Considering going for the Tableau Specialist Certification, but not sure if it’s worth the time and expense?



It Depends

As usual, the answer is, “it depends.” It depends on your prior experience and your reason for wanting the certification. As yourself these questions

  • Do you want to strengthen your resume for a job search?
  • Are you fresh out of school or trying to make a career switch?

If you answer “Yes” to both questions, then it’s worth it to earn the Tableau Desktop Specialist certification. It will strengthen your resume and raise your chances of landing your first role an entry-level position for one of the following job titles:

  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Tableau Developer
  • Data Analyst

Will the Specialist Certification Help Me Find a Job?

How to be sure the Specialist certification helps? When I search through Tableau postings on Indeed, I found about 10,000 results for “Tableau Certification” compared with “60,000” for Tableau overall. So an optimistic estimate would be about 1 in 6 or maybe 1 in 10 Tableau posts explicitly mention Tableau certifications. I found a post that stated clearly, “TABLEAU CERTIFICATION IS MANDATORY.” The listing didn’t specify Specialist or Data Analyst, but it’s clear that having some Tableau certification is required to be considered for the position.

And other post mentioned “Tableau Desktop Certification (nice to have).” In this case, Tableau Certification isn’t required, but it’ll give you an edge in the application process.

Another post I saw mentioned something else, “Financial support and incentives for obtaining certifications related to Tableau or Power BI.” This is another sign of an employer that values certification.

Of course not every listing explicitly mentions the certification exams. But even for those that don’t, mentioning your certification on your resume provides proves your knowledge.

Now, common sense suggests that savvy companies aren’t going to care much about the certification if you already have several years of work experience with Tableau.

Will the Certification Improve My Skills?

There’s a second reason for earning the Specialist certification. If you’re planning to use Tableau regularly, you’ll want to understand the nuances of the tool.

Of course it’s not 100% required. Tableau is such intuitive software that in less than an hour you can download and install Tableau Public (the free version of Tableau Desktop), and start following along with Tableau’s free video training and associated data.

But even after going through the training and creating some dashboards, will you be able to explain when to use a relationship versus a join? Or when to use a live connection versus an extract? Will you be able to give a couple of use cases for parameters?

There’s no substitute for hands-on experience with Tableau, but the certification ensures you have broad exposure to all of the functionality – data connections, enhancing the data with groups, sets, calculations, and hierarchies, creating visuals, and publishing and exporting work. Certifications add breadth to the depth of knowledge gained from creating visualizations.

So my recommendation if you’re looking for mastery is to both go through the Specialist certification and participate in Tableau challenges like Iron Viz and Workout Wednesday.

How To Prepare?

If you’re convinced it’s worth the time and exam fee to get certified, then there’s the question of how to prepare. Research demonstrates, and smart students know, that the best way to prepare for a test is to take lots of practice tests. I recommend starting with the question on Tableau’s exam guide, and then taking these exam dumps. Review mistakes and do more practice questions and practice exams until you feel ready to pass.

Good luck!

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