Power BI Training Self Assessment: What Training Path Should I Take?

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You want to see which Power BI training option is good for you. You want to see should you start from the beginning or focus on a specific component of Power BI? This is the question that I often get asked when people come to me and asking about bespoke training for their teams. Here in this blog post, I have listed a number of questions that you can ask yourself, and assess to see which training option is best for you.

Introduction

Back in the old days, when Power BI was new, The training for Power BI was mainly one-day training, one option. But now, Power BI is such a vast area that you can never fit it in one day of training. In my training content, I do have Power BI training options more than 10 days of content! It is hard sometimes for people to choose what training path is good for them.

Recently I had a good friend of mine asking about a checklist for Power BI training attendees. While I had that always in my mind and answered questions of many people who reached to me and asking about training options, I never actually written about it. I started with a few bullet points in a word file, but then it ended up to be a document. So I thought better to publish it as a blog post for everyone to use. This is the first blog post of many on this area. I am intending to create a Power BI training self-assessment test too in the near future.

The checklist (or set of questions) below is not an exam or a test. It is a self-assessment. Be honest when you answer any questions, and then you can see what are areas in Power BI that you need more training on it. I have split the question list by two categories: by the technical skillset, or by job function.

What Power BI Training Option is best for me? Based on Skillset and Technical Understanding

In this part, based on what are your technical understandings of different components of Power BI, you can assess yourself to see what training option is best for you.

Power BI Essentials and Visualization

  1. Have you created a report with data from multiple sources?
  2. Have you done data cleaning and preparation in Power Query (Data Transform)?
  3. Have you written any calculations in DAX, or used Quick Measures or calculated columns?
  4. Have you used more than four or five visualization types in Power BI Desktop?
  5. Do you have at least one Power BI report/dashboard published on the website?
  6. Have you set the schedule refresh of your Power BI dataset?
  7. Do you know the difference of Dashboard vs Report vs Dataset?
  8. Have you created master-detail reports using Power BI?
  9. Do you know the best practices of using each visual and scenarios to use each?
  10. Have you used Bookmarks and buttons for better navigation in your report?

If your answer is No, to any of the questions above; you need basic to intermediate training on Power BI: Power BI for Data Analysts. And/Or you can also get the book Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, Book 1 and 2 as free materials if you want.

If your answer to all questions above is yes, then you can go to the next set of questions.

 

Data Transformation using Power Query

  1. Do you know more than ten transformations in Power Query?
  2. Do you know the difference between Duplicate and Referencing a query?
  3. Do you know how the enable load helps with the performance of the report?
  4. Do you know the difference between Merge and Append?
  5. Do you know how many Merge Types we have and what is their difference?
  6. Have you ever created an error or troubleshooting report for Power Query?
  7. Do you know how to change data type using Locale?
  8. Do you know how to get the first item of each group when you use Group By in Power Query?
  9. Do you know how to calculate Age from a date?
  10. Have you ever used Parameters in Power Query?
  11. Have you ever created a custom function in Power Query?
  12. Do you know how to write M script?
  13. Do you know how to access all functions in Power Query with their documentation?
  14. Do you know about Query folding and impacts of it?
  15. Have you ever created a date dimension using Power Query?

If your answer is No, to any of the questions above; you need intermediate to advanced training on Power Query: Power BI for Data Engineer/Wrangler. And/Or you can also get the book Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, Book 3 as free materials if you want.

If your answer to all questions above is yes, then you can go to the next set of questions.

 

DAX and Calculations

  1. Do you know what the concepts of Star Schema/Fact/Dimension?
  2. Do you know what bi-directional relationship is, and in what scenarios it is needed? And why should we avoid it?
  3. Do you know how to implement role-playing dimension in Power BI?
  4. Do you know the difference between Measure and Calculated Column?
  5. Do you know how to use an Inactive relationship in DAX?
  6. Do you know what calculations should be moved to M and what to be kept in DAX?
  7. Do you know scenarios of using Calculated Table?
  8. Do you know the difference between SUM and SUMX?
  9. Do you know how ALL affects the filtering of a calculation?
  10. Do you know what is filter context and how it affects the measure calculation?
  11. Do you know the difference between Related and RelatedTable functions?
  12. Do you know what is the difference of built-in date table and custom date table when we write calculations in DAX?
  13. Do you know the difference between SamePeriodLastYear, ParallelPeriod and DatesAdd?
  14. Do you know the difference between DatesInPeriod and DatesBetween?
  15. Do you know how to parse parent-child hierarchies in DAX? Such as Organizational hierarchy.
  16. Have you ever used Parameters in DAX?
  17. Do you know the impact of variables for performance?
  18. Have you ever created a disconnected table pattern in DAX?

If your answer is No, to any of the questions above; you need intermediate to advanced training on DAX and Calculations: Power BI for Data Modeller. And/Or you can also get the book Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, Book 4 as free materials if you want.

If your answer to all questions above is yes, then you can go to the next set of questions.

 

Architecture

  1. Do you know the difference between Live Connection and DirectQuery?
  2. Do you know the requirements for setup/installing gateway?
  3. Do you know what is aggregations and how they can speed up the data model?
  4. Do you know more than five methods of sharing in Power BI?
  5. Do you know the difference between sharing through a workspace, or creating an app?
  6. Have you implemented dynamic row-level security in Power BI?
  7. Do you know how to create an audit log from all Power BI related activities across the tenant?
  8. Do you know what are important configurations to set in the Tenant Settings of Power BI Admin Portal?
  9. Do you know all difference licensing options for Power BI (Pro, Premium, Embedded, RS) and their differences, and scenarios to use each?
  10. Do you know how to combine Excel integration with Power BI to achieve better self-service experience?
  11. Do you know what XMLA endpoint is and how it impacts the architecture of your solution?
  12. Do you know about Dataflow and the role of that for your data transformation layer?
  13. Do you know what the shared dataset is, and what is the importance of that in building a better architecture for your Power BI solution?
  14. Do you know how to build a multi-developer architecture for a Power BI solution?
  15. Do you know what is the best enterprise architecture for a Power BI implementation?
  16. Do you know what are ways to do self-service architecture of Power BI in your organization?
  17. Do you know how to leverage paginated reports in Power BI?
  18. Do you know ways that you can have real-time streaming in a Power BI dashboard?

