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Alteryx Community Team
Alteryx Community Team

There are loads of great articles on Community about resources you can use to quickly upskill yourself in Alteryx 


But what about your mindset? What behaviors and attitudes often lead to success in learning Alteryx Designer? 


In this article, you will hear about the soft skills and strategies that Alteryx employees have identified to be instrumental when learning Alteryx Designer.  




Approaching datasets with curiosity can help you uncover important features of your data. Same with data tools—if you approach the software with curiosity, your exploration can lead to big discoveries that accelerate your learning journey. 




For example, you might see a tool in the toolbar and think, “what does this do?” After opening the example workflow, you notice that the problem the tool solves could help you clean some data you’ve seen in a weekly challenge or at work.  




         One of the best ways to learn Designer is to just start playing. What happens if I use this tool? What happens if I change this configuration? I wonder if I can make it do that? 


Designer is basically a big data sandbox. Knowing that your source data is safe and nothing is written until you say so, you are free to explore, learn, build, and have fun. Want to build macros for the first time? Go for it! Every time you play with a new tool or feature, your possibilities with Designer grow that much more. -Eric Roy, Education Curriculum Developer    



Along with curiosity comes experimentation. When you are curious about how to do certain data cleaning tasks in Alteryx, for example, you will start to try it out and learn as you go along. I’ve heard many advanced Alteryx users talk about how when they were just starting to learn Alteryx, they were thrown into a project and had to learn as they went—experimenting, iterating, and asking for help. This kind of experience can be valuable in a different way from consuming learning content. 




         How does a literature major become a leader in analytics enablement? Curiosity. Literature is all about pattern recognition. So is working with data. Curiosity to see how my educational background could work in a non-academic environment led me to data.


Curiosity to learn how I could do things better and more efficiently with data led me to Alteryx. I’m a puzzle aficionado, so give me any problem, and my natural curiosity to explore and solve kicks in. Alteryx feeds that beautifully. -Esther Cohen Bezborodko, Sr. Manager of Technical Training Delivery     





It might seem like working with data is strictly analytical and very different from creative work, but the commonality is problem-solving. There’s not always a one-size-fits-all solution when you are working with data, so getting creative will help you advance your Alteryx learning journey. 




         Alteryx tools are like Legos. Some of them are the expensive, custom-built pieces in the big Star Wars kits.  


But the basics that you learn first? The favorites tool palette? Those tools are like your standard old-school Lego bricks. There are a few different colors, shapes, and sizes. You have to figure out how they go together. But when you do? You can build almost anything. And after you master the basics, that’s when your creativity for using those basic tools starts to solve real problems.  


There is rarely a single solution to a problem with Alteryx. Most problems can be solved 3, 4, 10 different ways. And the difference is creativity. - Albert Bellamy, Customer Training Instructor 







As with learning any new software, you might hit roadblocks along the way. So what do you need? A little determination and grit. As Angela Duckworth says in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” 


It’s tempting to see a difficult challenge to solve in Alteryx and give up quickly. But spending some time struggling through it before asking questions can help you understand problems better. And if you can’t figure it out but you have spent some time trying, then you can go to someone and say, “I think I need to transpose this data, but I can’t figure out how to configure the tool,” instead of saying, “this data isn’t in the right format.” 




         Be brave. Try new things. When they don’t work out, learn why and try something else. There is no such thing as failure; rather, there is a learning opportunity. And the great thing about Alteryx is you can easily step back in your process. There is no risk of damaging your data as you flow with solving. -Esther Cohen Bezborodko, Sr. Manager of Technical Training Delivery    





Communication is an important skill in any industry. And when you are learning a new tool for your job, good communication helps with increasing collaboration and understanding. 


Alteryx workflows are visual in nature, which allows you to communicate the steps you’ve taken to solve your problem just with a screenshot. But often, you need additional context—why did you filter out records, why did you apply certain formulas, etc.? And if you can write down the context and effectively communicate your strategies to others, it’s a huge win in the long run.  




         Be ready to explain why you’ve done something. Use the annotations to help you remember why you’ve built the workflow in a particular way. This comes in handy when you need to share with others or re-evaluate solutions in the future. Often, complex real-world problems don’t have one correct solution, so being able to articulate why you’ve arrived at the answer helps others to buy in. -Ian Wiggins, Curriculum Development Manager 





Something that makes Alteryx unique is the incredibly knowledgeable and supportive community we have. 




Sometimes you just can’t do it all on your own—and that’s ok! You can ask questions in the discussion forums, and there are lots of community members that are happy to help. 


Even if you feel confident that you can accomplish your learning on your own, you might be surprised how much the community can add to your journey. Seeing the ways that more advanced users solve problems can give you ideas and show you best practices that would have taken much longer to figure out on your own.  




         The Alteryx Community changed my life.  Weekly challenges, solving user questions, writing blogs, and participating in User Groups, enriched me in ways that working with my usual data sets did not. Having a brain trust to assist me with my questions was invaluable. 


Through Community, my reach in enabling others expanded exponentially. ACEhood was to follow, based on my love and experience with enabling people in Alteryx, which led to the opportunity to lead instructor-led training here at Alteryx. -Esther Cohen Bezborodko, Sr. Manager of Technical Training Delivery 



What mindset, behavior, or soft skill helped you learn Alteryx? Let us know in the comments below! 



A big thanks to @ianwi@EstherBee@EricR and @MajorData for their contributions to this article


Megan Dibble
Data Journalist

Hi, I'm Megan! I am a data journalist at Alteryx. I work to make sure our blogs and podcast have high quality, helpful, and engaging content. As a data analyst turned writer, I am passionate about making analytics & data science accessible (and fun) for all. If there is content that you think the community is missing, feel free to message me--I would love to hear about it.

Hi, I'm Megan! I am a data journalist at Alteryx. I work to make sure our blogs and podcast have high quality, helpful, and engaging content. As a data analyst turned writer, I am passionate about making analytics & data science accessible (and fun) for all. If there is content that you think the community is missing, feel free to message me--I would love to hear about it.