This guest blog post is written by Daniel Caroli, Business Analyst for Care UK based in London. Daniel is a member of London’s Tableau User Group, as well as a 2018 Iron Viz Europe finalist and “crowd favorite” for the third Iron Viz 2018 global feeder competition. For more on Daniel, check out his blog, Data vs Food and his Tableau Public profile.
What’s so good about learning Tableau in public? Learning in public (Tableau Public, that is!) is what initially connected me to the Tableau community. I recently shared my journey with the London Tableau User Group in hopes of inspiring newcomers to do the same because it was only after I started using Tableau Public that I felt challenged to rethink what was possible and to try new things.
My journey into the Tableau community
It all started four years ago, when I first learned that Tableau existed and I took a training session. Sadly, I did virtually nothing after that for two years, which you can see in the timeline below. Most everything I created wasn’t different from what I was already creating for work; I simply did what I knew. I had no idea about the user community that existed.
Then, in 2016, I learned that Tableau Public existed—a free platform for creating public data stories and connecting users around the world. I decided to participate in a community-led activity called #MakeoverMonday (a weekly challenge to create a data visualization based on a selected dataset) and uploaded my first viz to my Tableau Public profile for all to see. But, once again, I did nothing for a period of time. I carried on as before, not taking advantage of the huge amount of resources that could advance my learning.
Cut to early 2017, when I published my second #MakeoverMonday viz to Tableau Public. As you can see in my timeline, I did more than just publish and walk away. This time, I started doing #MakeoverMonday on a weekly basis to learn and also be inspired by other submissions. I started getting to know a few community members through the feedback I received on my work. I then got motivated to really improve my technical skills, so I began participating in another community activity called #WorkoutWednesday. The more time I spent engaged with the community, the more opportunities I had to learn and showcase my learning.
Not long after that, I was featured on Tableau Public’s website as “Viz of the Day” (the viz was about Renewable Energy in the UK, and it was a brilliant surprise to be recognized). Being picked as “Viz of the Day” gave me enough confidence to continue my momentum by working on an Iron Viz submission. That Iron Viz submission didn’t go anywhere, but that isn’t the point!
The real point is that, when you look at my timeline, you can clearly see that vizzing in public kickstarted my growth. It was only when I looked outside the workplace for opportunities to learn that I actually did learn. It wasn’t enough to use Tableau just in my workplace. It was the Tableau community and sharing my experiences with others that made all the difference.
Since that second #MakeoverMonday viz, I haven’t slowed down. I even took another crack at Iron Viz and, this time, I was selected to compete on stage at Tableau Conference Europe 2018.
Everyone starts somewhere, so don’t be shy to post in Public!
Of course, it can be a little intimidating to publish your first viz to Tableau Public. I know it was for me. After all, the community is filled with authors who are so incredibly talented. But remember: all of these talented authors have started where you’ve started. That means they have likely faced similar roadblocks, and can speak directly to some of the challenges you might be experiencing.
So, I want to share where I started. The following are some of my first attempts in Tableau Public. Click on the thumbnail to view the full viz:
All of these first visualizations are still there, in all their glory, on my Tableau Public profile. I haven’t hidden a single one. I’m not embarrassed about these first attempts because they provide proof of my progress. My profile demonstrates just how far I’ve come. Just check out some of my more recent vizzes:
As you can see, a year’s worth of involvement in the Tableau community can make a drastic difference. Truly, I never would have been able to get to where I am now if I didn’t viz in public.
Start by creating a Tableau Public profile
Tableau Public has anything and everything you need to get inspired. If you really want to participate in the Tableau community, having a Tableau Public profile is a must.
After you create a profile, here are a few things I recommend:
- Check out all the featured authors and start to follow authors that inspire you and see what they’re favoriting.
- Subscribe to Viz of the Day and, when you find a viz that really inspires you, just download the workbook (most vizzes on Tableau Public are downloadable!) to learn what’s going on under the hood.
- Get involved with some of the community-led projects like #MakeoverMonday, #WorkoutWednesday, Storytelling with Data, Viz for Social Good, Sports Viz Sunday, and #ProjectHealthViz.
- If you’re not part of one yet, find the Tableau User Group (TUG) closest to you so you can meet and start talking with other Tableau users you might have met online through Tableau Public.
But even with all these great ways to plug into the community, remember to seek inspiration from yourself! Take time to step away from your vizzes, reflecting on what you still have to learn and, most of all, how far you’ve come!
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