Should I Learn Tableau?

5 Questions about Tableau

1. What is Tableau?

Tableau is a visual analytics platform that promises to help you see and understand data. Tableau is known as a BI (Business Intelligence) tool, but it has many applications outside of Business. More and more sports analysts jobs are looking for BI/Tableau skills. Tim Ngwena (aka Tableau Tim) has created this excellent 10 minute explainer.

Tableau and BI skills have become more popular recently as organisations try and make sense of all the data they have. Creating nice visuals is part of why people like Tableau however, being able to automate and speed up time to insight is also a key reason.


2. Can I learn Tableau in a day?

Yes and No. I have been using Tableau for 8+ years and consider myself still learning the software. I do think it’s possible to get up and running very quickly (a few hours) but data visualisation feels like a skill that you are forever looking to improve at. There is such an active community around Tableau that means there are no end to resources and people available to help you learn.


3. Is Learning Tableau good for my career?

By 2020, the world is set to generate 50 times the amount of data as in its previous decade, according to a study by International Data Corporation (IDC). Sports organisations will he at the heart of this trend. They need people to help organise and make sense of all the disparate data sources. A quick scan through the current job openings reveals that quite a few top companies are looking for Tableau talent. The other big factor to consider is that Tableau skills are equally applicable inside and outside of sport, so if you do ever need to change career you have a very transferable skill.


4. Does Tableau Require Coding skills?

No. The most you will need to learn is some syntax around writing formula’s – this is very similar to what you can expect to write in Excel or a similar program. The fact that you don’t need to learn a new language to use Tableau is why people like it so much. Connect to data and start dragging and dropping.


5. Is Tableau better than Excel?

Yes (probably). This one depends a lot on what you intend to use it for. Spreedsheets are great for inputting data and are really easy to use. However they also make it really easy to copy, edit and overwrite data which is not always what you want. Tableau works in a different way. It is read only (so you don’t enter data in you only view the source data), this means you are not creating multiple copies of the same data set. Because Tableau is connected to the source data – when the data updates so do your reports.


Next Steps?

If you are looking to learn a bit more be sure to check out my free resources on Tableau. If you are a student you can get a free license of Tableau, for more details click here…



Rob Carroll. Founder of The Video Performance Analyst. Always learning.