How to Become a Data
Visualization Developer

Essential Education, Skills, and Job Interview Prep

It is no secret that today’s tech, business, and every other sector are heavily reliant on data science. Big data has changed the landscape of the modern world, increasing the need for data science experts.

One aspect of data interpretation is visual representation. If you are interested in data, graphics, design, and analytics, you might be interested in learning how to become a data visualization developer. Keep reading to find the various education pathways, essential skills, and job duties.

What Is a Data Visualization Developer?

Data visualization developers are data science professionals who break down text-based data sets and develop them into visual and graphical representations. This essentially means showcasing patterns or correlations in the overall data in various types of visual formats such as pie charts and graphs, and interactive visual data.

To become a successful data visualization developer you need a blend of technical and creative skills. You are expected to have an in-depth understanding of tools such as Tableau and Protoviz, along with a keen eye for graphics.

Developers also need broad data science skills. This includes data analysis, data processing, data modeling, and data mining.

Data Visualization Developer Salary and Job Outlook

Like most data science careers, data visualization developers have a highly lucrative and promising career path. This is reflected in the excellent job outlook rate and competitive salary.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, all data-related careers are projected to grow by 15 percent between 2019 to 2029. The average data visualization developer earns a whopping $120,997 per year, or $58 per hour, according to ZipRecruiter. Entry-level jobs pay around $52,070 per year on average.

Keep in mind that the average salary is subject to change depending on your qualifications and place of employment. According to ZipRecruiter, data visualization developers in Sunnyvale, CA, earn an average of $146,611 annually.


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Entry-Level Data Visualization Developer Job Requirements

The industry standard minimum education requirement for an entry-level data visualization developer position is a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. You can get your undergraduate degree in computer science, engineering, or math.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, you are also expected to have an excellent understanding of front-end web development technologies. So, you’ll need to learn CSS, JavaScript, HTML, and more.

How to Ace Your Data Visualization Developer Job Interview

The key to acing your data visualization developer job interview lies in being fully prepared. You must prepare for the most common industry questions and practice your elevator pitch. It can be helpful to get professional feedback on your resume to make sure you’re highlighting your desirable skills and qualifications.

Common Data Visualization Developer Job Interview Questions

    • Why are you interested in becoming a data visualization developer and what would you bring to the table?
    • How familiar are you with data visualization libraries? Give us an example of a project where you have worked with tools such as Tableau and ParaView.
    • What is your experience with front-end development technologies? Do you know JavaScript, HTML, and CSS?
    • Tell us the steps involved in the 3D transformation.

What Degree Should I Get to Become a Data Visualization Developer?

You’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for a career as a data visualization developer. The field requires an in-depth understanding of the world of data, computer science, and graphic design. Therefore most employers look for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. You can also choose to take a graduate degree to stand out among your competitors.

Read below to find out about the different degrees you can choose from.

Bachelor’s Degree in Data Visualization Development

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational qualification to become a data visualization developer. But as the field is a combination of several areas, you have ample choices for your major.

You can get an online computer science degree, a traditional engineering degree, or a graphic design degree. It will take you approximately four to five years to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Depending on your major, make sure to earn additional certifications that cover the areas that your major didn’t. For instance, if you did engineering, make sure to learn graphic design, data visualization, and computer science.

Master’s Degree in Data Visualization Development

Having a master’s degree in data science is hugely beneficial for a career in data visualization development. Know that it is difficult to find universities that let you do a master’s in data visualization specifically. However, you can get your master’s in data science fields such as data analytics and database management to qualify for this job.

A master’s degree will take you around two to three years to complete, and will open up opportunities in senior data visualization roles.

Data Visualization Developer Doctoral Degree

A doctoral degree in data visualization is suitable for those looking for post-secondary teaching jobs and research positions. You can also apply for directorate and specialist data analytics positions with a PhD.

Many in the profession of data visualization development earn their PhD in data analytics and visualization, as the fields are closely linked. A PhD can range anywhere between four and five years.

What Does a Data Visualization Developer Do?

Data visualization developers analyze data and process it to help develop business solutions. They are considered specialists in data science and interpretation.

Below are some common job duties for data visualization developers.

Data Processing and Modeling

You will be responsible for processing and transforming raw information into usable and valuable data. You will also be required to perform data modeling and ensure that data is safely stored and presented in databases.

Visualize Data Patterns

The key part of the role is showcasing data analytics and interpretation visually. You’ll need to represent data patterns in the form of charts and graphics. This will provide insights into a business’ operations, increase operational productivity, and improve business performance.

