Tableau enabled 1 million students and instructors with free software and data skills—and we’re just getting started

Data skills are no longer a “nice-to-have” option; they’re considered foundational to modern education. Multiple industries have called out the skill gap in quantitative and data analytics skills among college graduates.

Students in this generation are thirsty for knowledge that will set them apart from the competition—and educators are determined to provide career landing advantages. In 2011, Tableau recognized this need by providing students and instructors with free software and learning resources for teaching analytics in the classroom. Today, through our Academic Programs, we can proudly say that we have provided more than 1 million students and instructors across the globe with access to the data skills necessary to be successful in the workforce and, more importantly, to help build a better future for our world.

Stories of success from the classroom

Educators continue looking for creative ways to make learning analytics more accessible to students of all levels, and many have found that in Tableau. Dan Stone, Ph.D., Director of Business Analytics at the University of Kentucky, brought Tableau to the classroom to inspire students to learn accounting while having fun.

"What I love about Tableau is that students can both have fun and learn to create very useful products for organizations quickly. For example, I have a group of accounting students this semester working on a project about the optimal time to land a rover on Mars, based on weather and distance from earth data. This project illustrates the way that Tableau—by promoting visual thinking—can lift students’ thinking out of the traditional ruts of business reports and spreadsheets."

It is the passion, dedication, and creativity of educators like Dan that are helping close the data literacy gap and ultimately filling a pipeline of data talent that is still considered scarce. It is their privilege and responsibility to prepare students for success outside of the classroom, and many instructors describe Tableau knowledge as key to their student’s readiness.

"In preparing business students to make an impact in organizations, technical skills (statistics, machine learning) are necessary, but they are not sufficient. It is absolutely essential that students are able to communicate their results visually, connect with a broad audience, and truly tell a story with their data. For this reason, visualization with Tableau is an indispensable component of our programs at the Haslam College."

Bill Goldman, Chief Education Officer at the HUB of Analytics Education, has felt the effects in his work and from his students.

"Tableau’s ability to read, process, analyze, and visualize large data enables students to analyze complex questions without a computer coding background. The best part about teaching analytics with Tableau is knowing that students will walk away with real-world skills. Numerous former students have contacted me to thank me for their exposure to big data and Tableau as their careers have been fast-tracked because of their understanding of data and the software.

On a personal note, I’m also thankful for Tableau. The Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association (AAA) awarded me the Jim Bulloch Award for Innovations in Managerial Accounting. My submission was based on the cases I co-authored for the HUB of Analytics Education using Tableau. The award is sponsored by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)."

Buchi Okafor first encountered Tableau at Miami University of Ohio in a Finance course. It was his Tableau knowledge that landed him at a top organization for sports apparel.

"To say Tableau helped jump-start my career is an understatement. During my internship at Under Armour, I was able to utilize Tableau to create and automate reporting dashboards that once lived in excel. This was the main reason why I was able to get an offer to come back full-time, and eventually, what led me to my career in analytics. In every role since I've been able to incorporate Tableau to drive meaningful business decisions."

Many outcomes inspire and motivate our great educators of the world—driving impact, piquing curiosity, and the lightbulb moment, to name a few. As a former Tableau Trainer, I can personally attest to ‘the lightbulb’ moment as being a core motivator for my work. Learning that Tableau knowledge helped launch or accelerate a career was the icing on the cake.

We reached 1 million students and instructors. What’s next?

Tableau will continue investing in education and certification for data educators and learners. We understand the value of proven knowledge and skills, but we also believe that the true magic of Tableau is unlocked when teachers can provide individuals with the ability to drive real impact.

Tableau began as a research project at Stanford University, so it is suited that we invest in giving back to the foundation upon which we were built. We vow to continue supporting Generation Data, as they will be making the critical decisions that will develop and sustain our tomorrow.

Are you a student or an instructor? Check out our Academic Programs and helps us reach a million more!

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