Data visualisation is about presenting large amounts of information in ways that are universally understandable or easy to interpret and spot patterns, trends and correlations. These representations include charts, graphs, infographics and other pictoral diagrams. Data visualisation analysts use visualisation tools and software to communicate information in these ways, for clients or for their own company. You can be a data visualisation specialist but it is often an aspect of a data analyst or data scientist job.
A similar sounding but different field is data virtualisation. This is about creating fast access to data (such as a file or photograph) – making it retrievable without the user needing to know technical details about it, such as where the file is stored. It works by making storage systems that are separate from physical hardware in a device, and is the basis for cloud computing.
Typical duties for data visualisation analysts include:
- making large and/or complex data more accessible, understandable and usable
- transforming, improving and integrating data, depending on the business requirements
- combining the data result sets across multiple sources (also known as the data federation)
- delivering the data in a useful and appealing way to users
- Specialist software development companies
- Consulting firms
- Telecommunications companies
- Public sector organisations
- Social media specialists
Jobs are advertised online, by careers services and by recruitment agencies.
Few junior/graduate visualisation analyst roles are advertised – visualisation is more often a component of certain data analyst or data scientist roles. To enter one of these professions you typically need a degree in a subject that develops your analytical skills, such as maths, statistics and computer science, although a few data analyst apprenticeships are also available. To find out more about getting into IT and technology via a school leaver route, visit the IT and technology section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
If you want to specialise straight away in data visualisation, you could consider studying for a data visualisation postgraduate degree.
- Excellent analytical skills
- Ability to work with large amounts of information and see the ‘bigger picture’
- Comfortable with juggling facts, figures, and number crunching
- Communication skills, both written and oral
- Critical thinking: able to look at numbers, trends, and data and come to new conclusions based on the findings
- Attention to detail
- Excellent maths skills