The ability to visualize any kind of analytics data remains in high demand.
But visualization has now filtered into other areas of data management, data analytics, and business intelligence (BI). In fact, visualization is being embedded into more applications and functions.
Here are some of the top trends in data visualization roles:
1. Communicate Meaning
In the early days of visualization, all you needed to do was show some data points on a nice graphic or on a dashboard, and team members looked on in awe.
We have moved well beyond that point.
“Analytics pros have to understand how data and analytics directly support business goals and be able to communicate the story the data is telling,” said Sean O’Brien, SVO of Education at SAS.
“They need to be able to not just present trends and reports, but communicate their meaning. This includes how to graph and display data for clarity and storytelling as well as how to communicate analytic findings in writing and verbally.”
2. Data Literacy
Gartner defines data literacy skills as “the ability to read, write, and communicate data in context, including an understanding of data sources and constructs, analytical methods and techniques applied, and the ability to describe the use case, application, and resulting value.”
Data literacy in general, therefore, is being more highly prized. People with skills across the analytics landscape are getting involved in many diverse areas of business.
“The world is becoming digital first, which presents an opportunity for organizations to find and use insights from their data and set themselves up for future success,” said Christine Haskell, senior director of program management, Tableau.
“The trend we’re seeing is broader recognition of the value and demand of data literacy skills.”
3. Bridging the Gap
Data skills regularly top many employers’ new hire wish lists. That’s because data-driven organizations tend to perform better.
Jobs requiring digital skills, especially data analytics and visualization, will grow from 23% this year to 37% globally by 2026, according to the new IDC Salesforce Economy study.
“There is a big gap to help everyone feel comfortable using analytics, train more people on data literacy, and fill the positions that will be left open if we don’t do this,” said Haskell with Tableau.
Having noticed the shortfall in data literacy skills, some organizations are now taking steps to bridge the gap by engaging with high schools, colleges, and community colleges to make these skills a part of curricula.
For example, Tableau plans to train 10 million people over the next five years. Others are getting involved in similar initiatives.
4. Democratization of Visualization Skills
There are still plenty of highly trained data scientists and BI experts who operate at the top of the analytics and visualization food chain.
But general visualization skills are now being demanded of executives, business heads, sales managers, and areas such as HR, finance, and project management.
Thus, we are seeing interest in analytics and visualization certification courses broadening. People in apparently unrelated fields are beginning to see such training as a way to increase their effectiveness and enhance their career prospects.
“Skills have become the global currency of the 21st-century economy,” said Steve Fazio, data governance lead, Talend.
“In a world where competition for jobs, pay increases, and professional success continues to increase, certifications offer a credible, third-party assessment of one’s skill and knowledge for a given subject.”
5. Visualizing Everything
We live in a visual age. Infographics and informational videos have become the norm. Just look at the popularity of YouTube to see how much people want concise video content.
Thus, virtualization skills are seeping into more fields. A recent survey by Foote Partners dug into the hots skills and certifications in the marketplace.
No specific visualization capability or certification came up as one of the top skills. Instead, there is now a pattern of visualization being included as an essential part of a diverse set of skills.
Bill Reynolds, research director at Foote Partners, noted that several of the top certifications include a visualization element, such as data ones by SAS, Amazon, and Elastic.