A Measurement Dream Job Is Available: Do You Qualify?

So… you are someone who is fascinated by using numbers to describe the real world. You’re building a career using them to gain insight into what people think about brands, politics, and social issues. You are equally at home in front of a spreadsheet, a chi-square distribution, and the C-suite. You know how to wrangle code, stats, words, and egos to find and demonstrate the true relationships between this and that.

You may, in fact, feel some kinship with information graphics pioneer Charles Minard, who drew the famous map above 150 years ago. A clean and clear summation of a large amount of data, it tells the tragic tale of Napoleon’s disastrous 1812 Russian campaign, one of the most lethal military operations in history. It is notable for its representation in two dimensions of six types of data: the number of Napoleon’s troops; distance; temperature; the latitude and longitude; direction of travel; and location relative to specific dates.

In short, you are a data-visualizing measurement maven.

What’s your dream job?

You just might find it over at FiveThirtyEight, where they are looking for a Deputy Editor, Graphics and Interactives. As you will discover when you read the job description and requirements, Nate Silver and Co. are in search of someone much, much more capable than your average measurement bear.

Your Roadmap to a Data Visualization Career

For the 99% of us who wish we were qualified to apply for this job, or who hope to one day be qualified to apply for this job, the requirements read like the syllabus for the toughest major at Measurement Maven University:

  • Experience working on a wide variety of high-quality, intuitive interactive features that present a lot of data in a manner that is easy to use and understand.
  • Experience as a manager of a team of visual and interactive journalists.
  • Proficiency in dynamic programing languages (such as Python and Ruby), web development technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), web frameworks (Rails), mapping tools (ArcGIS, QGIS), and visualization libraries (WebGL, D3).
  • Knowledge of at least one statistical language (R, Stata, etc).
  • A portfolio that demonstrates an understanding of storytelling on multiple platforms, particularly mobile, as well as a clean, elegant, and sophisticated aesthetic.

If you decide to apply for this job, we’d love to hear about it. Especially if you land it. Good luck. ∞

About Author

Bill Paarlberg

Bill Paarlberg is the Editor of The Measurement Advisor. He has been editing and writing about measurement for over 20 years. He was the development and copy editor for "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, winner of the 2013 Terry McAdam Book Award.