Becoming a Tableau developer is a lucrative career step that will open a range of opportunities on your data science career path. Businesses are becoming increasingly aware that data is the currency that drives their growth. But with every terabyte comes a need for a specialist who can extract valuable insights from them using software like Tableau. With an increasing number of companies adopting the software, demand for Tableau developer profiles is also high. In fact, firms from across the board are always on the lookout for skilled individuals that can help them make sense of what they already have in their database reserves. So how can you get started on this promising journey? In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the role and what you need to land the job.
Table of Contents
- What Does a Tableau Developer Do and How Do They Fit Inside a Company?
- What Is the Tableau Developer Career Path?
- What Is the Tableau Developer Salary?
- What Are the Key Skills Required to Apply for Tableau Developer Jobs?
- What Is the Required Tableau Developer Education?
- What Is the Necessary Tableau Developer Experience?
- Becoming a Tableau Developer: Next Steps
What Does a Tableau Developer Do and How Do They Fit Inside a Company?
Tableau developers are much like wizards, minus the pointy hats. They can create stunning, comprehensive visuals from the ordinary and mundane with just a few spins of their wand – or, in this case, a few mouse clicks. The key responsibilities of a Tableau developer are to sift through relevant data in order to extract the most advantageous bits and create charts, graphs, tables, and more, which they can then forward to management. Essentially, the position involves:
- Preparing and visualizing data for interpretation
- Creating reports for stakeholders
- Designing dashboards that align with the company’s strategic needs
But where does the data come from? Before they do anything, developers must communicate with the stakeholders first. Once they know what the goal is, they can start on their tasks.
Once built, the reports are easy to update and provide accurate and on-demand data, which the company’s senior leadership can take advantage of. In other words, having a Tableau developer on board can prove to be a valuable asset for business intelligence.
Where in the hierarchy does this role fit? Well, as a developer, you will be part of a company's analytics team and specialize in creating Tableau dashboards. In order to build the reporting requested by higher-ups, you will have to communicate with a plurality of stakeholders inside the company’s departments, such as:
- Database administration
- Data governance team
Moreover, in this position, you will also work closely with other in-house business analysts, as well as talk to subject matter experts (SMEs) who can potentially help you build a better dashboard.
As a result, the Tableau developer is a mid-level position in terms of a company’s hierarchy. While you can find entry-level job openings, those would be a rare occurrence as senior leadership people prefer to talk to analysts with some experience.
If you’re just entering the field, you should focus on building your Tableau skills by taking some courses. It’s also a good idea to build a portfolio as you go, so you can show potential employers. In terms of professional experience to put on your resume, look for data science internships or entry-level data science jobs that will allow you to smoothly transition into a Tableau developer role later.
What Is the Tableau Developer Career Path?
A career in data science and data visualization is an exciting one, and for an aspiring Tableau professional, the future looks ripe with opportunities. One possible career path for the Tableau developer is to become a data scientist. Granted, first you need to obtain coding abilities with SQL or Python in order to integrate in Tableau, learn advanced statistical methods, and how to apply these new skills in relevant case studies.
Of course, that isn’t the only option. Another possible development outcome is to climb up to an analytics manager position. The communication and analytics skills you gain as a developer will benefit you, however, you’d need to learn more advanced statistical, analysis, and management techniques before taking this next step.
As for employment outlooks, companies from all industries, such as FMCG, healthcare, telecommunications, and technology, will benefit from a Tableau reporting system in their arsenal. Therefore, aspiring Tableau developers can look forward to a wide array of fields to choose from.
That being said, a company needs to be rather large – amounting to at least 500+ employees – to be able to afford a dedicated specialist. In most firms, the in-house data analysts will play the role of these developers (but they usually have somewhat limited knowledge). Therefore, if you’re looking to impress with your Tableau skills and quickly move up the food chain, then perhaps starting as a data analyst is a good steppingstone.
What Is the Tableau Developer Salary?
According to Glassdoor, the US national average Tableau developer salary is \$97,578 per year. That being said, if you successfully snag an entry-level position, you can expect to make somewhere around $73K. And if you are more experienced, then there’s good news – the high salary threshold is approximately \$130K annually.
What Are the Key Skills You Need to Apply for Tableau Developer Jobs?
As a Tableau developer, you will need an array of abilities to successfully implement your daily responsibilities. This includes both hard and soft skills.
