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What is Tableau? A Complete Career Guide


Tableau is a software that enables data visualization for business intelligence based on the given data. The ability to seamlessly and quickly connect, visualize and share data is one of its key strengths. It is a very powerful and fast growing business intelligence tool with a market share of around 16%.

This visualization software is popular in many industries with computer software, information technology, and health care services being the top users of this tool.

It is best known to handle big data. Tableau does not require coding background and with the help of tableau, you can simplify the raw data in a format that is easy to understand. It helps to create data that professionals at any level in an organization can understand.

What is Tableau used for?

Tableau is used to visualize complicated data with the aim to help people watch, observe, understand and make decisions using that information. Large companies usually have a large chunk of data that is often very confusing. In order to make result-oriented decisions out of such big data, tableau is used to make any type of graphs, plots, and charts without any programming. This helps to make better decisions for the organization.

Tableau Product Suite

The tableau product suite consists of the following.

  • Tableau Desktop
  • Tableau Public
  • Tableau Online
  • Tableau Server
  • Tableau Reader

1. What is Tableau Desktop

Tableau Desktop has a very unique and rich feature set that allows all its users to code and customize reports. Whether you want to create charts and reports or blend them all together for making a dashboard. Whatever the work you want to do is create in tableau desktop. Tableau desktop provides connectivity to data warehouses for live data analysis. All the workbooks and dashboards that you create there can then be shared with the concerned people. Now based on the connectivity to the data sources and publishing option, the tableau desktop has further been classified into two types.

  • Tableau Desktop Personal
  • Tableau Desktop Professional

2. What is Tableau Public

Tableau Public can be considered a version that has been specially developed for cost-effective users. Now by the work public, we mean that the workbooks which we create won’t be saved locally instead they will be saved to the tableau’s public cloud which can be viewed and accessed by anyone. Since anyone has the option to download and access the data so there is no privacy to the files saved to the cloud. This version is considered to be the best for individuals who are interested in learning tableau. Further, those who are interested in sharing their data with the general public also prefer tableau public.

3. What is Tableau Online

As the name suggests, tableau online is the online sharing tool of tableau. Its functionalities are quite similar to the tableau server. The only difference here is that the data is stored on servers that are hosted in the cloud and maintained by the tableau group. If you are using tableau online then you should know that there is no storage limit on the data which is published in tableau online. So you don’t have to worry about what to publish there and what not to. Tableau Online creates a direct link to almost 40 data sources that are hosted in the cloud such as MySQL, Hive, Amazon, Aurora, Spark SQL, and many more. Another thing worth mentioning here is that if you want to publish something then both tableau online and server demand the workbooks created by tableau desktop.

4. What is Tableau Server

The tableau server software is specifically used for sharing the workbooks and visualizations that are created in the tableau desktop application across the organization. If you want to share dashboards in the tableau server then you must first publish your work in the tableau desktop. As soon as you are done uploading your work to the server, it will become accessible to licensed users only, however, the licensed users do not need to have tableau server installed on their machine. All they need is the login credentials with which they are able to check reports through a web browser. Note that the security is quite high in tableau server and is much suited for quick and effective sharing of data in any organization.

5. What is Tableau Reader

Tableau reader is a free tool that enables all its users to view the workbooks and visualizations created using tableau desktop and tableau public. Here you can filter the data but it can neither be edited nor modified. The security level in tableau reader is zero. It is because anyone who gets the workbook can view it using tableau reader. So if you want to share the dashboards that you have created, then make sure that the receiver has a tableau reader to view that particular document of yours.

6. What is Tableau Mobile

Tableau mobile is what we call your window into your organization’s tableau server or tableau online site. With the help of tableau mobile, you can keep a pulse on your data from wherever you are and whenever you want. Everybody wants to have the option of checking their data at a moment’s notice. And this helps to make decisions faster and much better. Tableau mobile is the key to keep an eye on your data no matter where you are. With tableau mobile, your team members can view the dashboards you create easily from their phones and thus can work more conveniently.

How does Tableau Work?

Working with Tableau is very easy. What it actually does is connect and extract the data that is stored in various places. It has the capacity of pulling data from any platform ranging from a simple database such as excel and pdf to complex databases like oracle, or even a database in the cloud like Amazon web services, Microsoft Azure SQL database, or any other source. The pulled data can then be connected live or even extracted to the tableau’s data engine which is known as tableau desktop. This is where the data analyst or data engineer can work with the data which was pulled up and then develop visualizations from it. The created dashboards are then shared with users as a static file. The users who receive these dashboards are able to view the files using tableau reader.

Tableau vs Other Business Intelligence Tools

Majority of the organizations have and still making huge profits out of Tableau all because of the features it offers. Just like tableau, there are many other business intelligence tools available and no doubt they all offer quite a variety of features. But are they as good as tableau? So let us make a quick comparison between Tableau and other BI tools.

Tableau Vs Power BI

Tableau offers quite a variety of visualizations to its users which make it even more popular among users. On the other hand, Power BI is though a fine business intelligence tool yet the visualizations that it offers are very limited.

