Category Archives: industry
Jumpstarted by Elijah Meeks asking why visualization people are leaving the field for less visually-centric industry jobs, there’s been ample discussion about data visualization’s role in companies.
This naturally leaks over to the ongoing discussion about what visualization is and should be. Moritz Stefaner, who’s been at it since before I even knew what visualization really was, chimed in with his experiences and what he’s seen as a freelancer.
Yet, as I argued earlier already, I don’t think we gain much from overemphasizing the (supposedly) fundamental differences between “serious/functional” and “aesthetic/entertaining” data visualizations, or, conversely, diminishing Excel dataviz work as “not really data visualization”.
I am thinking back to the time when it was fashionable to “draw lines in the sand” or to attack designers on live TV. The harsh, narrow-minded criticism that novel designs and approaches faced for a while did not always lead to better results, but, in contrast, scared talented folks away from the community. I am really quite happy that, by now, we have a data visualization community that understands the many purposes of data visualization beyond scientific analysis.
Many purposes. That’s the key here.
Visualization can be a tool or a skill set that aids in the overarching goal of understanding data, whether it be quantitatively, qualitatively, or emotionally. Maybe you use the tools. Maybe you make the tools. Maybe you use the tools that you make. You can go as far as you want with any of these routes, and the one you choose brings various job titles.
I’m completely detached from industry. (I mean, I’m one guy running a site from a home office, so I’m detached from a lot of things.) But in my experience, visualization can and should be a stand-alone profession. It’s not a big conceptual jump — if you go far enough — to see how the person who knows how to make charts can become the chart-maker.
One of the things that drew me into Statistics is that you can apply it to a variety of fields, and in recent years, more industries hire in-house statisticians (or other varietals of data scientist and analyst). You can work in different industries with the same educational background.
However, the salaries can vary a lot between industries, which made me curious. How does salary vary across industries for other occupations? Here is an interactive to help you see, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for jobs in 2013. Search for your own occupation or browse random ones to see the changes and differences.
Bar charts on the left show the number of people employed in an industry for the selected occupation, and the ranges on the right show annual salaries from the 10th to 90th percentile. The dot in the middle of the line is the median salary. Mouse over bars and lines for more information about each industry.
Some occupations are specific to certain industries. For example, registered nurses are primarily in the health care sector. Although, it is not completely uncommon to find nursing jobs in other places such as in government or educational services, as shown above.
On the other hand, network and computer systems administrators work in lots of industries, and salaries range from $32,050 all the way up to $158,170 (10th to 90th percentile). In fact, with most industries and occupations, the salaries can vary by orders of magnitude. There's plenty to glean from the data, but if there's one takeaway, it's that if you're really good at what you do, you can make a good salary.