Big Data and the Transformation of Work
Big data will “transform every single job in the world” says Forbes magazine big data columnist Bernard Marr. And we agree. Yet not every single employer out there is aware of this coming transformation. To narrow the awareness gap a bit, here are five stunning examples of data visualization’s amazing power to display statistical information in ways that instantly show you what you want to know. All five depict aspects of how Americans are working today. Click and enjoy!
1. Flowing Data: A day in the life of America: This is how America runs
At the “Day in the Life” page, scroll down one image to access this hypnotic flowing graphic. Minute by minute, you will see the average working/living day of 1,000 Americans over a 24 hours period. Says its creator, Nathan Yao, “Each dot represents a person, color represents the activity, and time of day is shown in the top left. As someone changes an activity, say from sleep to a morning commute, the dot moves accordingly.”
Figure 1 by Flowing Data statistician Nathan Yao
2. How the Recession Reshaped the Economy, in 255 Charts
Here’s a monster learning experience from the New York Times. Just click on “Scroll” to expand the chart and look for industries that interest you. Post recession gainers and losers (green and brown lines) are shown vertically. Horizontally, the range goes from lower to high salaries. Totally absorbing, and the remaining 254 breakout charts track growth/loss by industry and by sector.
Figure 2 by Jeremy Ashkenas and Alicia Parlapiano for the New York Times “Upshot” feature
3. Where do college graduates work? A special focus on science, technology, engineering and math
This graphic illustrates the career choices of all colleges. It divides them into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and non-STEM college majors. And it’s beautiful. Just click on any college major to see where, and how often, students in that particular major choose to work. This graphic is also searchable by gender, by race and by STEM or Non-STEM majors, and differences here are very interesting.
Figure 3 by the United States Census Bureau
4. Flowing Data: Jobs Charted by State and Salary
First look at the national picture, then search for your state. Chi Networks is in Chicago, so we looked first at Illinois. The sliding bar instantly shows salaries from one job to another, slide all the way to the right to see which few occupations are making the most! Nathan Yao of Flowing Data has done it again with this terrific chart.
Figure 4 by Flowing Data statistician Nathan Yao
5. NFL FAN Friendships on Facebook Research at Facebook
Our final example is more about leisure than work, but it shows what you can learn from big data powerfully illustrated. Taken from the fascinating Research at Facebook blog what you can learn about all 32 NFL teams from 35 million NFL fans who use Facebook. Choose your favorite team to see to learn about its fan connections to other teams. Then look at other teams for comparison.
Figure 5 by Facebook Data Science Research Service
Seeing these examples, you may be thinking that they do more to sell big data’s sizzle than its steak. True enough. They don’t demonstrate big data’s practicability or value for employers. That’s a topic for future posts. Here we’ll leave you with a surprising observation by Alberto Cairo, a world expert in the field of data visualization. “No matter what your job is today: soon, you will become a data worker”.