Tableau for Students is available for accredited colleges and universities, as well as K-12 institutions. Students can apply online to receive a product code for Tableau Desktop Professional.
Tableau had already offered a student discount for its desktop client, which retails for $2,000 per user.
But the free license offer points to the company's belief that data analytics should be understood by many more people -- and not just computer science and statistics majors. This could also help address the much-reported shortage of big data workers, Francois Ajenstat, Tableau's director of product management told InformationWeek in a phone call.
[ Can elementary school students handle big data? See Big Data Education: When Should It Start? ]
Some 10,000 organizations worldwide already use software from Tableau, which also makes an enterprise server. Commercial customers include Barclays, Deloitte, Ferrari, Intel, Johns Hopkins Hospital, SpaceX and Unilever.
In early 2010, the company released Tableau Public, a Web-based, free-to-use analytics tool. Tableau Public is limited to 100,000 rows of data and can be saved only to Tableau Public servers.
"Think of it as a YouTube for data," Ajenstat said about Tableau Public, which he said had been viewed some 100 million times since its launch.
The hope, Ajenstat said, is that teachers and students using the desktop client will post their work to Tableau Public, spurring comments and development, especially for data-visualization applications outside computer science and statistics. (A full list of academic institutions using Tableau today can be found here.)
Training for Tableau for Students will be handled by an existing series of free-to-watch videos and tutorials on the company's website.
After the year license for Tableau for Students expires, students can apply for a year extension, Ajenstat said.
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