DAX Series: 2. Resources/Learning Techniques while learning DAX

This is the second article of the series: DAX Series — Learn the core of Power BI. 2. Resources/Learning Techniques while learning DAX.

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In this article I will give out different resources and learning techniques while learning the DAX language. This will be a list of resources I would like to have when I began to learn DAX and describe the language in a good way.
It is a mix of blogs, Youtube-channels and books.

You can also find the story here:
https://eliasnordlinder.com/power-bi/f/dax-series-2-resourceslearning-techniques-while-learning-dax

Learning Techniques for learning DAX

It is important to acknowledge that people approach new things in different ways.

Some people like to read, some people like to watch Youtube videos or take online courses, some people must try out the tools to understand new things and even some people must discuss it with other people to understand new things.

I think all of these are good ways to learn DAX and all of them have their place, therefore I will discuss all of these different resources in this post.

No matter which way you go about it, theory a very important part of learning DAX. Therefore I would not recommend to only try out the tool by hand and try to learn that way. The error messages can be hard to understand, and you do not really know if you have something a little bit wrong but still works, or if you have the correct answer.

My first suggestion would either to buy a book about the theory behind DAX or watch a very detailed video/online course about it. I will discuss exactly which people/companies that offers this but SQLBI is a very good way to begin.

If you choose to buy a book, try to read a little bit every day, and do try out the things you read in Power BI as well, to be able to replicate it and really understand what the the text is saying.

One good way to learn things is by write down everything that you find interesting. You do both remember things better by writing it down and you will have something to read through again when you want to do a recap of what you have learned.

Books

This first section will be about good books to guide you through your journey of DAX.

The Definitive Guide to DAX — SQLBI

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The first book that you have to read if you have any intention at all of learning DAX is “The Definitive Guide to DAX” by Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari at SQLBI. This book is sometimes called “The Bible of DAX” because everyone has one besides their bed.

I did just read this book the second time and it is a really comprehensive book on everything from What DAX really is, understanding the evaluation context, the CALCULATE functions, time intelligence, iterators, calculation groups and much more.

If you wondering how you can do anything specific in DAX, there is a good probability that you will find it in this book.

But I must warn you that the theory will be hard to understand at specific points, and you will understand more every time you reread the book. If you would understand everything in the book completely, you would probably be one of the best DAX developers in the world.

DAX Patterns — SQLBI

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DAX Patterns is another book also written by Russo and Ferrari which I would also recommend. This books contains a lot of patters that you will reuse again and again while building up your DAX measures.

A lot of the patterns are Time Intelligence, because, well, you do a lot of time intelligence calculations when working with DAX. But there are also really advanced patterns for parameter tables, dealing with hierarchies, budgeting and everything that you can think of.

The patterns are available online as well at daxpatterns.se but I like to have a physical book of it as well.

Supercharge Power BI — Matt Allington

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Supercharge Power BI by Matt Allington at Excelarator BI is a book for you if you want to learn DAX by doing practical examples this book by Matt Allington could be something for you. Matt Allington is a Microsoft MVP who comes from the Excel world.

This book is both easier to understand than the SQLBI books, as it does not go into the same amount of theory, and could be easier to understand if you are coming to Excel and not SQL.

Books not completely related to DAX

If you want to read books that are directly related to DAX, but Power BI, there are a lot of books regarding this as well. There is a good probability that you are learning Power BI at a whole, when learning DAX as well, and it is even more fun to write DAX if you can do things with it afterwards.

Pro Power BI Architecture — Reza Rad

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Pro Power BI Architecture was a book that I recently bought because I really like the explanations Reza gives at Radacad. This book is about everything that is not DAX, Power Query or visualizations.

It is about how you can publish your reports, setup your reports, but also about licencing types and other things regarding Architecture.

Collect, Combine, and Transform Data Using Power Query in Excel and Power BI — Gil Raviv

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This book by Gil Raviv at Datachant is a comprehensive guide with a lot of practical examples on how to use Power Query to transform your data.

Websites/Online Courses

Let us now go into detail for different courses or websites that offer good training in the DAX Language.

SQLBI

I do have to begin with Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari from SQLBI again. Apart from their book I mentioned above they also have a website and a youtube channel. On their website they have many video courses about the DAX language, as well as blog articles.

At their youtube channel they have a lot of usually short videos where they explain different aspects of the DAX language, usually accommodated with a blog post.

Curbal

Ruth Pozuelo Martinez at Curbal has a really good youtube channel for learning DAX, which has been my go to youtube channel after SQLBI. She is really good at explaining DAX in a way that is easy to understand compared to many other teachers.

I would especially recommend her DAX Fridays series where she go through different DAX functions every Friday.

She do have a website as well, where she has a DAX glossary page, where you can search for a DAX function, and you will get article made about the function.

Guy In a Cube

You can not talk about Power BI resources without mentioning Adam Saxton and Patrick Leblanc at Guy In a Cube. I am a really big fan of their youtube channel, even though most of the content is not regarding DAX, but about other aspects of the Power BI language.

They have great roundup videos of what has happened in the Power BI world the last week, live discussions with the audiences and a lot of interesting topics. One of the roundups regarding DAX is probably the most interesting if you are reading this blog post.

They also have a website where they collect all of their contents.

EnterpriseDNA

Sam McKay’s site EnterpriseDNA is a site that I have been using more and more the last couple of weeks, and I would really have loved to know about it when I began to learn DAX. Sam has a really good way to explain topics that seem hard in an understandable way.

First out I would recommend their youtube page and especially the “Ultimate Beginners Guide” which is a 40 part free series at Youtube.

