Is a Tableau Certification Worth It?

Tableau is a great tool for creating visualizations that help you tell a data story. If you look at job descriptions for data analyst positions you are sure to find tableau in several of those job requirements. Anyone can list that they are ‘tableau proficient’ on their resume, or show their tableau skills through their tableau public, so is investing in a certification in tableau worth it?  


The answer depends on your motivation for getting certified. If you simply want to learn tableau skills to create visualizations for yourself or for a portfolio you probably don’t need to pay for the official tableau certification. There are thousands of videos and courses available for free or at a low cost. A quick google search will reveal dozens of youtube channels that focus on teaching tableau skills for any level. If your desire to learn tableau is from wanting to create an impressive online portfolio that catches people’s attention, most of the time the people viewing your visualizations are not going to ask if you have a certification. However, if you are looking to get a tableau job, specifically your very first tableau job, a certification goes a really long way.


One of the top complaints from people looking for their first tableau job is “I have zero experience and I cannot get my foot in the door”. Even if you’ve never had a tableau job, if you can show that you have the capability of passing a certification exam it can raise a hiring manager’s confidence in you quite a bit. If you have no experience and you’re hired for an entry-level position it’s a bit of a gamble from the employers perspective, they want to minimize the risk of hiring someone that is not fit for the job and an official certification can minimize that risk. If you have a certification then they at least know that you know the basics, that you can load and analyze data and that you know the functions. Not having a tableau certification can weed you out in the ATS if the job requires an official certification. 


The signaling theory behind how certificates work is stemmed in supply and demand. if you have a position that is in relatively high demand with relatively scarce labor supply, it’s going to push the wage up for that position. A certification can push you into a smaller supply group of labor that is in high demand. There are thousands of people that know how to use tableau but only a percentage of those people are officially certified.  This certification, while it might seem small at first, might make you seem more productive of a worker than any of the other people competing for the same position because it shows you are not starting from scratch.


In conclusion, you should get certified if you want to grow your analytics career whether you are trying to get your foot in the door of your first job or if you are trying to level up. The cost of the certification exam could seem like a large investment for some, especially if you are struggling financially. However, if you think about the benefits it could bring in the long run, it might be the difference between you landing that new role and raising your income by thousands.