So you want to learn data analysis and visualization, but you have absolutely no idea where to start. Well, there is no one specific starting point over another, as the needs of different people will vary. Fortunately, everybody in the current business climate has delved into data. People have realized that if data is analyzed and interpreted well, it can be a game changer for your business. That is why businesses are looking for data visualization experts from trustworthy sources like ActiveWizards to help them with not only analysis but also with visual representation of data. Among the varying needs of people, here I have put together a starter pack for beginners. This article is for those who want to learn the basics of data visualization from scratch.
It is crucial to push through all your Excel boundaries. Make sure you learn pivot tables. Many people tend to overlook Excel, but they have no knowledge as to what Excel is capable of doing. Excel can even make some excellent charts if you work on them well enough.
Tableau comes in two forms, the free public version and the paid version. All in all, this is a powerful tool that you can use, especially if you already have some data and need a tool to explore said data. Tableau is able to publish to the web or even to static graphics, which are often included in research papers. Alongside that, it also has the ability to print out large, wall-sized charts. If you go through their website, you will see some quality examples posted there that you can draw some inspiration from. Tableau has also acquired Infoactive, a tool that also does not require any coding. This implies that the future of Tableau is bright.
R is one of the best programming languages that works well with data. It comes with the advantage of being free, and it is supported by ongoing development, where some packages that are quite useful are being added on top of the base language. There are even free resources from which you can learn the R programming language. Coursera is one of these resources, although it is not recommended for a true beginner. Still, the classes can introduce you to essential data science terms and ideas, and they even walk you through data analysis, where you will learn useful R package tools like ggplot, which is usually used for data visualization. R can be quite useful if you need to do small but quick analyses and also ad hoc visualization. R can quickly explore any data set that Excel has struggled to handle, simply because it is big or not flexible.
Python is a programming language that is excellent for all data functions, including visualization. It is becoming increasingly popular in the data science world, as it has a general purpose and is at the same time a very powerful tool. While it has the advantage of being a multipurpose programming language, it can be overkill for a beginner. However, Python does have many libraries, most of them being dedicated to data visualization. These libraries are Seaborn and Bokeh, and they both have galleries that showcase the kind of visualization you can do with the aid of these libraries.