Tips to Pass the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate and Desktop Specialist Exam

I recently passed the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate Exam scoring 97% and also had earlier passed the Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification scoring 93%. I thought of sharing my experiences with you to help you succeed.

Exam Preparation Resources I used:

From an Exam Preparation Resources perspective, I found the below free resources extremely useful:

The variety of exposures is what I aimed for which is what I learnt after reading the experiences of successful candidates. And it paid off!

Makeover Monday:

I would like to briefly touch upon this weekly activity known as Makeover Monday which became a hobby for me.

Ø What is Makeover Monday?

Makeover Monday is a weekly data visualization challenge for all the Tableau users created by Andy Kriebel in 2016. Right now, Charlie Hutcheson & Eva Murray are the authors of Makeover Monday and they publish the datasets and do the Viz reviews. Every dataset contains the article in which a poor designed visualization is given and participants have to give makeover to this visualization. Hence, it is called Makeover Monday. You will need to create a meaningful, better and more effective visualization as compared to the given visualization. It is the best way to improve how you visualize and analyze the data. The Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification Exam and the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate Exam both contain various questions with different datasets. So these Monday exercises are really helpful to skill up.

In each week, participants get to work on new datasets. They get a chance to showcase their talent and get valuable feedback from the tableau community. There are many people who do this challenge. These people can be divided into four types –

1) Beginners — Those who have just started learning tableau and want to apply their theoretical knowledge to real world datasets.

2) Intermediates — Those who know tableau very well and want to increase their understanding of tableau and expand their data visualization knowledge.

3) Experimentalists — Those who have good knowledge of tableau and want to experiment with their visualizations by adding new charts or by inventing new techniques to visualize the data.

4) Experts — Those who are really good at tableau and make really great visualizations. If you download their workbook and understand what these people do in their visualizations, then you will get an idea about how cool Tableau is!

Just imagine, you get to see almost 100 dashboards for same data in one week. You will get to see various different things which you might have thought are impossible for tableau as well as you will get to see various types of aesthetic, clean and perfect vizzes which will inspire you to get better at your visualization skills. Trust me when you see this much number of dashboards for same dataset, it will boost up your creative thinking and it will be a EUREKA moment for your data visualization journey. If you do this challenge on regular basis then you will see gradual improvements in your dashboard designs. So, if you have the basic understanding of tableau and you want to take your tableau skills to next level then Makeover Monday is perfect for you!

Ø How to get started?

Step 1 — Visit the Makeover Monday Website

Step 2 — Click on Participate and Select Datasets

Step 3 — Download the dataset of latest week

Dataset for every week is published on Sunday. Click on the link to download the dataset. Also, you can download datasets from previous weeks for practice. These datasets are selected such that you get to learn something or you get to implement something new every week. Many of these datasets might make you more familiar with the datasets in the Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification Exam and the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate Exam as well.

Also, once a month you get to contribute towards gender equality around the world by doing Viz5 challenge. Viz5 challenge is same as Makeover Monday, only difference is dataset is provided by ‘Operation Fistula’ which is an international NGO working for gender equality around world. You get to contribute towards social good while learning tableau, isn’t that cool?

Step 4 — Get started with your Tableau Dashboard

After getting the dataset, you need to start creating dashboard to tell an effective story about the data. In Makeover Monday challenge you need to give a makeover to the already existing viz. So, your first step while creating dashboard should be understanding the dashboard for which you are giving makeover. Read the source article, understand the purpose of the dashboard and then start with your visualization. If you are a beginner and you don’t know what do then I have two solutions for you.

1) Follow Andy Kriebel (Creator of Makeover Monday)

On every Monday, Andy Kriebel does YouTube live session and makes his own Makeover Monday visualization from scratch. As a newbie, you will get to know many things just by looking at a Tableau Zen Master creating his viz. He gives the step by step information about the process of creating dashboard which is very valuable if you are a beginner.

2) Go to Twitter and join the Makeover Monday community

Participants who do Makeover Monday challenges are mostly active on Twitter. So, if you get started with twitter then you will find lots of dashboards uploaded using #MakeoverMonday . You can download these dashboards and explore what other people have done and learn from their dashboard.

