APIs aren’t magic, you are: advice from DataDevs to you

There’s no shortage of innovation, passion, and hard work that comes from each member of our DataDev community. That means our Devs are full of knowledge and experience they’re eager to share–and we’ve gathered a few pieces of their expert advice both for beginning Devs and our existing members. Take a look at what they had to say.

Don’t be intimidated by APIs

Elliott Stam, data scientist and author, finds that by jumping right into a project, you’ll realize that APIs aren’t magic–but you are. Here’s his advice for beginners: 

  • Get that free Tableau Online site by signing up for the Tableau Developer Program
  • Publish one or two simple workbooks
  • Create some "fake" users and groups to test different scenarios and use cases
  • Try using the REST API to query your users, groups, or workbooks
  • Try using the Metadata API to get info about your workbooks

Listen to recordings of mini-challenges

Roshni Gohil, Data Analyst at MIT, says that for an absolute Tableau beginner, last summer’s mini challenges and recordings about other developers’ solutions are great resources. Roshni adds that starting by solving a defined problem and then moving on to tackle more advanced challenges, one API at a time, helped him learn.

As an FYI, the mini challenges are now called DataDev Bingo! While you can’t win swag (unless you Tweet us and let us know you want some), completing the challenges still provides a constructive, productive learning experience. You can read more about DataDev Bingo here.

Solve a problem that matters to you

Brian Crant is an Engineer for Data Visualization at EVERFI and his advice for future DataDevs is to start learning one of the Tableau APIs by solving a problem that matters to them. He writes, “Build something that will make your life easier. When getting started, I’ve found it helpful to pull up the API sample usages on Tableau’s Github (rest-api-samples, js-api-samples) and participate in conversations on the Tableau DataDev Slack channel.”

Try multiple approaches

Analytics Consultant/System Integrator Jude Xavier knows that there’s more than one way to solve a problem with the DataDev tools. Jude recommends exploring as many options as possible so that we understand the pros and cons of each approach. For example, you can bring data in from the web via WDC, Hyper API, Custom Data Source SDK, and more–but it’s important to do your research and learn which one to use.

Also, when developers work on a solution, Jude says success requires us to think beyond our local development environment. He advises, “Ask questions like, what will it take to run the solution enterprise-wide? How does security fit in the solution? How will you manage the solution after deployment from an operations standpoint?” 

Personally, Jude says that his greatest challenge working with DataDev tools was learning to manage his local development workspace. His advice is to plan your workspace before you even start exploring the DataDev tools.

Challenge yourself

Urzula Kotarba, Senior Business Analyst at Motorola, tells us that sometimes, it's hard to push yourself to keep learning new things and not lose your enthusiasm. The best way to stay focused? Find a new challenge.

For example, join a hackathon to broaden your horizons, participate in weekly events, or even just check out the Tableau DataDev Slack channel to see if you can help another DataDev find a solution to a problem.

And with everything new you read, every exercise you do, and even every failure you experience–you’re one step closer to becoming a DateDev.

Urzula writes, “A lot of times, especially at the beginning, you won’t succeed. You might not finish a project on time, or your idea will have too many errors to work. But just by thinking about the problem and searching for ideas, you will learn so much. And with everything new you read, every exercise you do, and even every failure you experience–you’re one step closer to becoming a DateDev. And the first time when you actually finish a challenge? That's one of the best feelings in the world!”

The path to becoming an expert Tableau developer can be rocky, but this advice–and the supportive community it comes from–can help you find the right way forward.

Want more? Sign up for the Tableau Developer Program today to receive future tips and tricks and to access all the Tableau training you need to keep your skills sharp and put your best DataDev foot (or code) forward.

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