#1267 Data visualisation is an unwelcome addition as a separate skill change request pending

Data visualisation is one of a number of specialisms within the area covered by 'information content publishing' along with thing like content design, information architecture, search engine optimisation, content analytics, content workflow management, i18n, web typography and more.

Within the draft the overall skill description focuses on picture-making and implicitly widens it to 'Presenting findings and data insights in creative ways to facilitate the understanding of data' - this is just visual design. In the level 5 description the brief is widened beyond picture-making to duplicate the responsibilities in ICOM: 'Formats and communicates results, using textual, numeric, graphical and other visualisation methods appropriate to the target audience. Advises on appropriate use of data visualisation for different purposes, contexts etc to enable requirements to be satisfied. Develops plans showing how the identified user need will be met.' This is comms management, which will employ or contract appropriate specialists.

Data visualisation is a visual communication specialism: its practitioners need training and experience in graphic design, psychology, visual rhetoric and evaluating communication effectiveness. They need to know what's possible using technical toolsets, and it helps if they are able to use those toolsets, but it's not an IT-native skill.

ICOM would be improved by incorporating the idea of 'media selection and management' rather than 'formatting', which presumably reflects the history of this skill fom a base in the textual documentation of software. ICOM today routinely encompasses video, animation, simulation, learning management and collaboration as well as data visualisation.

Proposed change applies to Data visualisation

Current status of this request: pending

Evaluating this request

Visualisation as a skill was present in SFIA6

  • The Analytics skill (code: INAN)  in SFIA6 had references to "visualisation" at levels 4 and level 5.

The INAN skill, as a whole, was revised for SFIA7 to ensure it was fit for purpose for the current usage and application of Data Analytics in business and industry.

During this review - additional dimensions were explored

  1. the visualisation skill is different than the analytics skill - this change request supports that view
  2. not all role/people performing Analytics perfrom Visualisation; and vice versa

So if some roles/people need Visualisation as a skill and do not do the Analytics, and if Analytics is different than Visualisation

  •  the natural conclusion is that we need to extract the Visualisation as a stand alone skill.

As a side effect

  • this also means we can leave the "auto generated" visualisaions from Analytics tools/platforms as part of the Analytics skill, (or more pointedly being able to use the Chart function in Excel doe not mean you have the Dat a visualisation skill)
  • on the other hand we can now highlight that Visualisation is quite different - its practitioners "need training and experience in graphic design, psychology, visual rhetoric and evaluating communication effectiveness."

On the question whether Visualisation is not an IT native skill -

  • SFIA is continually being extended into domains which may not have been considered as IT native.
  • While SFIA has a large user base of organisations and people in Enterprise IT- that is not the sole domain of skills defined in SFIA. The SFIA approach is attractive to related disciplines and with the boundaries blurring it is no longer feasible or desirable to draw a had line around IT native.

One example provided for both specialised Visualisation roles and not being an IT native skill is roles in Health Informatics

What we decided