Becoming a Tableau Desktop Specialist

Aug 28, 2019

Christine Rietmann

Hi Everyone!

My name is Christine and I have been studying business administration at Münster University of Applied Sciences for two years now. I was lucky enough to attend a class about Tableau taught by Klaus Schulte last semester and of course, I was thrilled by the opportunities Tableau offers. In class, I learned some basics about Tableau and data visualization in general, but there is so much more to learn. That is why I am honored to get the chance to do an internship at Klaus Schulte’s business.

Although I learned a lot in class, I read blogs and books and did some visualizations, it is hard to remember everything and to feel confident in using Tableau. So, Klaus suggested that I could improve my skills by preparing for the ‘Tableau Desktop Specialist Exam’. And now I am really excited to see what I can learn during the next weeks.

The Incredible Community

As everybody knows, this great community, which shares all their knowledge, makes it so much easier to get better. I am not using Tableau as long as most of you, but I already profited a lot from all the blog posts, YouTube-tutorials, and shared visualizations. So, it would be a pleasure for me to give something back to the community which might help some of you. Therefore, I want to share my preparing process. There are already many good blogs about ‘How to prepare for the Exam’ which will make my work much easier. And I can’t talk about my experience of taking the exam, but I can let you be a part of how to get there. So hopefully, I can encourage some of you to join my journey.

About Tableau Certification

Tableau offers three different Tableau Desktop Exams with various levels of difficulty. Tableau recommends a product experience of 3 months for the Tableau Desktop Specialist Exam, so this certification might be the best choice for beginners. The test “focuses on foundational functionality and product comprehension”. Another important aspect, which convinced me, is that the certification has no expiry date. So, if you pass the exam once you get a valid certification for a lifetime.

Bildschirmfoto 2019-08-27 um 10.10.59

The Tableau Conference in Las Vegas from 11th to 15th of November offers all Tableau product exams including the ‘Tableau Desktop Specialist Exam’. It has never been so easy to do an exam, you just have to register for the exam and to go there on your chosen day. Many dates are available. All information can be found here.

And the best thing is that our timetable (see below) matches perfectly with the beginning of the Tableau Conference. Besides that, Tableau offers a reduced price. So, take your chance and start your preparing process together with me!

My Way of Preparing 

I planned to learn a set quantity of content every week. Therefore, I made a timetable which includes all the topics from the exam guide. My personal goal is to do the exam in the mid of November.


First of all, I will give you an insight into my actual way of how to collect the information and learn them.

Tableau Website & Tableau eLearning

When starting with a new topic, I first look at the official Tableau website. The website provides free training videos and some of them match with the topics from the exam guide very well. (A lot of videos can be watched in different languages. For the people who are not English native speakers (like me), it is sometimes helpful to watch it in the native language.)

Another valuable resource I want to mention is the Tableau eLearning program, which also deals with a lot of topics mentioned in the exam guide.

Blogs & Books

Moreover, I key the topic on google and start reading blogs. I also love it to use books, so if you have the opportunity to borrow books from the library, from a friend or colleague, I recommend doing this. Whenever I find a good definition, summary or other things which I consider as important, I copy them and insert them into a document. Therefore, it is really important to also copy the link (or write down the name of the author). The link helps you to find the homepage if you want to read the whole blog, etc. again and on the other hand, the link is necessary if you want to use the information for something you publish.

For me, it is very helpful to read different blogs about the same topic, because different people explain the same topic in different ways and sometimes this makes it easier to understand. Besides that, I sometimes get into trouble because two statements from different authors sound contractionary to me. When this happens, I start to think about it and have a good look at the topic.

What I am doing first when this happens or when I have not understood an explanation, is to check if my translation of the words is correct. As a not native speaking person, you might have a wrong translation in your head which leads to confusion. Moreover, I look up all specialist terms and add the definition/explanation to my document.

Remaining Questions

All the questions I couldn’t answer directly, I mark yellow and try to answer on another day or after a break once again. If it still doesn’t work, I am lucky to have the opportunity to talk to Klaus. I think it is very helpful to speak with someone about the topic. In my case, Klaus and I have a weekly meeting to talk about the topics and to answer my questions. Generally spoken, my advice is to find someone in your surrounding, who has more experience with Tableau to help you, and this person certainly doesn’t have to be a Zen Master. 😉

And last but not least, I check out the functions and practice everything in Tableau.

What to Expect in the Next Weeks

With reference to my timetable, I will write a blog about the current topics every week. In this blog, I will quote statements, etc. which helped me to understand the content. I will list the blogs, books, and videos which provide further knowledge about the specific topic. I also try to document my struggles with a topic and how I solved them.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this long introduction and that I could motivate you to join me with getting ready for the Tableau Desktop Specialist Exam!

Topics which have been already published:


Jul 23, 2020, 7:41:32 PM
Kanika says:


For giving the exam, do we need to have Tableau installed in our system? Or will it be there when we enter their system?

Jul 1, 2020, 1:00:25 AM
Vijay says:

Just passed Tableau Desktop Specialist exam.
Thanks for putting all the required topics together for the exam aspirants like me.
This helped a lot to go through once before the exam.

Jun 24, 2020, 3:09:41 PM
AT says:

Hi Christine, well planned and covered all topics in details. Really enjoyed reading and passed Tableau Desktop Specialist very recently. Thank you very much.

I liked Desktop specialist content so much, just wondering any chance you making similar for Desktop Certified Associate too 🙂

Jun 17, 2020, 6:34:54 PM
RAJ says:

Hello Christine, the information you provided was awesome.
I am officially a TABLEAU DESKTOP SPECIALIST now. I am moving forward with Tableau…..