20 Data Analytics Careers That Aren’t Data Scientists

“Data science” hype has hit a new high. Here’s how I know: The latest trend in questions about analytics careers is people asking about data science education… for their children.

Dear parents, there is no magic data science school that will put your child on the road to tech domination. Any respectable college that offers classes in statistics and related fields such as general mathematics, computer programming and the sciences, is a good place to begin a career in analytics.

And while we’re on the subject, “data scientist” is not the only analytics job title. For one thing, it’s not a well-defined role, and the actual work varies significantly from one employer to another.

One pundit described the data scientist to me as “someone who develops data products,” a concise and meaningful way of differentiating his concept of the job from other analytics roles. The thing is, a lot of people now have that title, and not many are actually developing data products. So much for that idea.


Last month, I posted an article outlining 10 Data Analytics Careers That Aren’t Data Scientists, and it was mighty popular. So, for all of you (and your parents) who are interested in data analysis, and want a wider choice of options for an analytics career, here are 10 more analytics careers that aren’t (usually) called “data scientists.”

A statue of celebrated cryptographer Alan Turing in Manchester, England. Turing was a pioneering English computer scientist and mathematician whose ground-breaking work is thought to have brought WWII to an end four years early. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)


Cryptographers (also called “cryptanalysts” or “cryptologists”) create and decipher encryption codes.

Spy movies and television have brought attention to the role of cryptographers in intelligence agencies and the military. England’s famous computer scientist Alan Turing was a cryptographer whose work was invaluable to his country and its allies during World War II. The fictional Inspector Morse was a military cryptographer before he was a policeman.

While many modern cryptographers also work in government agencies, others apply their skills in private sector. The finance, software and communications industries all require encryption to protect the privacy and security of business and personal transactions and communication.


Biostatisticians use apply statistical analysis to research in medicine and other life sciences, including public health, epidemiology and biology. Biostatistics (also called “biometry”) skills are invaluable for planning and evaluating clinical trials and other research in healthcare and environmental sciences.

Data journalist

Data journalists are investigative reporters who leverage data analysis and programming skills to identify and share information with the public.

One recent study found that while few reporters currently have formal data training, dedicated data teams are becoming common in newsrooms. Open data initiativesdata leaks that are growing in frequency, size and complexity, and increasing public interest all encourage greater use of data and analysis in reporting.


Geneticists are biologists who study the inheritance of traits. Some focus on molecular-level detail, while others approach the subject at the level of individual organisms or whole populations. Their work is relevant to all living things from humans down to single celled organism, and applications are found in medicine, agriculture, environmental sciences among others.

Genetic counselor

Genetic counselors support physicians, other health care providers and individuals by assessing risk of inherited conditions. They offer information and guidance to people concerned about risks of genetic disorders and birth defects.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates rapid employment growth for genetic counselors over the next few years.

Plant breeder

Plant breeders do a lot more than mess around in dirt. They develop new plant types, identify and control growing conditions to maximize plant health and crop yields, manage pests and handle logistics for production and distribution of plants for food and other uses.

Read Plant Breeder Justin Ma‘s answer to What careers involve probability, statistics, and making inferences? on Quora

Population ecologist

Population ecologists study the ways that living things interact with other things, living or not, in the environment. They identify the factors that affect a population’s size and health, and the mechanisms and dynamics of those influences. As influential biology journal Nature put it, “The study of population ecology includes understanding, explaining, and predicting species distributions.” An application tailor-made for data analytics.


Sociologists study interaction among people, from one to one interaction to the workings of whole cultures. Most conduct research in academia, research institutions or government, and make extensive use of survey research, economic and human behavioral data.

Sociology is a popular and competitive field, and the number or research positions is not growing. However, sociology education is good preparation for many active fields, among them marketing, management and public policy work.

Political scientist

Political scientists analyze the development and function of governments and public policy, based on both quantitative and qualitative information. When you see an expert commenting on the impact of public policy changes, or the potential for those changes to happen, that expert is likely a political scientist.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a decline in political scientist jobsover the next few years. However, political science education is appropriate for many other careers, among them law, many types of government service including elected offices, marketing and market research, and management roles.

Survey Researcher

Survey researchers plan, conduct and analyze results of surveys. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts substantial growth in survey research jobs, and no wonder, since surveys are used extensively in marketing and other consumer research, political polling, academic and government research.

I’m author of Data Mining for Dummies, and creator of the Storytelling for Data Analysts and Storytelling for Tech workshops. My work focuses on two challenges: 1) helping technical experts communicate effectively with everyone else, and 2) providing guidance for organizatio…


Meta S. Brown is author of Data Mining for Dummies and creator of the Storytelling for Data Analysts and Storytelling for Tech workshops. http://www.metabrown.com.