There are prominent theorists and practitioners in data visualization that simply do not believe there is such a thing as a dedicated data visualization role in industry. For those critics there is no profession, only a skill used near the end of a long process performed by scientists, analysts and engineers. In contrast, there’s a celebratory data visualization community that gathers for the Information is Beautiful Awards and looks to people like David McCandless as a thought leader. The more serious are in or allied with journalism, the more exotic might call themselves artists, and the freelancers and consulting firms that dominate this area might see themselves as a bit of both. In their case, catching an audience in an attention economy is a prominent requirement of their data visualization work. Somewhere in between these two sides is a growing professional space referred to sometimes as “data visualization product”. It’s occupied by roles with different titles — I, for instance, am a Senior Data Visualization Engineer — who create custom data visualization applications that are more than just the product of industry tools but not quite as hand-crafted as data visualization in journalism or for public communication pieces.

Elijah Meeks → If Data Visualization is So Hot, Why Are People Leaving?