My experience with the new "Tableau Certified Data Analyst"

I recently took the new Tableau certification "Tableau Certified Data Analyst."

A few thoughts on the certification and exam:

  • Unlike the old certifications (Tableau Desktop Specialist, Tableau Associate, Certified Professional), the new exam name is way more descriptive. I like that. With the new certification, I believe we can put it on a business card, presentation, and LinkedIn profile because the certification is really descriptive.

  • I believe that the new certification is geared towards real-world use of Tableau, where we often need Tableau Destkop, Tableau Prep (ETL), and Tableau Server (mostly publishing).

  • For example, in the real-world use of Tableau, we often need to publish workbooks on the server. Thus, knowing the different options and being able to optimize publishing is crucial. While most new developers know the difference between a .twb and .twbx, the advantages and disadvantages of publishing a data source (.tds or .tdsx) are equally important. Regarding performance, embedded sources generally run faster, but published sources can be shared among workbooks. In other words, having 1,000 1 GB packaged workbooks might be suboptimal when a single data source of 1 GB can be used.

  • I like that a basic knowledge of Tableau Prep (ETL) has become mandatory. Even though ETL is not the most exciting part of an analyst, knowing the basics of ETL can go a long way. For example, we recently had to union and pivot 1 GB of data using a 32 GB virtual machine (my MacBook Pro was not able to do it). The result was amazing (a 100 million row dataset) with only basic Tableau Prep knowledge.

  • Tableau states a recommended use of Tableau for at least 6 months, in order to take the Tableau Certified Data Analyst. I strongly agree. I've been using Tableau for nearly five years and found some of the exam questions challenging.

  • What about the retired "Tableau Certified Professional"? Well, the content was awesome (dashboard design, advanced table calculations ...). However, in the real world, I think it's more important to know how to optimize an extract than to code a common baseline from memory. In other words, those advanced skills are unfortunately rarely needed in the day-to-day life of a Tableau developer.

If you're a fan of Tableau, you probably already know most of the requirements needed for the new Tableau Certified Data Analyst. If you're a more casual user of Tableau, the Tableau Desktop Specialist is probably sufficient.

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