29.01.21

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How I passed the Alteryx Designer Advanced Certification in 10 days

    When I first got my hands on a copy of Alteryx Designer, I had big expectations for the software and more than a little self-imposed pressure to impress. I had just started my new job as a Data & Analytics Consultant at Keyrus, and Alteryx was the newest tool in my data analysis repertoire. Of course, I also wanted to make a good impression; when my manager let me know that achieving the Core certification was within my goals for my first month, my first thought was, “I can do better than that”.

    Four days later, I had passed my Core certification; and just over a week later I passed my Advanced certification on my first try. It was pretty fast – don’t worry if you take a little longer to get to this stage – but I think that, with the right approach, gaining your Designer Core and Advanced Certifications should be an early goal in more people’s Alteryx journey.

    How you can fast track your path to certification

    What was it that allowed me to progress this quickly with a brand new piece of software?

    1. Leverage your existing knowledge and skills.
    Alteryx is not my first analytics tool; I have been an advanced user of Excel and Tableau for a few years. A lot of knowledge and concepts translated across to Alteryx. This is true of most other new Alteryx users I have come across. Whether your background is Excel, programming languages, visualisation tools or something else, there will be valuable skills you can apply to your new Alteryx journey.

    2. Focus on learning key Alteryx concepts before applying to real-world tasks.
    Expect to put in some time and effort to learn the software for its own sake, before you try and apply it to your real use-cases. It can be tempting to dive straight into trying to use Alteryx for practical purposes on day one. However, getting to know the ins and outs of tools and their configuration options will equip you with a better understanding of what Alteryx can do, compared to just learning the tools needed for a specific task. Learning in this way gives you access to broader concepts and whole suites of tools which will make you a more powerful Alteryx user in the long-run.

    3. Make use of the Alteryx Community for free training and study resources.
    Like me, you may find yourself relying on self-learning resources while getting to grips with Alteryx. Many of the best resources are available for free via the Alteryx Community website. I found everything I needed for the Advanced Certification from the following resources:
    . Alteryx Interactive Lessons and Videos – to learn the core skills
    . Alteryx Weekly Challenges – for more practice
    Certification Preparation Guides – for exam-specific prep

    The Alteryx Academy team produce amazing content which can help you get a broad understanding of Designer, and they have tutorials on all the key areas of the Advanced Certification. Start with the structured Learning Paths, which will guide you through the Interactive Tutorials and Videos in a logical order.

    Watching tutorials can feel slow for someone who is used to working quickly in other software. In this case it is time extremely well spent – the content is packed with useful information about the full scope of what the tools can do, and best practices for their configuration. Progressing through all of the tutorial content will prepare you for the many different things you may want to achieve with Alteryx in future.

    4. Put your skills to use to prepare for practical questions.
    Passive learning will only ever get you so far – you should supplement the Learning Paths with putting your skills into practice. I found that the Alteryx Weekly Challenges were the best resource for trying out my skills, and applying what I had learned in creative situations.

    The back catalogue of over 200 challenges are catalogued and tagged by theme and difficulty level, so you can focus on your areas for improvement. I started my journey by doing lots of beginner-level challenges to get comfortable with the core principles of Alteryx; these got me all the way to my Core certification. When I found myself getting stuck on more advanced topics, like iterative macros, searching by topic helped me find lots of practice examples. I also took the time to look at other people’s challenge answers – they are an amazing resource to learn the ‘best’ way to do things.

    5. Know where to look for reference material.
    Finally, learning to solve problems you don’t know the answer to is just as important as building your knowledge. Like when we work in Alteryx in real life, during the certification exams you can use search engines and online resources to help answer the questions. The Alteryx Community is jam packed with brilliant content; looking things up in the documentation, forum posts and blogs is a vital Alteryx skill.

    Feeling inspired?
    . Download a free 14-day trial of Alteryx Designer to try it for yourself:
    👉 Click here
    . Head to the Certification area on the Alteryx Community to find out more about the exams on offer:
    👉 Click here
    . Check out these webinars on Data Analytucs Certification:
    👉 Click here