Student Ambassador Spotlight: Vedant Lakhani
The Tableau Student Ambassadors program gives students a jump start for career success, connects them with networking opportunities, and develops soft skills necessary for the workforce. Since the program’s start in 2019, we’ve supported more than 50 students around the globe—evangelizing Tableau and nurturing the data rockstars of tomorrow.
We wanted to learn more about our 2020/2021 Student Ambassadors and their biggest takeaways from developing and hosting a Tableau workshop for students. Hear from these amazing students—Vedant Lakhani, Tokolo Kashupi, and Tanish Jain—on their ambassador journeys and their collaborative global workshop:
Let’s start from the beginning. Why did you become a Tableau Student Ambassador?
I was introduced to Tableau by a friend. Not long after, I used Tableau for a hackathon with a problem statement on long-term capacity planning for water in the city of Mumbai. We were semi-finalists in the competition and since then my interest in Tableau grew exponentially. I got drawn into the world of data analysis, visualization, and the wondrous insights that can be drawn from data using Tableau. Come 2020, I saw the Tableau Student Ambassadors program when browsing the Tableau website, and I just knew I wanted to be a part of it.
What have you learned from the ambassadorship?
Oh, where do I even start? The ambassadorship program has been one of the finest experiences of my student life. The fellow ambassadors aren't just colleagues, but a family of friends and not just any friends—I think we all have plans to meet, hopefully someday soon. The Tableau community has been helpful, encouraging, and supportive. I have learned invaluable skills like networking, collaboration, leadership, and data-driven decision-making. I’ve also learned more about how people and businesses can leverage Tableau to see and understand data.
Let's talk about your amazing student workshop! You three are all from different universities, in different parts of the world—tell us about your workshop and how you all collaborated to run such a successful event.
I got in touch with many of my fellow Ambassadors to ask if they'd like to collaborate with me. Tanish Jain, Tokolo Kashupi, and I orchestrated a five-day hands-on workshop for students. We were jubilant to get 200+ registrations. We wanted the students to get a preview of Tableau, including basic to intermediate level charts, visualizations, and concepts like scatter plots, dual axes charts, symbol maps, pie charts, stacked bar charts, multiple-measures-combined charts. Participants also learned how to build dashboards and how visualizations interact with each other.
What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
Despite 200+ registrations, we faced low event turnout. Around 80 people attended the first day, but we were still happy to interact and work with them. We also invited Tableau Zen Master Marc Reid on the third day of the workshop, so, it was not easy adjusting the time and topics he was going to take up but in the end, it all turned out to be fine and all the students were mind blown with the session where he demonstrated on how to use Map Layers in Tableau.
What is one thing you learned in this experience that surprised you?
It is not easy to be on the other side (teaching side) of the workshop! Throughout this year we've been taking online classes in college, and we've always been on the receiving/listening end of it. It was refreshing to give hands-on training to students, especially because they were interactive and open to learning.
What advice would you give to other students who want to learn Tableau?
Students, whether you are new to Tableau or looking to learn, I have one thing to tell you: "I see the future."
Tableau is one of the most in-demand tools you can learn to solve various problems and challenges, discover the undiscovered, make predictions, and contribute insights for the world to see. Tableau is for anyone and everyone—your background or field don’t matter. Just be curious. A data analyst is never afraid to dive deep and look at the data to unearth something valuable for everyone.
If you could give a tip or suggestion to the current academic world regarding data analytics and data skills, what would it be?
The world works and thrives on data. Everything around us is data, but not all of it is relevant or useful. It is a data analyst's job to ask effective questions, prepare relevant data, create and transform it, analyze, share and act on it to solve problems, create something new, or simply make decisions. Thus, data literacy is so important, and I urge the academic world to take it seriously.
Instructors and teachers, please keep students involved in real-time projects on the topics they really care about. Being data literate and invigorating the interest in data skills and analysis can be achieved only through passionate instructors and fun, interactive classes filled with practical knowledge about real-life problems that can be solved by data.
What have you been working on recently?
I recently took a professional certification course on Data Analytics, and for the second year running, my team finished as semi-finalists in a hackathon. We used Tableau, and the rest is history. I have also been exploring the latest version of Tableau and Einstein Discovery—it has truly blown me away. I am planning to work on a major city planning project with many modules, and I can't wait to get started!