Tableau Vs Excel

When it comes to data exploration, tableau enables our business analysts to work independently by loading the data into the program and start exploring it. However, in excel, you don’t get such an option.

Tableau Vs Python

Data visualizations in Tableau can be made on the go by using a variety of simple yet effective tools like drag/drop. These tools may look simple yet they can create high value visuals. Whereas, in Python, data visualizations can be created with the help of open libraries like MtPlotLib, SeaBorn and ggPlot.

Tableau Vs Google Data Studio

When making a comparison between tableau and google data studio, if you are looking for a way to create complex data reports and deal with complex data, then Tableau has to be your choice. On the other hand, if you wish to make simple yet great dashboards then Google Data Studio is your choice.

Tableau Vs Lookers

With tableau, you get the option of simple drag-and-drop features which can be easily used to analyze key data and sharing of critical insights within the organization. But if you use Looker, then you get access to easy options that can integrate with SQL or data warehouse like Amazon Athena, Microsoft Azure SQL data warehouse and Greenplum etc.

Tableau Vs Alteryx

While comparing tableau and alteryx, you should know that tableau is compatible with Windows, Android, IOS, and other web-based devices. Whereas alteryx is compatible with all the above ones except for IOS. As per the pricing is concerned, tableau starts from $35 whereas alteryx is quite expensive having price range of $1950.

Tableau Vs Microstrategy

Tableau offers customized scoreboards and mapping analytics that is pretty much preferred by BI experts. Whereas BI experts prefer iOS application, REST API and Java API in Microstrategy as compared to tableau.

Tableau Vs DOMO

When comparing tableau and DOMO, tableau always works in compliance to servers, databases, and tool-chains for the purpose of collecting data from all over the organization. DOMO on the other hand works as a cloud service widget and aims to offer a variety of visualization options and that too at a reduced cost making it a strong competitor of Tableau.

Tableau Vs Spotfire

With tableau, you get access to larger data sets to be manipulated and visualized by users. Tableau also has the ability to connect to over 40+ data sources thereby putting customers at ease while creating the desired reports. Contrary, Spotfire has the ability to connect to over 20+ data sources plus the ability to work with a variety of data formats.

Tableau Vs QlikView

Now if we make a comparison between tableau/powerbi/qlikview then you should know that tableau is a basic tool for data visualization that offers a user-friendly interface and helps to create charts and dashboards easily. Whereas, power BI offers viable security for your data and is used widely to create reports.  Finally, qlikview is a faster and easier BI tool that is used for single product manufacturing and also helps to create tables efficiently.

Tableau Vs Quicksight

If you have to choose between tableau and quicksight then you should know that tableau is used widely by corporations and is used to analyze massive datasets with built-in features. Quicksight on the other hand is an ultra and concurrent model that is used in the creation of dashboards and visualizations.

Tableau Vs Cognos

Between tableau and cognos, tableau has best features to offer for analyzing and importing large data sets. Whereas IBM Cognos is used to analyze data relationships by translating data into metadata instantly.

Tableau Vs Splunk

When comparing tableau and splunk, tableau offers quite an easy setup that can be completed in just a matter of hours. But if we talk about splunk then the initial setup and implementation is a little tricky and that is why an experienced individual is required for completing the setup. Similarly, splunk can be quite expensive once you reach the 20GB limit. Whereas tableau is cheap to buy as compared to splunk.

Tableau Vs Kibana

The biggest difference between tableau and kibana is that tableau is a general-purpose analytics tool that can relate to any data source. Whereas kibana is integrated into elastic search stack and requires data to be migrated into elastic search first.

Tableau Vs Grafana

Now comes another business intelligence tool that can be compared with tableau that is, Grafana. When we talk about tableau everybody knows that it is more focused on business intelligence. But when we say Grafana, then the concept here is very broad. Grafana is suitable for working with time-series and doing server monitoring and application monitoring. But if you want to work with servers using tableau that it can be a little hard because tableau offers more business analytics tools.

Tableau Developer Salary

National average salary for Tableau developer is quite high i.e. $114,559 per year ($55 per hour) as per ZipRecruiter as of 1st Sept, 2021. Tableau developer with min and max as $63,000/yr to $173,000/yr with majority getting $92,000/yr. Get more details here.

Tableau Developer Salary
Reference: ZipRecruiter

Here are the 5 best paying U.S cities with respect to salary for tableau developer.

City Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly Wage
San Jose, CA $141,497 $11,791 $2,721 $68.03
Oakland, CA $139,673 $11,656 $67.24 $67.24
Tanaina, AK $139,232 $11,603 $2,678 $66.94
Wasilla, AK $139,230 $11,603 $2,678 $66.94
Hayward, CA $136,938 $11,412 $2,633 $65.84

How to Learn Tableau?

The best way to learn tableau is through different top online tableau courses and tutorials. We believe that online courses let you study at your own ease and pace and this gives you the opportunity to further grow. Below are some of the courses we recommend to start learning tableau. We have full-length Tableau Certification practice test and exams to let you have enough practice material to prepare for the Tableau Certification.


