6 Ways to Make the Most of Your First Tableau Conference

by Emily Chen

Data nerds rejoice! Here are the top tips to make the most of your first Tableau Conference.

1. Read Blue things and Green things by The Information Lab

Before attending, get your mind to start “Thinking Tableau”. When I’m trying to solve a business problem, I envision my story in a graph, then reverse engineer what needs to be configured in Tableau. I’ve found by thinking of the business problem first, and thinking in discrete vs continuous variables, I’m spinning my wheels less. Additionally, I’m using the “Show Me” functionality less too. Less guesswork – more insights.

2. Do the Tableau Qualified Associate Practice Exam – Backwards and Forwards

As a beginner, I found the questions tested my fundamentals about the software. I didn’t get all the questions with my first pass through the practice exam, but I reviewed all the answers in-depth and filled in my knowledge gaps. Happy to say that I passed my exam after 2 weeks of using Tableau 😀

3. Tweet a LOT

Given the volume of people at the Tableau On Tour – London, there’s a relatively small proportion of people on Twitter. This is a fantastic opportunity to network with Tableau Zen Masters (peeps who come to mind immediately are Coach Kriebel, Craig Bloodworth, and the (in)famous Matt Francis), clients and fellow data nerds. And if you’re not on twitter during the keynotes, you’re not in on the best bits of the conference. One of my retweets even made it to the top of the list.

4. Get involved in the Tableau culture of fun 

Connect 4 - Hashu Emily     2015 - 1


Look at these beautiful people and tell me you don’t want to jump in.

5. Tableau Server is pretty much the PDF handout

Some people prefer having the sit down environment to walk through a Tableau Server implementation. Personally, I think there’s definitely an opportunity for Tableau Server’s classes to integrate strategies on how to better manage the change management involved with an implementation.

6. Advanced Calculations is amazing

We were encouraged to challenge ourselves and only attend the advanced level classes. Despite being a beginner, this is a fantastic piece of advice. Clear instructions, PDF printout, source file – you’re good to go. Even if you get lost during the session, you’ll still be able to trace back your steps on your own at home.

BONUS TABLEAU TIP! Take your scatterplots to the next level by putting your time dimension (i.e. Order Date) on Path in the Marks Card. 

Advanced Scatterplot

I learned this from the Advanced Calcs sessions. This allows you to compare multiple dimensions over time and fantastic way to extend cluster analysis. Super neat right!?


Overall, I loved the people, the inspiring ideas and innovative approaches to data at the Tableau Conference. Can’t wait for the next one!