If your answer is No, to any of the questions above; you need intermediate to advanced training on Power BI Architecture. And/Or you can also get the book Pro Power BI Architecture as materials if you want.

If your answer to all questions above is yes, then you can go to the next set of questions.

 

AI and Machine Learning

  1. Do you know the where and how to use the Key Influencer Visual in Power BI?
  2. Do you know how you can use the AI functions embedded in Power BI Dataflows?
  3. Do you know how to create your own machine learning models and then use it on a Power BI dataset?
  4. Do you know how to leverage Microsoft Flow and PowerApps and Power BI to get a full end to end AI application?
  5. Do you know how to do predictive analytics in Power BI?
  6. Do you know how to use R or Python in Power BI to apply machine learning algorithms that are not easily available?

If your answer is No, to any of the questions above; you need to look at our AI and Machine Learning training options. And/Or you can also get the book Power BI and R, and Azure Machine Learning as free materials if you want.

 

What Power BI Training Option is best for me? Based on Job Function?

You might not know what are your skillset (or your team members skillset), but you know what you want to achieve using Power BI, this part is telling you that, based on your job function and role, what is the best training option for you.

Power BI Essentials and Visualization

  • You are a beginner to Power BI and want to learn what are possibilities and where to start
  • Are you a decision-maker and want to know the possibilities of the product and decide is it a good fit for your team and organization or not
  • You are building data visualization on a dataset that is already built.
  • You want to get a good understanding of all components of Power BI at a high level, but not advanced deep dive in each subject

If this is you, then you need basic to intermediate training on Power BI: Power BI for Data Analysts. And/Or you can also get the book Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, Book 1 and 2 as free materials if you want.

 

Power Query and Data Transformation

  • If you will be getting data from multiple sources (Excel, SQL Server, email, other software etc)
  • If you will be combining data from multiple data sources
  • If you will be doing data cleanup, removing extra rows, columns, normalizing the data
  • If you will be doing any pre-calculations for the data rows
  • If you have to prepare the data for later visualization

If this is you, then you need intermediate to advanced training on Power Query: Power BI for Data Engineer/Wrangler. And/Or you can also get the book Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, Book 3 as free materials if you want.

 

DAX and Calculations

  • If you will be doing the data modelling for later visualization use cases
  • If you will be doing any analytical calculations (such as year to date, this year compared to last year, running total etc)
  • If you want to implement some business logic through calculations in Power BI
  • If you want to build a data model that answers the right question from the visualization layer

If this is you, then you need intermediate to advanced training on DAX and Calculations: Power BI for Data Modeller. And/Or you can also get the book Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, Book 4 as free materials if you want.

 

Architecture

  • If you want to know how all Power BI components work with each other in an enterprise environment
  • If you want to build a self-service architecture using Power BI
  • If you want to set up and administer Power BI in your organization
  • If you want to apply governance on the usage of Power BI in your tenant
  • If you want to control the access to the data source and control how the data refresh mechanism would work for datasets in Power BI
  • If you want to decide and define standards for Power BI analysts and developers in your organization

If this is you, then the best training for you will be an intermediate to advanced training on Power BI Architecture. And/Or you can also get the book Pro Power BI Architecture as materials if you want.

Extending to AI and Data Science Possibilities

  • If you want to step into the AI and Data Science path using Power BI
  • If you want to use some easy to use AI in Power BI
  • If you want to create your own machine learning algorithms, and then leveraged that in Power BI datasets
  • If you want to do any predictive analytics on your dataset

If this is you, then you need to look at our AI and Machine Learning training options. And/Or you can also get the book Power BI and R, and Azure Machine Learning as free materials if you want.

Training Options

At RADACAD we do provide Power BI and AI training for many clients all around the world. Our training options are:

Feel free to contact us for any of your Power BI and AI training needs.

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Reza Rad
Trainer, Consultant, Mentor
Reza Rad is a Microsoft Regional Director, an Author, Trainer, Speaker and Consultant. He has a BSc in Computer engineering; he has more than 20 years’ experience in data analysis, BI, databases, programming, and development mostly on Microsoft technologies. He is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP for nine continuous years (from 2011 till now) for his dedication in Microsoft BI. Reza is an active blogger and co-founder of RADACAD. Reza is also co-founder and co-organizer of Difinity conference in New Zealand.
His articles on different aspects of technologies, especially on MS BI, can be found on his blog: https://radacad.com/blog.
He wrote some books on MS SQL BI and also is writing some others, He was also an active member on online technical forums such as MSDN and Experts-Exchange, and was a moderator of MSDN SQL Server forums, and is an MCP, MCSE, and MCITP of BI. He is the leader of the New Zealand Business Intelligence users group. He is also the author of very popular book Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, which is free with more than 1700 pages of content and the Power BI Pro Architecture published by Apress.
He is an International Speaker in Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft Business Applications Summit, Data Insight Summit, PASS Summit, SQL Saturday and SQL user groups. And He is a Microsoft Certified Trainer.
Reza’s passion is to help you find the best data solution, he is Data enthusiast.

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