Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification —Preparation Decoded

How do I prepare for it? Am I ready? This article is the answer to that.

Is this exam easy? YES.

I recently passed my Tableau Desktop Specialist certification with a score of 85%.

The Preparation

Through the process of convincing myself to go for the certification, I was in a situation where I wanted to get my hands on to resources that help me pass the certification with minimum or no monetary investment. A short and simple answer to whether that’s possible is — YES! It definitely is.

Here’s my journey from someone who had absolutely no clue about Tableau, to someone who drafts tutorials and walkthroughs on data visualization and dashboarding — Here’s my blog : www.datavizardry.org ; and of course, someone who’s Tableau Certified.

  • The first place I’d recommend you visit as someone who wants to learn Tableau or data visualization, in general, is the Tableau Public Gallery (https://tabsoft.co/2M9T02Z). This space can be a bit overwhelming at first given the sophistication of the visualizations in there, but use this as a medium to get inspired and to enter into the world of data visualization. If at this point you’re still interested you can read on.
  • The second resource which can help you start the process of learning Tableau is the Tableau Training videos (https://www.tableau.com/learn/training). In addition to being a free resource, it is an exhaustive library capable of preparing you to create your first visualization.
  • The third step is hands-on training. Depending on your occupation you may or may not have access to the free Tableau Desktop license, in case you don’t, you can download Tableau Public which is free for everybody. You can use the famous data-set — the ‘Superstore Data’ , which is built into Tableau. You can start playing around with the measures and dimensions it offers. Even while you use Tableau hands-on, always use the free training videos on the Tableau website to learn new features and functionality that Tableau offers.
  • If you have religiously followed the first three steps, by now you have a good fundamental understanding of Tableau and its functionalities. The next step is the most exciting one. You should now head over to the Makeover Monday page (https://www.makeovermonday.co.uk/). This is a forum where the creator Andy Kriebel publishes a new data-set every week. It’s upon you to effectively and beautifully visualize it and later publish it for the Tableau community to see and critique. In an effort to make your visualizations increasingly insightful and intuitive you will learn the features of Tableau that are not very apparent at first. Here are a few resources that I have personally used to create visualizations —
  1. http://www.vizwiz.com/
  2. http://toanhoang.com/
  3. http://curtisharris.weebly.com/
  • Once you have gone through this exercise for at least 4 weeks, in my opinion, you are almost ready for the certification exam. There is no substitute for hands-on practice. An alternate approach to get this certification is to sign up for a Udemy/Coursera course for about $12. These courses will prepare you for the certification alright, however, WILL NOT help you become a Tableau Vizard.
  • A solid 4–5 weeks of hands-on practice will equip you to use this tool professionally as the certificate in itself is useless if you cannot create value from it once you’re certified.
  • One last step in the prep is revising the fundamentals which are volatile since we may/may not use these through our everyday Tableau use. Here’s a dump I have created for myself, which I keep updating as I learn new things — https://datavizardry.org/resources-2/
  • I will now list miscellaneous resources that you can browse before the exam:
  1. Free quiz to warm up before the exam — http://bit.ly/2VAsPp8
  2. Tableau online exam environment — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nmpraWJyVw (This is an old resource so ignore the UI but the other things remain the same)
  3. Registration link and exam guide that lists all the topics covered — https://www.tableau.com/learn/certification/desktop-specialist

P.S if you create an account using your institutional email ID you may get a $20 discount on the Exam Fee. I ended up paying $80 for the exam instead of the $100.

The Exam Experience

  • This is a 60-minute exam with 30 questions, a passing score is 71% (~22/30).
  • There are multiple-choice questions with one/multiple correct answers. About six of the 30 questions will be hands-on. To answer these you will have to connect to a data source using Tableau to find answers.
  • The 60-minute time limit is sufficient to answer the questions. You can ace through multiple-choice questions in a few seconds; keep sufficient time for the hands-on questions. If you aren’t sure about a particular answer, you can flag it to come back to it later.
  • Block at least 1.5 hours of your schedule for this exam since the pre-exam checks will take about 30 minutes. Make sure you’re in a silent and disturbance-free area for the duration of your exam.
  • I finished my exam in about 50 minutes. The exam ends with a note that reads “Congratulations on passing your exam” after which you are asked to answer a few questions on your exam experience.
  • The exam summary and the certificate takes anywhere between a few hours to 1 day to get delivered to your registered email.

I hope this article was helpful. Make sure you connect with me on Linkedin and Tableau Public.

Linkedin — https://www.linkedin.com/in/virajdeshpande1505/

Tableau Public — https://public.tableau.com/profile/viraj1076#!/

Do visit my blog — https://datavizardry.org

If you liked this article make sure you shower a few claps and I am always open to suggestions both on Medium and my blog.

Happy Vizzing!

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