Article was originally published on author’s blog, here.

Learning to use data visualization programs

Imagine spending countless hours analyzing your data and finding a meaningful insight that can help shape direction of your business – the only missing piece is convincing functional stakeholders that your analysis is in fact valuable. In this article we will discuss learning resources offered by leading tools that help us communicate our data findings. In fact, no analysis no matter how thorough and complex it might be could yield any real value if the compelling recommendation is not provided to help company leadership take further action. This is exactly where data visualization comes into play: this software allows us to connect to disparate data sources, wrangle our data, perform ad-hoc analyses, distill a powerful data story and even build dashboards to enable further analysis by other folks in our organizations.

          According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms (1) the list of leaders in the data visualization fields include Microsoft Power BI, Tableau and Qlik . In an apparent effort to grow their user base and democratize data analytics, all of these providers offer fully functional versions of their programs free of charge or in case of Microsoft with an affordable subscription plan. Even better, these vendors formalized their knowledge base via various free online learning options.

1. Microsoft Power BI .

          With the ease of use rivaling only Tableau (# 2 on this list), Power BI Desktop has a great following of loyal Microsoft users who find its interface rather familiar. Microsoft offers different versions of Power BI products, starting with its free version of Power BI Desktop as well as reasonably priced Pro version subscription at under $10 per month. While Free version will suffice for most casual users, Pro version would be needed to help you share your work, collaborate with coworkers, enable apps, or embed APIs.

          Guided Learning is the official collection of lessons created for users new to the product. Another great resource would be edX’s Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI MOOC offered by Microsoft. Yet another free resource would be Introducing Microsoft Power BI ebook by Microsoft Press. You can also subscribe to Power BI’s official YouTube channel for more content. If this were not enough, when you feel stuck on your learning…

Continue reading: