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Over the last few days, I’ve been exploring Qlik’s training options, in hopes of beating a pathway to certification. I’ve been using Qlik Sense. Qlik offers three certification options for QlikSense: Business Analyst, Data Architect and System Administrator.

Each certification option is detailed on the Qlik website, with a list of prerequisites and an explanation of what the exam will cover. The certification documentation also provides a link to a set of free practice questions for each exam; I took a look at the Business Analyst practice questions and found their scope to be very broad-spectrum, covering general product knowledge, understanding how Qlik stores and handles data, using formulas from Qlik’s scripting language, and creating and formatting visualisations. Qlik recommends bringing field experience in the use of Qlik products to the certification exam, and I can see why; the practice questions draw upon a spectrum of general knowledge that would be very difficult to acquire without practical experience.

To support preparation, there’s a wealth of training material delivered via three main learning channels: Qlik Classroom, Qlik Continuous Classroom, and Qlik Community. Qlik Classroom delivers training via live or virtual sessions with an instructor and offers private on-site training. I was interested in a more self-service experience, so I looked into Continuous Classroom, an online resource for learning how to use Qlik products.

There’s so much material available through Continuous Classroom that Qlik provides an orientation video to make sure you get the most out of your subscription. The videos include a pop-up table of contents so you can see at a glance what content is contained in the video you’re about to watch. You can skip straight to any particular content segment, or use the search bar to search the video transcript’s content for a specific keyword and jump straight to that part of the video; which is a pretty cool feature.

Although the Continuous Classroom role-based learner pathways don’t provide a direct pathway to certification, they are generally aligned with the certifications on offer, and the certifications’ recommended resources lists contain links to the Continuous Classroom pathways. The role-based pathways are Business User, Business Analyst and Data Architect. Several of the introductory modules are provided free, so you can try them before deciding whether to subscribe. I tried out the Business User pathway’s analytics module, which begins with an introduction to data types and attributes.

Without a subscription to Continuous Classroom, the easiest training material to access is the free online Qlik Community resources. Besides forums and technical blogs, the Community centre contains hundreds of training videos, some of which are created by Qlik, while others have been created by users to share what they’ve learned and address learning challenges they faced

Confronted with such a broad and diverse array of learning options, I felt a bit overwhelmed. After following the video instructions for creating my first app using the sample data provided for the tutorial, I was a bit stumped on where to go next and began to understand why Qlik recommends practical field experience as preparation for certification. With so much material available, it’s difficult to know which tutorials to choose, and which avenues to follow.

I needed a project to focus my learning.

I find the best way to learn anything is to roll up your sleeves and just do it, and Qlik is no exception. Luckily, we have plenty of quality, usable data knocking around here at Optimal, so Tim set me up with some data to work with, and a brief for a project.

Within ten minutes, I’d learned a new way to connect to a data source, linked my data into a meaningful model, and used the data load editor to make changes to the script.

I think that having a brief for a project to focus your learning is the best way to make use of Qlik’s extensive learning resources. Instead of trying to navigate a learning pathway through a dense jungle of material, I now have specific problems to solve, which means having specific questions to ask. When it comes to learning something new, having direct questions to answer is always the most effective way to find the information you need.

 

Data is beautiful – Sarah

Want to read more? Try … A Brief and Incomplete History of Data Visualisation – Part 1, or more from Sarah.

We run regular business intelligence courses in both Wellington and Auckland.

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