Career: What will the Data Artist Do?

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The steady increase of the involvement of big data in business has led to the creation of a variety of new positions. One such specialized profession is that of the ‘data artist’. Seems like a fancy term? Well, let’s give you some perspective.
career-What will the Data Artist Do?
career-What will the Data Artist Do?
Who is a data artist?
A data artist presents data in creative, simplified, and appealing manner that makes it easily understandable for folks out of the IT department. A data artist has the skills to understand hard science and mathematics, a strong understanding of business processes and goals, innate creativity, and a talent for effective communication.

In simple terms, a business analyst specialist who can create different visual representations such as graphs, charts, and infographics to explain data and insights in simple manner can call a data artist. Those in the public domain generally highlight patterns and trends in population, demographics, public health and the likes, while those working in a private setup communicate the organization’s data to the business users or sometimes, bridge the gap between graphic design and business intelligence departments.

What are the data artist’s tools?

Since data itself is not static (think real-time data), it requires tools that can offer visibility in real time as well as different sources of data for the data artist to be able to present as accurate a picture as possible.


At present, there tools like Data Driven Documents (a.k.a. D3.js), Google Charts, and Tableau Public which are not only amazingly good at what they ought to do, but are open source and absolutely free.  Such tools include visualization software program and other features which allow the creation of web-based interactive graphics.

Though the combination of skills that a data artist must possess is rare, it is also true that data visualization is a part and parcel of every professional who works with data, be it a data scientist or data analyst, although in varying degrees. With the increase in the availability and access to the correct tools, and some initiation, eventually every business user will develop a skill for representing data creatively.

One might argue about the need of a data artist, when there already are data scientists to find out insights from mind-boggling amounts of data. To this, Justin Langseth, the CEO and co-founder of Zoomdata, a data visualization startup, says, ‘As much as organizations need people who can analyze data and draw conclusions from their data, they also need individuals who can paint a picture with that data so that everyone can easily understand the conclusions.’

When asked about data artists’ relevance and competence in the current market, he further says, ‘They need to be able to portray facts, flow, and patterns that are not necessarily visible to the average business decision maker. The visualizations these artists create can be a powerful way to translate terabytes of data into meaningful business information.’

And what, you may ask, will it ultimately mean? Simply put: clear visualizations, better usage of resources, strong communication, enhanced decision making, greater impact – all of which contribute to higher revenue generation.  

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