Demand for Tool-Based Skills in Data Journalism

A few weeks ago, I visualized a sample of job announcements from the NICAR-L mailing list. After sending my post to the list, several subscribers contacted me to offer help and encouragement.

One of these subscribers sent me a link to a public list of job announcements that he had been maintaining since 2007. He suggested that I take a look at the specific skills employers were seeking, and noted that analyzing specific programming languages was a pretty low-hanging fruit.

Tools by Number of Mentions (2)

Because the list went back so many years, many of the links had expired, so I had to rely solely on the brief description included in each announcement. Many of the job announcements didn’t mention specific tools or languages, but of those that did, 21 mentioned Javascript, 19 mentioned HTML, 17 mentioned R, 15 mentioned CSS, 13 mentioned SQL, 11 mentioned Python, 10 mentioned Excel, 2 mentioned SAS, and 1 mentioned MATLAB.*

*Note: I decided to search for these languages and tools after reading this article. I also added Javascript, HTML, and CSS because a brief scan of the list told me that these skills were in demand.

There’s probably a lot more I could do with this data. Are there any questions you would like me to answer in a future post? Does anything here make you curious? You can let me know by commenting below or emailing me at

Also, I used BeautifulSoup for the web-scraping portion of this project, and I made the bar graph with Canva. I intend to write a brief summary of my experience soon.


2 thoughts on “Demand for Tool-Based Skills in Data Journalism

  1. This is great! One thing that would be interesting (but perhaps hard to implement) would be to see what skills and education enabled people to actually get hired. For example, looking at the LinkedIn profiles of people that have been recently hired at certain (maybe for a particular area or industry) companies.

    I’ve found that sometimes employers just list a bunch of buzzwords or nice-to-haves. In other cases, the job posting was obviously written by a HR professional with little understanding of the actual job requirements.


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