How to Break into Dataviz

How do I get your foot in the door without related experience?


One of my LinkedIn connections recently contacted me about getting started with dataviz. Here’s a modified version of his question:

I am writing to you to seek a guidance as to how I can diversify my career in business intelligence. I want to visualize data more. By way of background, I have ten years of work experience, including eight in IT. What is the best way for me to get a job in data visualization given my past work experience?

Here’s my response.

Start by trying to incorporate data visualization into your current job. Data is becoming more important than ever. If you show management in your organization that you can do some interesting things with data, I’ll bet that others will come to you. They will let you do more in this vein. Your job will eventually change for the better.

If that’s not possible for whatever reason, then you may want to look for a new job within or outside of your current company. It sounds like you want more flexibility to work on things that are more interesting to you. Sometimes you have to make a move to do that. I did—several times.

You’re the CEO of your own career.

Also, you could always work independently with datasets, publish them on a website or on others such as GitHub, and try to get noticed that way. If you take this route, then you will have developed a public portfolio for others to discover and view when you interview for that new job.

Simon Says

You’re the CEO of your own career. Now, what are you going to do?

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