With businesses producing mountains of data daily, finding ways to visualize it properly is a major factor in creating actionable insights. However, data visualization today has evolved far beyond the pie charts and bar graphs we can use in Excel. The field today is vital in turning insight into action and can help find unseen patterns and connections.

Even so, when you’re thinking about how to become a data visualization expert, there may be more questions than answers. The field incorporates several disciplines, and even data visualization software requires some knowledge to fully maximize its potential. Learning about data visualization can give you a broad background in several fields, and being an expert has its own value.

But how can you get started? Here is our strategy to help on your road to becoming a full-fledged data visualization expert. Good luck!

Free Guide to Data Visualization: From What It Is to What It Does — And How It Works for You

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1) Start with the Basics—Read about Data Visualization

One of the first things people notice about data visualization is that there are several basic concepts that must be understood to get started. Because the field is so connected to big data, statistics, analytics, and other disciplines, it’s important to see how each plays a part in your visualizations. You don’t need a doctorate in every field, but you should know enough about each to understand how they all come together, and how they affect the way you can visualize data sets into actionable results.

There are some resources you can find online, including several outstanding blogs that deal with related fields. The key is to understand data well enough that you can create unique visualizations. Try reading a little every day, and focus on areas where you feel least confident.

2) Learn from The Best—Take as Many Courses as You Can

Self-learning is great, and some people can get far with it. However, to be the best, sometimes you must learn from the best. Taking a course can help you understand data visualization in more ways than one. While reading will give you a strong background in some disparate fields, learning with an expert can help you understand analytics and visualizations better. Most importantly, there are several different ways to approach data visualization, so finding the one that works for you requires a deeper comprehension of the field.

There are some awesome alternatives, including courses on Coursera and Udemy, that can give you a strong foundation in both the conceptual and practical applications of data visualization. It’s vital to start putting your initial thoughts into concrete lessons to become a visualization expert.

3) Open Your Toolbox—Learn about Different Data Visualization Methods

The wonderful thing about data visualization is that there are so many different ways to approach a problem. Moreover, it doesn’t matter if you have years of experience coding or have an acute allergy to computers. For beginners and the non-tech-savvy, there are several data visualization tools that can be greatly enhanced when you know how to use them.

Coders can also choose from a variety of languages, like D3, which can bring visualizations to another level as a tool that delivers a simple way to interpret and manipulate data with a low-level, non-monolithic framework. Bottom line: take the time to understand the tools you’re using to make sure you get the most out of them when you visualize data.

4) Take it a Step Further—Learn how to Code!

Still not sure about learning code? There are incredibly powerful data analysis and visualization tools available on the market, and they let you create unique and actionable visualizations. However, no matter how great they are, you can always make them better when you can check under the hood and add your own special touch.

The field of data analytics and visualizations is wide open and evolving, so understanding how the back-end works can let you add your own touches and create unique visualizations. This doesn’t mean you need to learn every programming language used in the field to be able to create your own models. However, you should understand the benefits a language offers you. Learning to code is a crucial skill when you’re serious about learning data visualization. Start with free courses online, and if you find you like it, get more serious by getting certified!

No matter which path you choose to take, it’s important to educate yourself to become an expert. Data visualization can help you find better answers to your data’s questions, but without having the right tools, your results will be incomplete. Take the time to learn, and follow these easy strategies to quickly become a data visualization guru.

Free Guide to Data Visualization: From What It Is to What It Does — And How It Works for You

Read now