I recently took the Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate Exam and passed it without spending anything on preparation materials. Having taken other certification exams before, I knew that study guides issued by exam providers don’t always provide the most thorough methods of preparation. In preparing for this exam, I was unsure about the best approach for studying, and ended up exhausting the resources I had available to me. Fortunately, all of the materials I studied were free and were sufficient to help me pass the exam. To save you from sorting through the many materials available online, below are two of the resources I found most valuable.. These materials will help you go from not knowing what Tableau Desktop is to becoming a Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate with no training costs involved.
Tableau provides its official exam guide free of charge. While this guide isn’t intended to be training in and of itself, it is a great resource to learn the breakdown of the structure of the exam and specific skills and knowledge that will be measured. The exam guide also includes:
- 14 sample exam questions
- Links to articles and tutorials on each exam topic measured
Unlike some other data visualization tools, Tableau provides a very structured and comprehensive set of guided video tutorials for someone completely unfamiliar with the software to get a good understanding of how to use it. The tutorials are structured as follows:
- On-Demand Training (~ 30 videos) – skip the sections on Tableau Server, Tableau Online, and API’s for the purpose of studying for this exam.
- Live Online Training (~ 8-10 1 hr sessions) – these are good instructor-led webinars with audience Q&A.
In addition to the above resources, you should complete five or more personal exercises covering a significant amount of the skills listed in the exam preparation guide. In doing so, you will be get practice in getting to your desired visualizations without being guided each step of the way there. Get creative with the types of visualizations and data you find interesting. Consider having someone else recommend a data story they might like to explore and go from there. www.data.gov is a good place to begin locating data sources for your visualizations. For exposure, you can upload your visualizations to Tableau Public.
If you decide that after completing the above resources you are still feeling uncomfortable with the exam content, Tableau offers several paid classroom-style trainings that are worth looking into. You can find information on these classes here at Classroom Training.
Best of luck studying!