First, there are 3 main software tools you should be a master of:
Developers use these to visualize, create, and maintain their reports, as well as build informative dashboards.
Meanwhile, for the soft skills, you need to be highly organized as this role includes a variety of tasks that you need to keep track of. The company stakeholders will also want access to the files you work with, which means they need to be properly stored and presented.
Speaking of stakeholders, they are key points of contact. For this reason, Tableau developers need to be skilled communicators as a large part of their responsibilities is to report to senior executives, gain insights from them, and understand their needs.
What Is the Required Tableau Developer Education?
According to Indeed.com, about 50% of the Tableau developer job listings on their website in the last 3 years have required a Bachelor’s degree in IT, computer engineering, software engineering, computer science, data science, or another relevant field.
What Is the Necessary Tableau Developer Experience?
On average, you’re going to need 2-3 years of experience before you land a job as a Tableau developer. Since the role is at a mid-seniority level, it makes sense for companies to be looking for individuals with proven track records.
In order to gain some experience with Tableau, if you’re just starting out, download its free online version – Tableau Public – and practice your skills. The interface is straightforward and easy to navigate, so it won’t take you too long to learn the ropes.
If you’re looking for a good starting point, the 365 Data Science Introduction to Tableau course is an excellent way to get to know the software. You’ll learn how to handle the functionalities and apply your new skills with practical exercises. What is more, you have the opportunity to take exams that will verify your abilities with industry-recognized certificates.
What Does a Tableau Developer Do?
In a nutshell, a Tableau developer’s responsibilities are to prepare data visualizations, create reports for project stakeholders, and design dashboards that align with the strategic needs of their company. Essentially, they drive the decision-making process by providing business-oriented insights that will improve performance and answer pressing challenges that the company is facing. In terms of industries, you can expect to find an opening in most big companies across FMCG, healthcare, telecommunications, and technology.
As part of their day-to-day, Tableau developers work with stakeholders and higher management, as well as communicate with the company’s data team (if one is available). By extracting valuable insights and generating datasets from multiple sources, they create and present visually pleasing graphs, charts, and tables that help the higher-ups better understand what steps they need to take to get their business to the next level. For that, the Tableau developer is a strategic role inside a company as they turn complex data into easy-to-understand reports.
Who Can Become a Tableau Developer?
People with 2-3 years of experience with Tableau or who hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in IT, computer engineering, software engineering, computer science, data science, or another relevant field can qualify for a Tableau developer job.
The role involves close communication with higher management, therefore requires a seasoned skillset to meet the requirements. Because this position is at a mid-seniority level within a company’s hierarchy, it makes sense for companies to be looking for individuals with proven track records.
Of course, even if you don’t have the work experience, you can still successfully land a job as a Tableau developer as long as you can prove you can put knowledge into practice. That is to say, you need to impress your employers with a rich portfolio.
Keep in mind that having the appropriate degree is also important. Employers will be looking at your formal education and set you tasks based on the capabilities that you’ve acquired during your studies.
Is Tableau Developer a Software Developer?
No, Tableau developers are not software developers – the 2 roles are vastly different from each other. Essentially, a software developer will be in charge of software creation. In other words, they develop applications and programs for the end-user, as well as maintain their continuous updates. Their duties are practical and involve strong coding knowledge, for example, in SQL, Python, Java, C++, or other programming languages. You can expect more computer science than data science if you go for a software developer role.
Meanwhile, the Tableau developer is essentially a data scientist-in-training. What you can expect to do on this job is plenty of analysis and visualization, as well as breaking down complex numbers into easy-to-interpret chunks for non-technical individuals, i.e., your company stakeholders. This role is much more communicative and requires lots of soft skills as well, as you’ll often have to conduct reports and present data in front of management. Of course, some programming skills are required here too, especially if you want to take your analysis to the next level by integrating SQL or Python with Tableau.
Becoming a Tableau Developer: Next Steps
Becoming a Tableau developer is a lucrative and rewarding data career, with the potential to grow into higher positions along a company’s hierarchy. Before you embark on this journey, however, you need to gain some experience and upskill in order to meet the industry standards.
If you need a boost of knowledge, the 365 Data Science Program is here for you. It offers self-paced courses led by renowned industry experts. Starting from the very basics all the way to advanced specialization, you will learn by doing with a myriad of practical exercises and real-world business cases. If you want to see how the training works, start with a selection of free lessons by signing up below.