you are interested in learning Tableau, here are some tips to help you get started.

Understand your motivation behind learning Tableau

Learning a new skill is always a complex task where you will have your ups and downs. It’s often easy to get motivate to start but it’s very hard finish and reach your desired level of expertise. To increase your chances of getting to your goal, you need to have clear motivation and understanding why you need this skill–why you need to learn Tableau. This means that you specific tasks you need to cover using Tableau that you can’t complete without it (or at least cannot do this so effectively). Another reason is that learning Tableau will help you reach promotion and a salary raise, get a better job, or more clients.

Take an online course to get the basics

An online course is often an easy way to built a skeleton of your skill as someone collect all needed topics together and explain them step by step. Tableau is not so popular like Pyhton or SQL but there are still good courses to learn Tableau, both basic and advanced.

One of the best out there is Tableau Fundamentals by DataCamp. It’s a set of 5 courses to learn Tableau from the very basics to case studies. You will learn how to clean, analyze, and visualize data as well as about data connectors. Additionally, the course includes a case study: Analyzing Customer Churn in Tableau. The course is short, it takes about 3 hours to complete. But you’ll need to find more tasks after finishing.

Another good course is Data Visualization with Tableau on Coursera. The course is created in partnership with
University of California, Davis and is intended for newcomers to data visualization with no prior experience using Tableau. Buing also built of 5 single courses, this is much longer course that is estimated to take 6 months to complete with the suggested pace of 3 hours/week. This one goes beyond just Tableau–it walks you though the main skills around data visualization.

Use free sources by Tableau

Tableau Online are free training videos offered by Tableau. They are divided by categories, depending on your role. These videos are short but helpful to get familiar with the Tableau interface and learn the basics of visualization.

Another useful source is Tableau Public where others share their dashboards (“vizzes”) for free. You can find data visualizations on different topics and can try to create the same.

Finally, there is an official Tableau community forum where you can ask any Tableau-related question and get help. This forum is quite active so you have high chances to get help quickly. You just need to sign up first.

The more you practice, the more confident Tableau skills you’ll have

The key to becoming proficient in Tableau is to practice using the tool as much as possible. This means you will complete different tasks using Tableau with the rising difficulty. Create a list of tasks you’d like to complete–look for them on different websites if you don’t have enough ideas. Try to create visualizations using different types of data, and experiment with different types of charts and graphs. Also, the best way to polish the skill, is to use it regurly for your tasks on work or university.

Additionally, you can also explore sample dashboards and templates provided by Tableau to get ideas for your own visualizations.

Bottom line

So, Tableau is a powerful data visualization and business intelligence tool that can help organizations make informed decisions by exploring and communicating their data. By following these tips, you can learn Tableau and become proficient in using this software to create effective and impactful visualizations. Whether you are just starting out or looking to enhance your skills, Tableau provides a flexible and user-friendly platform for exploring and communicating data insights.


How can I learn Tableau by myself?

Yes, you can definitely learn Tableau by yourself using official sources by Tableau, online course, Youtube tutorials, and by practicing a lot.

Is it hard to learn Tableau?

Tableau is a relatively easy-to-learn tool, especially if you need to create simple visualizations. You can learn all the basics in about a month.

What should I learn before Tableau?

Before learning Tableau, you should learn Excel or Spreadsheets and it’s also a good idea to get the basics of data visualization. Additionally, knowing Looker Studio will be helpful.

Is there a way to learn Tableau for free?

Yes, there are a lot of online sources to learn Tableau for free. This includes free training videos offered by Tableau itself, Youtube tutorials, and free online courses.

Can I learn Tableau without SQL?

Yes, you don’t need SQL to learn Tableau, especially on a basic level. However, you might need SQL for more advanced visualization tasks.

Stacey M.
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