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Power BI has been gaining popularity since its inception and is advancing far ahead of its
competitors who have had a 10+ years head start advantage. What’s making it the
“superstar” of data analytics tools? There is a 2 W, 1 “H” formula that we can follow before learning any tool. Let’s follow the same approach towards learning Power BI as well.
Why should you learn Power BI?
Before you plan to learn any tool, it is a good practice to know about the makers of the tool
and also analyse the pattern of the tools they have made before—in short, the “Publisher’s
Track Record.” This is because you might need to spend a considerable amount of time
mastering a tool, and you might also be betting your career on it. The short answer to why
you are learning Power BI is that “It is from Microsoft.” If you look at what they have been
doing for the past few decades, they have been revolutionizing the office industry with
phenomenal tools, starting from Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and more. You hardly come across
a domain where Microsoft is not dominating in the office space, and you hardly come across
a person who hasn’t used a Microsoft tool in their lifetime. So, in short, “Power BI is here to
stay…!!” and won’t be easily disrupted.
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What is Power BI?
Power BI is a complete data analytics solution from Microsoft, It covers a wide range from
data transformation to visualisation. It’s not just a single tool but a comprehensive suite of
applications, services, and connectors designed to make sense of your data and help you
transform it into valuable insights. Think of it as your personal data magician, conjuring up interactive and visually appealing reports and dashboards.
How to learn Power BI
Know the fundamental building blocks that make up the tool.
When you are learning video editing, the only things you should learn are “Cut, merge, and
paste” and the options used to do it. You keep doing that for enough time, and you become
a maestro of video editing. Now, in the case of Power BI, the first thing you need to know are these building blocks.
Building blocks/ concepts of Power BI
a) Power Query editor – Data transformation tool
The data you are going to analyze might not be in the most structured form. You might need
to perform some operations with the data like restructuring the columns, editing a few
values, replacing, adding, etc. All these are done with the help of the Power Query editor. (NB: It
is not a tool that you need to separately download; it comes built-in with Power BI Desktop).
b) Data Modelling:
“Data modeling” might sound too technical, but relax, it’s simply “connecting between two
tables with proper logic.” This is the most crucial part of data analytics using Power BI.
c) DAX & Measures:
DAX is abbreviated to “Data Analytics Expression.” It is used to create columns, tables, and
measures in it. What is a measure? It is an aggregation of values. A simple use case is
summing the values of a column using the SUM function or creating an average using the
Average function. It has advanced use cases as well, allowing you to do anything and everything in it.
This is the easiest thing to do in Power BI; all you have to do is “drag & drop.” You can find all
the visuals on the right-hand side of your page; you can drag and drop the visuals from the
tables and select the visuals from the Visualizations pane.
e) Power BI Service:
People often confuse Power BI Desktop with Power BI Service. Power BI Desktop is where
you create the report, and Power BI Service is the online version of it where you share the
Find the Right Mentor
The only way to learn anything new is to learn it yourself.” The knowledge you gain yourself
sustains a lifetime. Having said that, the right mentor, qualified enough, can help you with your
ways to learn. We live in an era of ‘Information overload,’ and if you follow the wrong
person, that might lead you down the wrong path. You can always look up on LinkedIn and
find the right person or find a trainer from companies. Both can work out.
Do your First Work and Publish it
When it comes to most of the competent tools, they only allow you a 14-day trial or very limited features, you might need to purchase an advanced version to get a deeper knowledge about it. But in the case of Power BI, it has enough features in the free version to
showcase your talent and enhance your data analyst career.
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WRITTEN BY Afeed Razil