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Posts: 21
Reply with quote  #1 

I just relocated to Indianapolis - a decent sized job market.

I'd love more than anything to find either a full-time job or a contract applying the visualization best practices that Stephen Few recommends in his excellent books.

I've interviewed with 3 local consulting companies' BI teams, and I checked with all 3 in the interview, and no one has even heard of Stephen Few.

I've tried looking for jobs by searching for keywords such as 'visualizations'.  That has returned some .NET programming jobs, but I am just an analyst.  I started my career as a financial analyst, but really what I'm good at is the data sense-making that Stephen talks so much about.  I've also looked nation-wide, for the keyword 'Stephen Few', but have only found jobs in New York and San Francisco that directly reference Few.

I know that companies need those 2 skills:  Data sense-making + Visualization best practices, but all the trees I've barked up have been the wrong ones.

Does anyone have any suggestions for finding jobs using these skills, say 50% of the job is using these 2 skills.  I haven't had any luck at all.

Is it possible that Stephen is SO far ahead of the curve that these skills simply aren't marketable stand-alone?  Is the Indy market just too small?

Thanks for any advice or thoughts!




Posts: 46
Reply with quote  #2 
Josh -- I would agree that trying to find a job titled something like "data visualization expert" would be far and few (no pun intended). Your approaching BI consulting agencies seems like a logical step to me. Other than the fact that they haven't heard of Stephen Few, what else was discussed with these agencies?

Keywords that initially come to mind for me regarding such a job search are "Business Intelligence (BI)", "Reporting Analyst", "Dashboards", "Data Analyst", "Data Visualization". I imagine that in most cases these types of positions will have a software app/skill requirement such as .net programming, SQL, MS Excel, Tableau, SAP/Business Objects, etc. 

Aside from consulting agencies, perhaps looking at positions available at the area hospitals/health networks and area colleges/universities would be worthwhile. Given this nation's push to revamp health care, I would think there is a vital need for people like yourself to reveal success/failure/quality improvement as health care providers/institutions strive to deliver the next standard of care. 

Just a couple of my thoughts. None of it is revolutionary, but at least an attempt to offer ideas that may not have crossed your mind.

Posts: 853
Reply with quote  #3 

Sadly, most BI companies still know little about data visualization. The fact that you spoke with people at three BI consultancies who weren't familiar with my work is a reflection of this fact. To them, data visualization involves flashy charts and embarrassingly naive dashboards. Unless you're ready to educate them and they're willing to be educated, consultancies of this type will not suit your professional interests.

Stephen Few

Posts: 21
Reply with quote  #4 
I came across a job right up my alley.  The job is entitled Data Scientist.

I thought I would post it, in case that keyword would help those looking for this type of work sometime in the future. 

Here's the job description, from a company called Covance:

 Work with key business groups (e.g. Informatics Product Development, Informatics Analytics, Central Labs Project and Program Managers, Clinical Development Project and Program Managers, Information Technology, etc.) to develop and execute processes to collect data, perform data quality assurance, and to structure Informatics data
* Responsible for the accurate preparation (visualization) of this data for clinical metrics, operational analysis, clinical and financial forecasting.
* Execute recurring data mining and process activities that provide the foundation key analytic capabilities.
* Serve as a professional interface providing operational analytic and financial reports to customers (both internal and external)
* Translate data mining activities into actionable business information
* Provide recommendations for clinical forecasting decision making process.
* Support the development of various data visualization needs. These could be departmental, cross-functional, and/or externally consumed.
* Work directly with external vendors for forecasting and analytic support
* Help the Analytics team to develop innovative business solutions by applying high-end analytics using analytic applications (i.e. SAS, Spotfire, MicroStrategy) to Covance data.
* Help the Analytics team in the design and development of the prototype systems and processes to support strategic initiatives, capability development, forecasting efforts, capacity management, and resource optimization efforts within Covance businesses.
* Provide appropriate analytic tool trainings (i.e. SAS, Spotfire, MicroStrategy) training to Informatics team members.
* Provide analytic expertise to Informatics team members.
* Work towards alignment of the Informatics vision and culture within the organization.
* Communicate Informatics model and operational directions to peers/management and gain commitment.
Education/Qualifications * Bachelor's degree required
* MS/MBA preferred
Experience * Overall 10 – 15 years relevant analytics and data mining & modeling work experience
* Work experience should include Business and Scientific Analysis or related fields, e.g., Scientific Research and Development, Operations Research, Management Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Economics, or Engineering
* At least 3 years of practical working experience in the Pharmaceutical Drug Development Processes, Pharmaceutical service businesses, or general company operations required
* Proven ability to apply high-end analytics to large business data and help develop innovative and cutting-edge business solutions that will drive both top-line and bottom-line growth.
* Preparing material and leading presentations to a mixed audience of business and technical staff
* Ability to communicate effectively to both operational staff and senior business leaders
* Proven ability to develop and execute sophisticated data mining & modeling solutions
* Examples of delivering solutions that have direct impact to business value in terms of either time, quality, or cost (savings or revenue generation)
* Depending on experience, interests, and skills, additional responsibilities may include statistical, mathematical, or bioinformatics data analysis.
* Advanced usage and experience in Data Visualization Software (TIBCO Spotfire, MicroStrategy, Xcelsius, etc.), Access programming, VBA and database structure; Advanced skills in Microsoft applications, MS Access and Excel. Advanced skills in the application and use of estimation software application(s).
* Experience with other high-level languages for applications, scripting, and/or data analysis (e.g. Python, Perl, Java, S Plus) is desirable.
* Experience involving code management and/or data management and/or data analysis is required.
* Strong attention to detail and excellent quantitative and qualitative analytical
EEO Employer Covance is committed to diversity in the workplace and is an equal opportunity employer. (M/F/D/V). Your confidentiality and privacy are important to us
Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, Indiana 

Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #5 
Congratulations Josh. I hope it works out for you. Keep us posted.

It is often hard to convey the value of good data visualization to people who have not thought very much about it. If my experience is any guide, "show, don't tell". I've wasted a lot of breath trying to explain just this until, one day, I showed up with an example and it got me a new assignment within my organization doing just that. I wish I'd done this earlier. If you don't already, you should bring a portfolio to these interviews and discussions.
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