Data Visualization with Tableau Specialization (University of California)

      • University of California via Coursera
      • 6 months of effort required
      • 79,191+ already enrolled!
      • ★★★★★ (5,483 Ratings)
Online Course Effectiveness Score 
Content Engagement Practice Career Benefit

In this tableau tutorial, you will get a chance to examine, navigate, and learn to use the different features of Tableau. The instructor will discuss in detail how you can assess the quality of the data and perform exploratory analysis. You will get a chance to understand how to create and design visualizations and dashboards for the designated audience. Similarly, the instructor will explain how to combine the data and follow the best practices to present your story.

I have found the courses of this specialization to be the most feasible way to learn to use tableau. The instructors have done an amazing job in making this specialization. The lecture videos, the quizzes, the additional learning resources, everything was up to mark and quite helpful in learning tableau.


Tableau 2020 A-Z: Hands-On Tableau Training for Data Science (Kirill Eremenko)

      • Kirill Eremenko via Udemy
      • 261,203+ already enrolled!
      • ★★★★★ (70,166 Ratings)
Online Course Effectiveness Score 
Content Engagement Practice Career Benefit

In this tableau tutorial, you will learn to use tableau 2020 for data science in the most feasible possible manner. This course contains real-life data analytics exercises and quizzes that are going to help you understand how to use tableau. Starting the course, you will learn to install tableau desktop 2020. Then the instructor will explain how to connect tableau to different datasets like excel and CSV files. Similarly, you will learn to create bar charts, area charts, maps, pie charts, and much more in detail.


Data Visualization and Communication with Tableau (Duke University)

      • Duke University via Coursera
      • 25 hours of effort required
      • 186,782+ already enrolled!
      • ★★★★★ (2,983 Ratings)
Online Course Effectiveness Score 
Content Engagement Practice Career Benefit

In this tableau tutorial, you will get to understand how to become a master at communicating business-relevant implications of data analysis. The aim here is to make you understand how to structure your data analysis projects to ensure that your hard labor yields better results for the stakeholders. Next, you will learn how to streamline your analysis and highlight their implications efficiently using visualizations in Tableau.

Yes this was 100% an awesome course and is suitable for those who want to learn tableau like me. The course contains real-life projects that are not only exciting but have so much to offer. With that, the in-depth exercises and a free 6-month license for tableau desktop is the most helpful. As it allows me to practice, play, and get expertise with both data analysis and tableau software. I can definitely recommend this course to all my friends and peers interested in tableau for the certification training course (Anupama P, ★★★★★).

Benefits of Tableau Certification

  • The tableau experts are very much high in demand as enterprises now tend to generate a notable amount of data. And for that, they need tableau experts.
  • With the help of tableau, even the non-technical people are now able to understand data and then make decisions that contribute towards the growth of their organization.
  • Similarly, tableau professionals can expect to have a rewarding career as tableau experts are known to be highly paid in the Business Intelligence industry.
  • As tableau is used in nearly all sectors, you can expect to get opportunities to work with different types of professionals who are a part of top-notch organizations.

These benefits can be considered just the tip of the iceberg as the list of benefits is never ending. But this clearly shows that becoming a tableau professional can help you advance your career.

Important Update: Recently, tableau has introduced an Analyst Learning Path and a relevant Data Analyst Certification is coming soon. Keep in touch with us to get more details about tableau data analyst certification.

How to get Tableau Certified?

Want to get tableau certified? Here are a few steps we recommend taking.

  • You need to navigate your skills according to the current requirements. Choose the correct tableau certification path and prepare accordingly. Understand tableau desktop specialist vs desktop certified associate exam details.
  • Get yourself enrolled in an online tableau course that will give you everything you need to prepare for the certification exam. And don’t forget to solve the quizzes as well. Following are some of the best tableau certification training online courses:
  • Then you need to solve as many sample questions as you can. Not only they are free but are also developed by tableau professionals who know so much about tableau. At takethiscourse.net, you can find a variety of free tableau sample questions to solve so do take a look at them.
  • Focusing on the tableau knowledge-based questions is also very important.
  • Once you feel like you are going somewhere that is the time to evaluate yourself. And the best way to evaluate your understanding of tableau is through practice tests. Takethiscourse.net offers a variety of tableau certification practice tests that you can take into consideration. Solving these practice tests is going to get you where you need to be.

Tableau Certification Practice Tests:

Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification Dumps     Tableau Desktop Certified Associate Exam     Tableau Server Certified Associate Practice Tests

Final Thoughts

Pat yourself on the back for reaching this far! This shows your interest in the subject and now you know what is tableau, its products, benefits and how can you make a career out of it. As you can see, becoming a tableau expert might be a long journey but not an impossible one. The only thing that can help you get there is mere determination and authentic learning content. Here at takethiscourse.net, you can find free sample questions and paid practice tests that have been developed by tableau experts. So, start your journey of becoming a tableau expert and never stop learning.