There are three levels of Tableau Desktop certifications (Specialist, Certified Associate, and Certified Professional). Recently, I passed the Tableau Desktop Specialist and Desktop Certified Associate (formerly known as the ‘Qualified Associate’ or ‘QA’) exams and wanted to share my experience, tips from my exam, and resources that I found helpful when preparing.
What are the Tableau Desktop certification exams and why should I take them?
What are they?
The Tableau Desktop Specialist and Certified Associate exams are certification exams that Tableau offers in order to earn the title of Tableau Desktop Specialist or Tableau Desktop Certified Associate. They are a great way to show your knowledge of the features within Tableau. You can read more about the different Tableau certifications here.
Why should you get certified?
There are a bunch of reasons! You may want to get certified in order to:
Gauge your knowledge of Tableau
Validate your knowledge to potential clients, customers, or colleagues
Demonstrate growth within Tableau to further your career
If you want to read more about the importance of certification, I recommend reading Tableau Zen Master Ann Jackson’s post on the topic.
When I was preparing to take the two Tableau certification exams, I read all the blog posts I could on how to prepare and what to expect. Each post was different and offered insights that helped me pass my exam. My hope is that this post will help someone in a similar position.
I won’t go into the details around the logistical aspects of taking the exam. For this, I highly recommend reading the Exam Setup PDF from Tableau themselves, found here.
Michael Sandberg (@michaelangeles on twitter) has a great slide deck detailing his experience taking the Tableau Desktop Specialist exam. There are a ton of great tips that apply to the both the Desktop Specialist and Certified Associate exams including a lot of detail on the realities of taking a proctored exam. Check it out here.
If you have strategies for taking multiple choice tests that have worked well for you in the past, do not forget to apply them! Here are a few of mine that I found helpful.
Flag the questions that you do not immediately know the answer to. There is a built-in feature in the test taking environment that allows you to do this. This was so helpful that I based my entire exam strategy off of it. As I went through my first pass of the exam questions, I flagged the ones that I was not 100% sure of. After the first pass, I used the remaining time to go back and research the answers to my flagged questions (online research is totally allowed during the exam).
Break down each piece of the question into an action within Tableau. Read the questions carefully and multiple times to make sure that you understand what they are asking for. Then deconstruct the question. Each one of the pieces is there for a reason and you will need to translate them into actions within Tableau to get the correct answer. Give it a shot with this practice question from the exam prep PDF.
What is the percent of total Sales for the ‘Home Office’ Customer Segment in July of 2012?