Digging Into Tableau Certs for BI and Data Analytics

Tableau certification can accelerate your Big Data career.

While researching this week's topic, I stumbled across a nice piece from Thor Olavsrud at CIO Magazine. In a June 2, 2020 story titled "Tableau certification guide: Kick-start your analytics career," he does a good job of explaining Tableau's program, what it offers, what it might potentially pay, and more.


Mr. Olavsrud's article is well worth a read-through. And for those interested in business intelligence, data analysis, and data visualization, Tableau's certification program (and its constituent offerings) are also worth a look-see.


Tableau Software LLC


Founded in 2003, Tableau is the brainchild of three researchers from the computer science department at Stanford University. Originally operating out of Mountain View, Calif. (not too far from Palo Alto and the Stanford campus), the company is now based in Seattle, Wash. Tableau was acquired by Salesforce in August 2019, though it continues to operate more or less independently.


Since its inception, Tableau has sought to help people and organizations make better use of data, especiallly for mapping and other forms of visualization based on geocoding and other kinds of spatial and geographical coordinates or labeling metadata. The company also has a major investment in AI technology, after acquiring Empirical Systems of Cambridge, Mass., in 2018.


Thus, Tableau has a solid technology foundation for doing BI, data analytics, and business intelligence.


Tableau Products and Services


Tableau's product family includes a desktop (professional and personal editions) and server versions, along with Online (web-based) and mobile (Android and iOS) versions, a data preparation tool called Tableau Prep, and a consumer data visualization mobile app called Tableau Vizable. It also offers two free tools, named Tableau Public and Tableau Reader.


Tableau Certifications


Tableau certification

Tableau certs all come with badges, both in desktop and server flavors. Source: Tableau Software Certification


As the above graphic shows, Tableau's certification program uses the typical associate, professional, and specialist designations. In Tableau's case, the specialist credential is the fundamentals, just-getting-started certification. This is the recommended point of entry for those seeking to build Tableau Desktop skills and knowledge (a Server Specialist credential is not currently available).


The associate is the workaday, data prep and analysis credential to for IT pros who work with Tableau regularly, if not as their primary (or only) job function. Finally, the professional credential is a more in-depth, nuanced offering that focuses on operational skills and knowledge for more senior professionals and team leads who might also direct the work of others with the platform.


The Server version encompasses both Associate and Professional credentials, where these certifications focus on setting up, operating and maintaining a Tableau data server that will interact with desktop users on the client side.


Exam pricing is tiered as follows:


? Specialist: $100 ($50 until the end of June, 2020; 30 questions, 60 minutes)
? Associate: $250 (36 questions, 60 minutes)
? Professional: $600 (performance-based lab exam, 180 minutes)


Each exam purchase includes an exam guide, with sample questions, illustrations, and objectives. Tableau itself offers one or more courses for each credential, and also has various online subscriptions for certification candidates that are reasonably priced ($5-to-$10 per user, per month), with third-party offerings also available from companies that include Udemy and Simplilearn.


For more details on specific credentials, their costs, requirements and training options, see the Tableau certification page or the CIO Magazine article.


Tableau Certification Value and Viability


Mr. Olavsrud reports that Tableau claims a certified population of over 20,000 individuals, who collectively hold more than 25,000 Tableau cert credentials. That's a substantial and moderately successful program, and one in which plenty of others have found it worthwhile to invest time, money and effort to participate.


To me, that puts something of an objective "seal of approval" on the program. Mr. Olavsrud also presents some salary information for various job roles related to Tableau certifications using data from PayScale (the following table is quoted verbatim from his story):


? Data analyst: $48,000 to $89,000 (median $65,000)
? Business intelligence analyst: $52,000 to $94,000 (median $71,000)
? Senior data analyst: $63,000 to $110,000 (median $83,000)
? BI developer: $59,000 to $108,000 (median $80,000)
? Data scientist: $62,000 to $128,000 (median $88,000)
? Analytics manager: $68,000 to $126,000 (median $94,000)
? Analytics consultant: $62,000 to $114,000 (median $84,000)


Tableau certification can accelerate your Big Data career.

These numbers are solid and respectable, if not awe-inspiring. It's clear that those who parlay Tableau certs into related job roles in the workplace can expect to make a decent but not spectacular living working in this part of the IT employment landscape.


I suspect that many will want to combine one or more of these credentials with cloud focused competencies from other providers. That might include such well known names as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the like.


But I see in the Tableau products, services, and certifications all the signs that this program is for real, and worth partaking of, if business intelligence, data analytics, and data visualization are topics related to your interests and job aspirations or requirements.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at www.edtittel.com, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.