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Engine Works Blog

Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-to's.
Creative Director
Creative Director

circular-bike-hh01.jpgWelcome to the latest installment of the Alteryx Blog about Alteryx blogs – The Learning Edition.

 

Every day I am amazed by our community of faithful Alteryxians, by the neat things they are doing and the passion they do it with. It is a true testament to a wonderful product that is so diverse in its application, so complex in its depth, yet so simple to use. Now, the last bit of that statement may draw a little ire, depending on how long you’ve been using the software, your use cases, or how you were introduced to it, but it is becoming a popular trend where we identify superusers before their first anniversary using Alteryx.

 

As I am the keeper of content here, I am always looking to understand what content works, how it is discovered, and what we can do next. You can build some very complex Alteryx workflows, but every workflow is essentially doing the same thing: taking data on a journey to become more intelligent and improve something – be it a process, a communication, or even ourselves.

 

So how do we learn to use Alteryx, let alone master it? It all starts with placing tools on the canvas. A task that, for some, seems daunting. Luckily, there are a ton of resources available, not only here but out in the wild interwebs. Here are a few outside resources that have caught my eye:

 

Business Analytics Blog  

 

It was the result of a simple google search: “How do I learn Alteryx” and Andrew Watson’s blog came up (on page 2).

Googlesearch.jpg

Andrew Watson a member of our community (@AndrewW current rank: Fireball) who is blogging about Alteryx with short, instructional, and well documented “how-to” articles.

I like the simplicity of these articles and I also like the complexity of the concepts Andrew is building upon. His first post was merely about installing the product and it doesn’t take long before he’s building workflows to call *.bat files and using the Run Command tool to Publish to Tableau Server

AlteryxPublishToTableauWorkflow

 

Information Lab Data School

 

I guess this wouldn’t be a blog about Alteryx blogs and learning Alteryx without a shout out to the Information Lab. The Data School blog is full of short how-to articles, but the piece that I wanted to highlight echoes the point that there are many ways you can use Alteryx to arrive at the same answer: Four Different ways to remove duplicate records in Alteryx

unique 

 

What I like about this approach to teaching Alteryx is it explores a typical use case that anyone working with data knows, but in introducing 4 different tools to a user, the user not only learns new tools but also can recognize the very different outputs and through puts of each tool. Understanding what each tool does is just as important as knowing what comes out. That is how you will learn what should come next.

 

Pixel Mixer

 

Once upon a time I was talking to a newly hired engineer, asking how they were doing with getting up to speed with Alteryx. The emphatic response was, “Once I learned you could have more than one output stream on a tool, it clicked for me!” I was floored. And that engineer has gone on to do some amazing things at Alteryx since that conversation.

Apparently, this is more common than I ever would have thought and why I found Crossing Streams is a Good Thing in Alteryx so meaningful.

 

PixelMixer_flow

 

Michael Mixon (@mix_pix current rank: Asteroid) explores a great use case, unraveling a little mess of an excel file, but he teaches a valuable lesson: go ahead and split it all up, it can always be joined back together.

 

3danima8’s Blog

 

Ken Black (@Ken_Black current rank: Meteor) has amassed quite the volume of blog posts and it would be easy for me to focus on his article “Proof why alteryx is great Software” because it does embody the sentiment that I am trying to drive home – that Alteryx is easy to learn and it teaches you how to be better at Alteryx. But it was actually another recent post that I wanted to point out – How to use and better understand Batch Macros.

 

 

Ken addresses an important theme here – that in teaching certain concepts, the WHY is equally as important as the HOW. Sometimes, for the sake of simplicity, we gloss over this critical detail and it doesn’t do our audience any favors.

 

How are YOU learning Alteryx?

 

I’d love to hear how you are learning Alteryx. What has helped you develop and hone your skills? What would you like to see us offer in the way of materials for teaching and learning Alteryx? I’m all ears.

 

I hope you’ll check out the blogs I highlighted above and while you are on those pages, dig into the other rich content these bloggers offer. Please let me know if there is a blog out there you'd like me to highlight next time.

Tara McCoy

Tara McCoy is the Creative Director at Alteryx. Since joining Alteryx in 2004, Tara has held roles in Product Management, Content Engineering, and Community where her focus has always been on delivering an amazing product experience with Alteryx. From designing product icons and community badges, procuring excellent swag, concocting engaging contests, and crowdsourcing content from internal and external Alteryx advocates alike, Tara is dedicated to the Alteryx brand and wants everyone to experience the thrill of problem solving with Alteryx.

Tara McCoy is the Creative Director at Alteryx. Since joining Alteryx in 2004, Tara has held roles in Product Management, Content Engineering, and Community where her focus has always been on delivering an amazing product experience with Alteryx. From designing product icons and community badges, procuring excellent swag, concocting engaging contests, and crowdsourcing content from internal and external Alteryx advocates alike, Tara is dedicated to the Alteryx brand and wants everyone to experience the thrill of problem solving with Alteryx.

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