Editor’s Note: This piece is part of the Back-to-School series on the Tableau blog. At Tableau, we feel that data skills are essential for the next generation of workers and business leaders. Tableau’s Academic Program seeks to arm students with the valuable analytical skills needed to make data-driven decisions, both academically and professionally.

Data skills are in demand. And the ability to showcase these skills will help you stand out from the crowd when you’re on the hunt for internships or employment. But how do you start creating a portfolio?

Progress only comes with practice. And the Tableau Community is a great place to start—for opportunities to build out samples of your work and to establish relationships in the data visualization community at large. The Tableau Community is comprised of individuals who share learnings on social media, answer questions in the online forums, and participate in user groups across the globe.

To start, download your free Tableau Desktop and Prep licenses! And bookmark the Student Resource Community to access to student-specific vizzes, training resources, data sets, and more.

Here is a list of community activities that will help you get involved and practice your Tableau skills (a winning combination)!

For the data visualization enthusiast: Tableau Public

Tableau Public is an open platform where Tableau users globally share their analysis on various topics of interest such as sports, environment, social issues, games, politics, and the list goes on! You can also build out your own profile to showcase your work and act as a portfolio.

Below are some examples of great profiles.

How to get started:

  • Create an account on Tableau Public.
  • Subscribe to the Tableau Public Gallery to discover beautiful, interactive examples of visualizations from around the world.
    (You can even download some of these vizzes to understand how the author created it so you can use the techniques for your next analysis. Just click on the in the lower right corner of the visualization and click Download Tableau Workbook in the menu).
  • Share your work on your personal Tableau Public profile page. Pro tip: If you plan to leverage Tableau Public to build a professional portfolio, remember to add a photo and your social media handles to your profile.
  • Tweet by using #Tableau and #TableauPublic and ask other authors for feedback.

For the creative student with a competitive edge: Student Viz Contests

Does your viz have what it takes to stand out on the global stage? Put it to the test! If you make it to the top 3, you’ll even receive some global exposure for your work!

How to get started:

For the collaborator: Makeover Monday

Makeover Monday is a weekly project run by Eva Murray and Andy Kriebel. Each Sunday, the team posts a link to a visualization and a data set. Your challenge is to create a better version of the visualization in your own creative way—to either find a way to tell the data story more effectively or to discover something new in the data.

"Usually you have a topic in mind when you want to start visualizing, but every now and then, it happens that you want to make a visualization, but don’t have anything in particular in mind. Makeover Monday (MOM) provides really clean datasets week after week, which is great for such occasions."
- Harpreet Ghuman

Check out data.world or Twitter for examples of past Makeover Monday vizzes.

NBA Salary History for Makeover Monday by Andy Kriebel.

How to get started:

For the advanced vizzer looking for a challenge: Workout Wednesday

Feeling comfortable and looking for a challenge? Workout Wednesday is a weekly challenge posted by Andy Kriebel, Rody Zakovich and Luke Stanke to test your Tableau technical knowledge. They also provide the solutions so you can keep learning. Try these challenges out to pick up some tips and tricks to apply to your next viz.


Connected Scatter Plot on Hover by Rody Zakovich

How to get started:

For everyone looking to do some good with data: Viz for Social Good

After participating in the various data activities and getting feedback from the Tableau community, you should feel more comfortable tackling new data sets. Contribute your new skills to a good cause by joining Viz for Social Good, founded by community superstar, Chloe Tseng.

Nonprofits launch a data visualization project with details about their data and their goals. Volunteers can join virtual or in-person hackathons to create visualizations for the nonprofit, sharing their work over Twitter. The nonprofit can then pick one or more visualization to feature on its communication channels.

How to get started:

  • Become a volunteer at Viz for Social Good to receive emails about active projects.
  • Respond to projects by posting visualizations on Twitter using the hashtag #VizforSocialGood.

Take the first step. Start learning Tableau.

Join the Academic Programs community and download your free Tableau for Students license or free Tableau for Teaching license today.

To start learning Tableau:

You might also be interested in...

Subscribe to our blog