Generation Data: Passion for Tableau inspires a pivot to data science degree

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of the Generation Data series on the Tableau blog. At Tableau, we feel that data skills are essential for the next generation of professionals and business leaders. The Tableau Academic Program seeks to arm students with the valuable analytical skills needed to think strategically and make an impact, both academically and professionally. If you are a student, download your free Tableau license today to start learning data skills.

KJ Kim with the Academic Programs team at Tableau, sat down with Billy Wang who is a graduate student at Tsinghua University to discuss how his career path took an unexpected turn through Tableau.

What is your Tableau story?

During my university time, I enjoyed attending exhibitions and chanced upon Tableau’s booth at a data science exhibition. I love color and beautiful things so the stunning visualizations instantly drew me in with interest. Tableau staff gave me an introduction to what the platform can do and I soon realized how easy it is to get started. This is when my journey with Tableau began.

My very first visualization was about an online crowdfunding program for my classmate who suffered from leukemia. We analyzed our efforts to see how advertising positively affected our fundraising and eventually exceeded our goal of 5,000¥.

What resources did you use to learn Tableau?

When I first started, I frequently used Tableau Public to gain inspiration and hone my skills. When R integration was introduced, I decided to try it out for a Viz Competition during the Tableau Summit in China. Drawing inspiration from a Summer Olympics viz by Alexandria Duke, I did an analysis of the Summer Olympics sports. I did a cluster analysis through R when clustering wasn’t yet a feature in Tableau. I ended up winning the competition, which resulted in internship offers at the event from Huawei and EY!

When I became more comfortable with Tableau, I started participating in Makeover Monday. This was a great platform to interact with new people of different mindsets and enabled me to further sharpen my skills. I’m currently a member of MMDatacamp, a group of people in China that regularly get together to participate in Makeover Monday.

What excites you most about Tableau and visual analytics?

A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s proven through visual analytics. I’m also a very visual person, so if I can better understand information conveyed through an image, I would much rather take in the information that way instead of reading it.

When I first learned about Tableau, I was just another student going through school and studying electronic engineering, a field I thought I enjoyed. The power of visual analytics in delivering a story inspired me to pursue analytics further.

Who is your favorite Tableau Community Contributor?

Andy Kriebel. I feel he is a pioneer of the Tableau Community as a Hall of Fame Zen Master and mastermind of Makeover Monday. Makeover Monday is one of the most valuable activities to participate in and a great way to get involved with the community. It’s helped me to continue my learnings and also engage with people that have similar interests.

What does Tableau mean to you?

Tableau opened a new chapter for my life and guided me to where I am today. Learning analytics using Tableau brought new opportunities like offers from various organizations, including Huawei, for which I ended up interning.

Through these achievements and experiences, I realized my passion for analytics and changed my career path towards data science. My Tableau skills once again helped me in my admission interview for Tsinghua-Berkeley's Master of Information and Data Science program, as I demonstrated my analytical capability and innovative mindset using Tableau and developing vizzes.

Join the students of Generation Data and download your free Tableau for Students license today to start learning data skills.

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