Besides this they have one of the best websites I have been to regarding Power BI and DAX. You can both decide if you want to pay for more advanced content or use the free content.

One thing they have is 4 days webinars, usually containing a lot of DAX, almost every month, that are completely free. I would definitely check those up if you want to learn more.

CSGPro

Brian Grant at the CSGPro team has a DAX Youtube course called “Elements of DAX” which is very different from all other teachings of DAX and which I would really recommend.

He gives you another perspective of DAX and let you understand that a lot of things about DAX is about tables. I first part came out in July, but they will also give out a second part this year hopefully.

They also have a website with a lot of content.

Excelarator

Matt Allington, who wrote the book I recommended above, also have a blog called Excelator which contain tons of insightful Power BI knowledge, including a lot of DAX.

Planilheiros

This is a Brazilian youtube channel, therefore most of the content is in Portuguese. But they are one of the biggest youtube channels about Power BI, and I especially like there Power BI Summit video they had, with really good speakers, and then in english.

PowerBI Tips

The Power BI Tips team have a lot of good tools and content regarding Power BI. It is not very DAX centered, but it is a good site if you want to learn more about Power BI in general

Radacad

I have mentioned the book by Reza Rad earlier, but Reza Rad and Leila Etaati at Radacad also have a youtube page and a website with a lot of good Power BI content. Some of this is regarding DAX even though they have a lot of other Power BI content as well.

Havens Consulting

Reid Havens at Havens Consulting have both a Youtube page and website with a lot of high quality content. I do especially like his blog posts which are very detailed and show that he has a lot of knowledge of Power BI.

A lot of content is regarding other aspects of Power BI, especially visualizations, but there are a lot of DAX content as well.

BI Elite

This is a great resource for Power BI and DAX tutorials. There are both a website and a youtube channel with a lot of resources.

Microsoft

Microsoft also have their own learning path and DAX reference library, even though this can be hard to really understand all of.

Microsoft also has a youtube channel for Power BI, of course, Microsoft Power BI. They have some really interesting videos from conferences there regarding DAX, as the video Microsoft Power BI: Deep dive into DAX evaluation context with Marco Russo.

Pragmatic Works

Pragmatic Works is a data and analytics company, where I especially like their youtube page. They have a 100 video free Power BI playlist and also several good DAX videos, such as this 3 hour long video about beginner DAX concepts.

Udemy Courses

There are a lot of Udemy courses about Power BI.
The best two in my opinion are Microsoft Power BI — A complete introduction and Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate with Power BI.

Awesome Power BI

Finally I would like to give a shoutout to this github page with a lot of resources and similar:
https://github.com/NajiElKotob/Awesome-Power-BI

Conclusion

There are endless of resources out there for learning, the difficult thing is to know which ones to use and not get overwhelmed by everything.
I have tried to give example on resources that I think are really good for DAX in this article, both books as “The Definitive Guide to DAX” and youtube channels as “Curbal”.

If you have any other really good resource that I have completely missed please let me know and I will look closer into that.

References

Youtube Channels

Bi Elite
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-h-wArcxJC8zBOD-UxfCOg

CSG Pro
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnICoktXDwhrQvrm6xeFfvA

Curbal
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ7UhloHSA4wAqPzyi6TOkw

EnterpriseDNA
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy2rBgj4M1tzK-urTZ28zcA

Guy in a Cube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFp1vaKzpfvoGai0vE5VJ0w

Havens Consulting
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjlfQwqb-0S40XQ8seYPLSw

Microsoft
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy--PYvwBwAeuYaR8JLmrfg

Planilheiros
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCusu-y_cy_0fXxOwCTmELqw

Pragmatic Works
https://www.youtube.com/c/PragmaticWorks/videos

SQLBI
https://www.youtube.com/user/sqlbitv

Books

Collect, Combine and Transform Data — Gil Raviv

DAX Patterns — SQL BI

Pro Power BI Architecture — Reza Rad

Supercharge Power BI — Matt Allington

The Definitive Guide to DAX — SQL BI

Websites

BI Elite
https://bielite.com/

CSG Pro
https://www.csgpro.com/

Curbal
https://curbal.com/

Datachant
https://datachant.com/

EnterpriseDNA
https://enterprisedna.co/

Excelarator
https://exceleratorbi.com.au/blog/

Guy in a Cube
https://guyinacube.com/

Havens Consulting
https://www.havensconsulting.net/

Microsoft
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dax/

Power BI Tips
https://powerbi.tips/

Radacad
https://radacad.com/

SQL BI
https://www.sqlbi.com/

Blog Posts

Curbal
#1 DAX Fridays! 101: The basics of the DAX Language

EnterpriseDNA
Why You Need To Learn DAX — A DAX Overview

sqlbi
7 reasons DAX is not easy

Udemy

Microsoft Certified — Data Analyst Associate with Power BI
https://www.udemy.com/course/exam-da-100-a-complete-guide-on-acing-the-exam-with-powerbi/learn/lecture/20709848?start=0#overview

Microsoft Power BI — A complete introduction:
https://medium.com/r?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.udemy.com%2Fcourse%2Fpowerbi-complete-introduction%2Flearn%2Flecture%2F20030088%23overview

You can find the Power BI files for all of the Blog posts below:
https://github.com/EliasNo/DAX-Series

Questions or inquiries

If you have any questions or input please leave an input or contact me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/elias-nordlinder
Email: Elias.Nordlinder@gmail.com

Have a great week everybody
//Elias

Business Intelligence Consultant. Previous MSc in Economics and Finance. Love problem solving/analytics and to teach data to other people.

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