Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?
Kirk: Data modeling, data analysis, visual analytics
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Kirk: I was approached about writing a book on data modelling in Tableau. At first, I was unsure I wanted to write the book because I assume there were already texts on the topic. After a short review, I realized there were no books. Also, I realized when looking at all the data modelling components of Tableau, that a book was needed! I went from hesitant to excited in less than 24 hours!
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Kirk: The majority of my research was seeing what had already been written on the topic. Otherwise, it didn’t take a lot of time as I was very familiar with the platform. I had been helping some of Tableau’s largest customers with data modelling for the last 5 years.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Kirk: My biggest challenge was getting in a routine to write on a schedule. I had written a lot in the past but never in such a long form. I would like to say I had it figured out, but it mostly came down to a very heavy writing schedule closer to submission deadline!
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Kirk: Tableau was very late to the game in term of robust data modelling. I would say they weren’t really serious about it at all until 2018. Up to that point, they really relied on their customer already having clean data and partnerships with companies like Alteryx. Since 2018, I think Tableau have invested more in data modelling than any other area of their platform. Prep Builder came out in early 2018. Relationships came in 2020. The Data Management add-on was released bring catalog and lineage features. Lenses and better control of Ask Data came in 2021/2022. And a lot more is coming! The scariest thing about writing the book was the fear of missing so many important capabilities that would release between writing and publishing.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Kirk: As crazy as it sounds, there really isn’t a book that covers the entirety of data modelling in Tableau. You can find books on modelling in Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder but nothing that covers the entire stack as we did in this book.
Q: What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?
Kirk: That the components that make up Tableau data modeling can seem very complex, especially compared with other BI tools that have less modelling components. However, once you take the time to learn them, you will see that they make sense in a modular fashion. The Tableau approach gives you much better flexibility than other BI tools.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Kirk: Also start with audience and use case. When the learning has practical examples, it is much more interesting, and the learnings are much stickier.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Kirk: kirkmunroe.com and my company, paintwithdata.com
Q. Can you share any blogs, websites, and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Kirk: The journey with Packt has been great. The team is incredibly supportive, and I would definitely recommend it to other aspiring authors with knowledge that needs to be shared.
Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?
Kirk: Just the Tableau community right now…
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Kirk: I have to admit that I’m mostly just into Tableau these days. There are so many Tableau community projects to keep yourself up-to-date on the technology. I also read a lot of books on the art of data visualization and storytelling with data.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Kirk: I spent a lot of time getting the outline done first. The organization came from thinking about all the use cases I’ve seen for Tableau data modelling over the last 5 years and putting it in a logical order.
Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Kirk: Find the time of day and week that work best for you and commit to writing on a regular basis. It will save a lot of stress as deadline approaches!
Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, please share.
You can find Kirk‘s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here