Do note that most of the candidates might not have appeared for the Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification Exam and the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate Exam, but they have really good skills to learn from. If you are comfortable with creating your own visualization then just create your dashboard till Tuesday and be ready to share it with others. You can experiment with your visualization style, you can learn to create different charts, you can work on the things where you are weak at (like table calculations, level of detail expressions etc.), you can work on filters, parameter actions, action filters and many more things. This is the best challenge to expand your horizons and learn new things about tableau. So, give your all and create an awesome dashboard and get ready to get to know about the most interesting and helpful part of Makeover Monday!

Step 5 — Submit your dashboard

After completing your dashboard, you can publish it on any of the social media platforms like LinkedIn, Tableau Facebook groups or Tableau WhatsApp groups etc. But to get most out of your dashboard you will need to submit your dashboard on following-

1) Tableau Public –

It’s always nice to have a good portfolio to show people how good you are at tableau. If you keep uploading your Makeover Monday dashboards on Tableau Public then after a while, collection of different kinds of vizzes will be created. This will help you in attracting recruiters and also increase your tableau skillset.

2) Twitter –

Makeover Monday has huge community on twitter where people are very active. To get best out of the community, after completion of your dashboard you need to post it in image format on twitter using following –

· Tableau Public link to dashboard

· #MakeoverMonday

· #MMVizReview (Something interesting coming in next section!)

· @TriMyData (Eva Murray, Author of MoM)

· @CharlieHTableau (Charlie Hutcheson, Author of MoM

· @makeover_monday

· #Viz5 & @OpFistula for Viz5 challenges

These are the main places where you will need to upload your dashboards to get better attention and good feedbacks. You will get a feel if you have gone through the exam guides of the Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification Exam and the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate Exam the experience you are gaining from these weekly exercises. Along with that, Makeover Monday has a submission tracker on their website where you can submit your viz. For that just go to their website and in participate section click on ‘Submit’ and fill a google form so that you can track your submission.

Step 6 — Attend viz review session on Wednesday

This is the most interesting and helpful part about Makeover Monday challenges. Imagine your dashboard getting reviewed by the authors of makeover Monday! After posting your dashboards on Twitter using #MMVizReview, the authors Eva Murray & Charlie Hutcheson pick a few of them for the viz review session which happens on every Wednesday at 4 PM UK time (If time changes then Eva Murray give an update on her Twitter i.e. @TriMyData). This session includes the feedback of selected dashboards from both the authors, discussion about best practices in data visualization and key learnings from each week’s datasets & dashboards. If your dashboard features in this session then just note down the feedback by authors and then make changes to your dashboard and upload it again on Twitter. Many participants take part in live chat section of YouTube live session and give their reviews about the other participant’s dashboard which is fun and also good for learning. If you are new to tableau then these sessions are really helpful for you as they help you in understanding what is good design and what is bad design while creating dashboards. You get to learn by creating your dashboard and also by looking at good and bad things about other people’s dashboards.

Step 7 — Explore the dashboards of weekly favorites

Authors select the top 5–6 participants who have created the best dashboards in the week and upload them on Twitter. Eva Murray also uploads a video on her YouTube channel and explains why she has selected those dashboards as favorites. You can download the dashboards of these weekly favorite authors and explore what they have done in their dashboards. This is the best way to learn as you get to see various types of dashboard styles and visualization techniques with every dashboard.

Step 8 — Sit back and wait for Sunday

Complete all the steps above and your Makeover Monday Challenge is completed. Just sit back, relax and wait till Sunday to get a new dataset to work on. Be consistent every week and keep attending viz review sessions and definitely you will start growing as a Tableau user.

Ø Importance of Makeover Monday Challenge

1. Gives you inspiration for creating great visualizations.

2. Helps in understanding good and bad design practices.

3. It lets you experiment with your style of dashboarding and helps to be better at your visualization skills.

4. You get to have a look at hundreds of various kinds of vizzes which opens your mind to try out new and creative things.

5. Prepares you for the Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification Exam and the Tableau Desktop Certified Associate Exam

6. It lets you apply whatever you have learnt on the real dataset.

7. You get in contact with the tableau community which is always good as they provide valuable feedback and helps you grow.

8. If you keep on doing Makeover Monday challenge eventually you will get a very good portfolio for yourself.

Hope you enjoy your journey learning Tableau!

How do you define happiness? It is when love exuberates through every cell of your body.