Data skills are important now more than ever. Whether you just started at your university or are finishing up your final year, there’s always something new to learn. Students are eligible to receive free Tableau licenses, eLearning, and 20% off Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification through Tableau Academic Programs. To help set students up for success, we sat down with two amazing women on different data journeys to hear their advice on preparing for the Tableau Certification exam with a step-by-step guide. Spoiler: you’ll crush it.

Bergen Schmetzer, Tableau Academic Programs: I’ve been at Tableau for four years, and have found my happy place on the Tableau Academic team. I was introduced to Tableau in my junior year of college, and it truly changed the way I look at data and analytics. The best advice I can give to students looking to start their analytics journey is just to take that first step. If you are feeling some sense of fear—that’s GOOD! You are beginning something new and unfamiliar, and that’s excitingly scary. Leveling up your skills, especially in data analytics, doesn’t happen overnight. What I love about Tableau is the focus on supporting and elevating the people in our Community. Our goal is to provide people with the resources and skills to empower themselves. Plus, we are passionate about celebrating the success of like-minded data rockstars.

Kelly Nesenblatt, Student: I’m a senior at the University of Arizona and preparing to enter the workforce out of college. I saw a huge need for data skills at the companies I was interested in but didn’t know where to start. I knew Tableau’s Academic Programs offer Tableau Desktop, Prep, and eLearning for free to students, and I recently found out about the Desktop Specialist Certification discount. Not only was this an opportunity to add a certification to my resume, but it was also a great reason to strengthen my data skills. If I had one piece of advice to share—be confident in what you know. If you have prepared and are comfortable with the platform, the Specialist exam will greatly benefit you. Since passing the Specialist exam, my goal is to complete the Associate and Professional levels next.

Steps to pass the Certification Exam:

1. Join Tableau for Students or Tableau for Teaching Program

We’ve helped over one million students and instructors find empowerment in Tableau. Students and instructors can receive free licenses and eLearning through our Academic Programs.

2. Schedule your exam

It may sound crazy but schedule your exam first. It's counter-intuitive, but setting a deadline for yourself will drive you to study. After you’ve been verified as a student, you will receive a 20% discount off the Tableau Certification Exam. The discount applies automatically during checkout. Your exam will be valid for six months after your purchase date, and you can reschedule anytime but no later than 24 hours before the exam start time.

3. Download Tableau Desktop, access free eLearning

You’ve activated your Tableau license, scheduled your exam, and now it's time to study. eLearning is one of the best places to begin preparing for your exam. We recommend starting with Desktop I to get familiar with the terminology and basics of Tableau. Completing Desktop I takes around 10 hours, but since it’s self-paced, you can go at whatever speed is comfortable for you. We don’t mind waiting for greatness.

4. Practice makes perfect

We have a TON of support materials outside of eLearning to help prepare you for the exam. See below for some of our favorite go-to study resources.

  • Training videos—we have hundreds of videos ranging from quick tips to deep dives in Tableau.
  • Tableau for Student GuideMaria Brock, a Tableau Student Ambassador, put together an entire website dedicated to students looking to learn about Tableau. She spoils us!

5. Get inspired by the Tableau Community

The Tableau Community is a group of brilliant Tableau cheerleaders. They love seeing people find the magic within Tableau, and are an amazing support system. You can get to know our Community in several ways:

  • Read how other students use Tableau or hear from Tableau interns through our Generation Data blog series.
  • Looking for specific answers? Our Student Ambassadors are Tableau Champions at their university and assist other students in their Tableau journey.
  • Connect to the people and information you need most. Our global Community— Tableau Community Forums—actively answers your questions—from dashboard designs to tips and tricks, we’re here to help.
  • Check out Tableau Public to see some incredible vizzes from members of the Community.

6. Day of Exam

It’s normal to have day-of-exam jitters, but if you’ve leveraged some of the resources we’ve shared in this blog, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Double-check your systems are set up and ready for the exam, choose an environment with a reliable internet connection, and make sure you will be undisturbed throughout the exam period. The exam is timed, so it’s important to remember you can always flag questions if you get stuck and come back to them later. Don’t let one tricky question play mind games with you and make you lose confidence—you’ve got this.

7. You’ve leveled UP! Celebrate your certification.

If you passed, it's time to show it off. Share your well-deserved badge on social media and use the hashtag #CertifiablyTableau. Certifications are an identifiable way to demonstrate your data know-how and willingness to invest in your future. Having this certification under your belt will make you stand out amongst your peers to future employers.

If you didn't pass the exam the first time—don't get discouraged. It happens to the best of us. The second time's a charm'.

Join our Tableau for Students program to get started today and receive 20% off the Tableau Desktop Specialist exam.