Developing Business Solutions

The role also includes developing business analytics and intelligence solutions that help overall business development. You will produce analytic reports on a range of business activities to help understand market trends, customers, and more. Your goal will be to help increase efficiency, revenues, and sales.

Essential Data Visualization Developer Skills

Data visualization development requires you to have a mix of technical, creative, and soft skills. You must have strong communication skills and a broad understanding of data science to succeed in this profession.

Below are some of the most essential data visualization developer skills.

Design Skills

A huge part of the role is focused on computer graphics and design. Therefore, it is crucial to have great visual perception, design skills, and interactive graphics skills. You need to learn computer graphics programming using DirectX or OpenGL.

Front-End Technology Skills

As a data visualization developer, you’ll develop interactive graphics that use front-end technologies. Therefore, you need to be proficient in technologies such as JavaScript, Canvas, CSS, and HTML5.

Data Visualization Libraries

Another fundamental skill to succeed in this career is an in-depth knowledge of data visualization libraries. You need to master tools such as Tableau, Protoviz, d3, Processing, and other popular toolkits.

Analytical Skills

A data visualization developer’s job includes data analytics. Therefore, it is important to have excellent analytical skills. They include research, pattern recognition, statistics, data mining, reporting, and data interpretation skills.

How to Become a Data Visualization Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now let’s look at the practical steps you need to take to succeed in the field. Here is our step-by-step guide to becoming a data visualization developer.


Get Your Bachelor’s Degree

The first step to becoming a data visualization developer is to get the minimum education qualification. Whether you choose to get an online bachelor’s degree or a traditional in-person program, make sure your major is in an area relevant to the field.

You can also choose to get a graduate degree and pursue a specialization in data analytics and visualization. This will open up more senior positions for you.


Apply for a Data Science or Data Analysis Internship

To get your first job, you’ll need a combination of educational qualifications and experience. While you’re at college, apply for internships that prepare you for the profession.

We recommend getting a data analytics or data science-related internship. But you can also get an internship in graphic design or front-end development.


Learn Essential Data Visualization Development Skills

Make sure you gain expertise in the areas your degree doesn’t cover. This step will vary from person to person depending on their major. For example, if you got a computer science degree, enroll in courses or certification programs that teach toy data analytics and design.

Similarly, if you majored in an engineering field, enroll in courses that teach you programming and data science. Make sure to get a certification that will prove your knowledge in those areas.


Build Your Professional Portfolio

Now that you have the degree, internship, and certifications, it’s time to enhance your professional portfolio. Look into freelance websites such as Upwork or Fiverr and apply for freelance data visualization development gigs. Remember to collect positive feedback.

You can also apply for entry-level jobs in data science, data analytics, or graphic design to gain further expertise and improve your portfolio.


Apply for Entry-Level Data Visualization Development Positions

Once you have both professional experience and industry skills, you are ready for an entry-level job as a data visualization developer. Search popular job websites such as Indeed.com, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and even your university career fairs, and start applying.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Data Visualization Developer?

If you get a bachelor’s degree and combine that with certification courses and industry experience, it can take you anywhere between four to six years. If you choose to get a master’s degree, it will take you an additional two to three years to become a data visualization developer.

In other words, the time it takes to become a data visualization developer depends on the degree program you choose. The profession requires a mix of experience and educational qualifications for a junior position.

Should You Become a Data Visualization Developer in 2021?

Yes, it’s a great idea to become a data visualization developer in 2021 if you’re interested in data analytics, graphics, and programming. If you have looked into data science careers, you know they are here to stay.

Along with a great salary package and a promising career, you can work in a wide range of industries. The career trajectory is excellent, making it an exciting and lucrative profession to get into right now.

Data Visualization Developer FAQ

What are the job responsibilities of a data visualization developer?

A data visualization developer presents data interpretation and results visually. The responsibilities include managing databases, data analytics, graphic design, and identifying data patterns.

Is data visualization development a good career in 2021?

Yes, data visualization development is a great career to invest in in 2021. It is in high demand across several industries and comes with a lucrative compensation package.

Do data visualization developers need to know programming?

Yes, data visualization developers need to know to program and be familiar with front-end technologies. You need to know Python, JavaScript, CSS, and more to succeed in this profession.

Do data visualization developers need to be creative?

Yes, as a data visualization developer your job revolves around developing new and reusable graphics, visualization, and designs. This requires having an artistic mind, so you can develop user-friendly visuals.

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