With everyone at home, unable to meet in person, the DC TUG had their first virtual meeting (March 25, 2020).  The theme of this meeting was Workout Wednesday.  The plan was to start as a big group, do our regular welcome and announcement, introduce the small group leaders and their Workout Wednesday exercises, break into small groups in separate conference rooms, then come back together at the end to discuss what we learned.


It may sound like a cliche marketing ploy to say that a data visualization software changed my life, but I can quite honestly say that’s what Tableau has done for me.



Last year, our DC data + women group had the idea of working with local schools to educate youth about the field of data analytics.  We felt that when we were in high school, we weren’t exposed to data and didn’t realize that data analytics could be a job.  For me personally, I really enjoyed math, technology, problem solving, and photography.  At the time, I didn’t realize that these are great qualities for a data visualization developer!  It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I was introduced to Tableau and realized the possibilities of data analytics.

In order to get started with our workshop, we partnered with the Federal City Public Services Foundation.  The foundation is focused delivering resources, opportunities, and experiences that improve life outcomes for girls and teen women.  They have a lot of the connections and contacts at the DC Public Schools and that’s just what we needed to get the workshop off the ground.


In March, we decided to start drafting up ideas for our 3 hour hands-on data analytics workshop. We would start off with some lightning talks (short 10 minute presentations) about fields within data analytics such as data science and data visualization.  In the lightning talks, students would learn what the field is, what tools are used, and hear the perspective from professionals in data fields.  Following the lightning talks, we would conduct a hands-on analysis of a dataset using Tableau. 

In April, we held a “hackathon” with our DC D+W members to draft the workshop and brainstorm ideas.  At the workshop we asked our members questions like:
“Why are you interested in data?”
“How did you get into a data field?”
“What are some of your favorite data projects or data sets?”
See documents from our hackathon here.


Now that we had a workshop agenda and some ideas in place, we needed to decide when and where to run our pilot.  We contacted a few schools, but with the end of the school year coming up, proms, and final exams, we were running out of time!  Thankfully, one of our D+W members got us in contact with Deputy Major’s Office of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), who was hosting the InnoMAYtion Hackathon for women, youth, and entrepreneurs in May at the Washington Post.  We had a meeting with them and they were really excited to extend an invitation for us to conduct our pilot at their hackathon!


With a location and a plan, we had two final hurdles.  Many of you may have seen our gofundme page, where we were fundraising for laptops to use in our workshop.  We fundraised enough money to rent 20 computers for the pilot and are hoping to fundraise the remaining amount needed to purchase our own computers for future workshops.  The last hurdle was condensing our 3 hour workshop into a 2 hour workshop, since our session was only allotted 2 hours.  It’s hard to decide what to cut when everything is really important to all of us!


Finally, it was the day of the workshop.  I had packed and unpacked our 20 rented computers into my car twice and was finally taking them up to our workshop room.  The turnout for the event was great and we had a fantastic group of students eager to learn about data analysis and Tableau.  Take a look at our short video of the event.  In the workshop, we sketched out visualizations, learned about data analytics, and created a very simple interactive Tableau dashboard.  Additionally, for our students to continue learning, we provided supporting documentation and additional resources that the students could take with them.

We were very excited as to how well the workshop turned out.   Now it’s time to make revisions and get ready for the next school year.  We want work on our amount of presentations compared to hands-on exercises, so that the students are actively engaged and working on exercises throughout the workshop. Next year, we are hoping to conduct the workshop 4 times throughout the year, then have our own “Iron Viz Junior” with all the participants!


Collaboration was key in the planning and execution of the event!  We have a great group of women and men that are members of our D+W chapter, who provided great input, resources, and connections for us.  We feel strongly about sharing our experience, so that others can learn about what we did and to further advocate for women in data fields. We took lots of pictures, videos, and have been documenting the event on social media and blogs.  Share this post, share our video, share our documentation!  Let’s work on closing the gender gap in STEM fields!


Have you wanted to see exactly what users are viewing on your Tableau Server?  Or maybe you’ve been asked “Is anyone even looking at my dashboards?!”


You have to set goals, if you don’t know what you’re aiming for what are you going to base your career and personal decisions off of?

At the beginning of this year our DC Data + Women group did a workshop on setting goals. Emily Kund facilitated a fantastic workshop outlining goals and how to accomplish them! Once you have drafted your goals you need to create an actionable plan with a timeline and milestones to get you there. Note that your goals may change or evolve so it’s good to revise when necessary.

Shortly after graduating from college and getting my first job I was introduced to Tableau. I thought the tool was really great and a lot of fun when I got to play with my own data. After attending the 2013 Tableau Conference I learned about the community and how big it was. I decided that I wanted to become a leader and voice of the community. At the time I wasn’t really sure how I was going to accomplish this goal but I knew I needed to:
1. Post more visualizations to Tableau Public
2. Get on Twitter (because we all know how much the Tableau community loves Twitter!)
3. Start a technical blog that would help new and experienced users
Fast forward 4 years, I’m currently a Tableau Ambassador, organizer of the DC Tableau User Group, and one of the organizers of the DC Data + Women chapter.


The only person who can get you to your goals is YOU! Be proactive in following through with your plan. Talk to your boss about your goals and what you can do at work to accomplish them. Maybe you should be working on different projects or interacting with a different part of the business. For others, this might include trainings such as conferences, workshops, or bootcamps. If the thought of talking to your boss about your goals seems like “a lost cause” or you feel like your job isn’t going to help you achieve your goals, maybe it’s time to reconsider your job or career.

In order to accomplish my goals I needed to network and get my name out there. In order to do this I started to attend local meetup groups, used social media, started blogging and presenting.


In order to achieve your goals you might have to step out of your comfort zone. This isn’t always fun but we should embrace it!

When it comes to setting your goals, set the bar high. If your goal is going to be “a piece of cake” you won’t feel as accomplished when you achieve it. Think big!

For me networking (in person) was out of my comfort zone. I felt anxious knowing that I would have to introduce myself to complete stranger and then find something to talk about. I also knew that if I wanted to get my name out there I would have to do more presentations. This was something I really dreaded and still do sometimes! But, the more presentations I do the more confident I feel.

In the data visualization and Tableau communities it really helps to get feedback. Don’t be worried about looking inexperienced. The community is great and the best work comes from collaboration. Put your ideas out there!

Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments no matter how big or small they are! Every accomplishment big or small will help you achieve your big goals!


When you're new to Tableau or working on complex calculations it's easy to get circular in your thoughts.  Here are some tips and tricks that I use to help organize my thoughts when creating calculations.


Recently I’ve been getting questions from new users, “I’m new to Tableau and data visualization.  I’m really interested in learning more.  What should I do?”

When it comes to Tableau or really anything the best way to learn (in the words of Nike) is “just do it!”  Here is the advice that I have been giving to new users.