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How to Learn Tableau (step-by-step) in 2023

Start learning Tableau with DataCamp online and discover how this powerful business intelligence software can help you get ahead.

Tableau is a data visualization tool that takes data and presents it in a user-friendly format of charts and graphs. The best part about learning it—there is no code writing required. This means you can start learning Tableau with no previous experience.

With DataCamp's unique interactive learning model, learning Tableau is simple, straightforward, and can fit around any schedule. 

What’s in this Guide?

Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool. When mastered, you’ll be able to build something beautiful and interactive from raw data—this guide will help you get to this point.

We’ll share resources, guides, and pitfalls to avoid that will help you on your Tableau journey. We’ll also address the basic principles needed to upskill, and how to get started on real-life Tableau projects faster.

If you want to stop scrolling and start learning straight away, jump into our interactive Tableau Fundamentals track, which will get you from a complete beginner to applying Tableau skills for your own analyses in just 24 hours of study. 

Why Should I Learn Tableau?

Think of Tableau as your secret weapon. Once you learn it, you can easily surface critical information to stakeholders in a visually compelling format. That will make you a rockstar in any organization. 

There are several reasons why companies like Verizon, Experian, Netflix, and Ferrari leverage Tableau to transform their data into actionable intelligence. Tableau connects with nearly every sort of database. Its "live visual analytics" produces actionable results in incredibly user-friendly maps and charts. 

Tableau is for decision-makers who want to see before they act. Seamless to share, an expert at blending multiple data sources, and provides live visual analytics via charts, graphs, and maps. Unlike many BI tools, Tableau works with data from multiple sources, including in-house, cloud, and data warehouses. 

Where Do New Learners Struggle?

Even though most consider Tableau to be a relatively easy-to-learn tool, there are some challenging aspects involved with learning:

It can be difficult for those who do not have a background working with data to understand how data works. If you are new to handling raw data, you may consider exploring introductory content explaining basic data principles to get you up to speed. DataCamp offers a brilliant data fundamentals track, Understanding Data Topics, which will give you the skills you need to confidently interpret data and incorporate it into your daily life and only takes 10 hours.

Many Tableau users find data preparation a challenging part. This process involves collecting, combining, structuring, cleaning, and transforming raw data to get it ready to be processed and analyzed. To master this process quickly, check out our free Connecting Data in Tableau where you’ll learn to connect Tableau to different data sources and prepare the data for a smooth analysis.

How to Learn Tableau—Especially for First-Time Learners

Like all data science, the best way to learn Tableau is by doing. 

Across a series of interactive, hands-on courses and tracks for all levels, DatCamp’s learning provides structure and clarity to harnessing one of the world’s most powerful business intelligence tools.

If you’re looking to not just learn Tableau, but you want to start applying your skills for your analysis—to move up in your career or just advance your practical data skills—our Tableau Fundamentals track provides a structured pathway to learning Tableau with absolutely no experience required.

Through hands-on exercises, you'll learn how to organize and analyze data, create presentation-ready visualizations, build insightful dashboards, and apply analytics to worksheets. By the end of the track, you'll be ready to pass Tableau’s Desktop Specialist certification and start applying your Tableau skills for your analyses.

Apart from a clear starting point and structured learning path, we’ve identified key steps that have consistently separated those who stick with Tableau, and those who fall off.

1. Identify What Motivates You

Learning any new skill is daunting, especially if you think ‘education’ is behind you. But, with the demand for data skills in business rising and learning data science more accessible than ever before, upskilling in tools such as Tableau has never been easier to fit around your schedule.

For many, the motivation to learn a Business Intelligence tool is driven by career aspirations

  • Tableau skills will give you an instant edge. Most enterprises deal with a massive volume of data generated daily. To analyze and process this data, they use Tableau—allowing those with Tableau skills to easily structure and examine their data, analyze it, and convert it into valuable information.
  • 83% of CEOs expect their workforce to be data-driven (–IDC, 2021), Tableau’s a great place to start.
  • Extensive job opportunities. There are a variety of jobs from which you can choose, such as Tableau Developer, Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Business Analyst, Software Engineer, and many more.

2. Further Reading

Before taking the plunge into courses, gaining a complete picture of what Tableau is and when it’s used gives context to your learning. DataCamp’s blogs are regularly updated by data’s brightest minds, jump into a curation of easy-Tableau articles to kick off your journey: 

What Can You Do With Tableau—How did Tableau transform spreadsheet-making from a daunting task that people avoided to a popular job that is enjoyable and interactive? Explore the potential uses of this versatile tool and kickstart your journey to Tableau mastery.

What is Tableau: The Complete Guide to Tableau—Discover this dynamic business intelligence tool, including how it was created, what it can do, and how learning to use it can take your career to the next level.

3. Master the Basics—Quickly

The good news is, anyone can pick up Tableau quickly. With interactive learning, you’ll gain a solid understanding of what Tableau is all about in just a few courses of study.

Here is a selection of great intro courses to get you started:

  • Introduction to Tableau—Across 6 hours of hands-on exercises, learn how to navigate Tableau’s interface and connect and present data using easy-to-understand visualizations. By the end of this training, you’ll have the skills you need to confidently explore Tableau and build impactful data dashboards. 
  • Analyzing Data in Tableau—Start to elevate your Tableau skills with advanced analytics and visualizations.
  • Creating Dashboards in Tableau—Dashboards are a must-have in a data-driven world. Learn how you can impact business performance with Tableau dashboards.

4. Start Applying Your Skills

Interactive learning is one thing, applying your skills to real-world situations is another. Once you start connecting your new skills to actual scenarios, you’ll be flying.

5. Keep Working on Harder (and Harder) Projects

As you find success with more independent projects, keep increasing the difficulty and scope of your projects. Improving in Tableau is a process, and momentum is key to getting through it. 

Some great courses and resources to challenge yourself and elevate your skills: 

  • Statistical Techniques in Tableau—Take your reporting skills to the next level with Tableau’s built-in statistical functions. Working with real-world datasets, you’ll also use machine learning techniques such as clustering and forecasting. 
  • Tableau Data Blending Tutorial—A comprehensive overview of data blending using Tableau, a crucial skill for Data Scientists and Data Analysts.
  • How to Concatenate in Tableau Tutorial—Learn to concatenate multiple strings and non-string fields with this visual guide.

Learn Tableau with DataCamp

DataCamp is home to the most comprehensive data-science curriculum on the internet. We’ve helped millions of learners upskill in tools such as Tableau to advance their careers and future-proof their skills and stay relevant in an ever-changing work environment.  

Our short tutorials are combined with practical, hands-on exercises and will provide you with the Tableau skills you need in the real world.

Our portfolio of Tableau courses and skills tracks are delivered by our own in-house data experts—professionals who work in academia, industry, and governments around the world. Whether your goal is learning some Tableau basics or becoming a certified Tableau Desktop Specialist, you’ll find everything you need to master this in-demand and powerful tool.

Start learning today for free.

Common Tableau Questions

Is it hard to learn Tableau?

Tableau is easy to learn for anyone prepared to dedicate the time. You don't need any technical knowledge to learn Tableau and interactive learning courses will slowly build you up bit by bit. 

Can you learn Tableau from scratch?

Absolutely. Mastering Tableau required previous experience or coding knowledge. 

If you’re looking to learn from scratch, look no further than our Tableau Fundamentals track. You’ll go from zero to applying Tableau skills for your own analyses in just 24 hours of study. 

Can you learn Tableau for Free?

It depends. You can certainly master the basics and access several free resources, articles, and tutorials which are all excellent tools to expand your knowledge of the BI tool.

Many of our introductory courses are free, such as Introduction to Tableau, Analyzing Data in Tableau, and Creating Dashboards in Tableau

However, if you’re serious about learning Tableau and want to complete the full track with a certification at the end—such as Data Analyst for Tableau—you’ll need a subscription, which starts at just $25 a month.

How can I learn Tableau faster?

The most effective way to learn is through interactive courses. If you’re looking for a structured path to master Tableau and start using it in your career, follow our Data Analyst for Tableau.

The track comprises of nine courses and will take approximately 42 hours. In this, you’ll learn how to master Tableau for data analysis, developing your skills and knowledge to apply your skills in real work scenarios. Once completed, you'll have most of the skills and knowledge required to pass Tableau’s Data Analyst certification, and you’ll have the confidence to use Tableau for your own data analyses.

If you can dedicate the time, you can begin to use Tableau confidently after a few weeks.

Do you need a Tableau certification to find work?

Not necessarily, but it does help. Our certification program is ranked our ranked #1 by Forbes’ within the industry. They help you stand out to employers by verifying your skills with a reputable source.

Discover more in our certification hub.

Who Can Use Tableau (and do I need a subscription)?

Tableau offers features to assist every industry, from tech to sports to fashion and everything in between. Additionally, the BI tool empowers decision-makers in for-profit sectors, nonprofits, and governmental agencies. 

Tableau offers three subscription levels, which are affordable to all-size companies, even sole proprietors.

Tableau Creator – $70 per user per month (note that every organization needs at least one Creator) 

A Creator license has access to all of Tableau's features and controls. It includes many advanced features, such as server deployment monitoring, server administration, programmatic content migration, and the ability to introduce additional data sources. 

Tableau Explorer – $42 per user per month

An Explorer license gives users access authorization to interact with dashboards and visualizations. In addition, users can also download, curate, and share data and reports, but it doesn't allow users to input data.

Tableau Viewer – $15 per user per month

A Viewer license, not surprisingly, has the fewest permissions. However, users can view and interact with the dashboard and visualizations. While they cannot access the complete datasets, they can access summary data.