Support Us

As coder is for code, X is for data

February 11, 2011 in Ideas and musings

For code we have the term coder, as in, “he’s a great coder”, but what do we use when talking about data? datanaut, datar, data wrangler, data hacker, data geek …?

Suggestions (and votes) please in a comment or tweet! (@okfn or @rufuspollock)

Would also be nice to have equivalents for the many variations that code has: hacker, geek, codesmith, programmer …

Update: 14h in …

So far have the following list. Many of these are 2 word versions of form data + ‘something’. I personally have a preference for just one word (as in coder versus software developer …).

Single words (generally newly coined!):

Two words

  • data wrangler (x3)
  • data geek (x2)
  • data nerds (Hjalmar)
  • data cruncher (Conrad)
  • data juggler (Conrad – job description!)
  • data artist (@psychemedia)
  • data mechanic (@exmosis)
  • data engineer (@Laura_B_James)
  • data scientist
  • data prospector (Francis Irving)
  • data researcher (may be a bit different)
  • data ninja (Ted Smith)
  • data investigator
  • data shepherd (Eric Hellman)
  • data analyst
  • spreadsheet monkey

Other (existing general word but possibly applicable here):

  • Conrad

    Thought the generally accepted lingo was cruncher, ala data cruncher?

    Although my job was advertised as a data juggler.

  • Hjalmar Gislason, founder and CEO DataMarket

    At DataMarket, we call ourselves “Data Nerds”.

    Even had some shirts made with the slogan “Big Data Nerd”, see:


  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Open Knowledge Foundation Blog » Blog Archive » As coder is for code, X is for data --

  • Chris Wallace

    I like datasmith – partly because it would work well as a surname, should we want a new round of occupation-based names :) , mostly because it invokes a sense of forging useful things out of intransigent raw material

  • Ted Smith

    We have used the term Data Ninja

  • Francis Irving

    We’ve been toying with “data prospector”.

    I’d love a more common word for this!

  • Lisa Evans

    My job was advertised as ‘data researcher’ but I like to be an ‘investigator’.

  • Hans Overbeek

    A coder gives code, like a donor (Latin for giver) gives data (Latin for given). Therefore X = donor. @HoverBee

  • Ady Coles

    I think the term ‘curator’ captures the requirement well. A curator is literally someone who cares, and the push for Open Data requires people who care about the data – its quality, veracity, timeliness.

    There is also a need for wranglers and statisticians – those who take the data and make it make sense to the greater public – but the data needs to be curated.

  • Eric Hellman

    The only one of these I’ve actually heard used is “data wrangler” which has the virtue of being accurate. I sort of like “data shepherd” as well.

  • Dan Smith

    I think Datasmith is the one – will be using it as my new surname.

    I can only really add Dataphile. This is a good question for the Quora community to have a stab at.

  • Benny Daon

    We need this role definition, but I think it has to be a bit broader – we need to find a word to describe someone who enriches DIKW – data, information, knowledge and wisdom.

    My word would be learner and a great learner is someone who artfully enriches a given DIKW.

  • SubtleBlade

    This would not be popular, but surely it’s ‘clerk’?

  • Acme


  • Alex Skene

    In one of my old jobs, officially I was a “data analyst”, or more colloquially as “spreadsheet monkey”…

  • Campbell

    What about byte tuner

  • Angelica Peralta

    I propose term datasolver and datadelver (as in excellent @michelleminkoff series) and love DATA scientist as a concept for high end BIG DATA crunchies

  • Marcus Dapp

    Coder -> Dater Hacker -> Miner

  • freeswitch guy

    I like data miner, or byte master?

  • Pingback: miscellaneous factZ – The online home of Rufus Pollock » Blog Archive » Shuttleworth Fellowship – Activity in the Last 3 Months

  • Keith McDonald

    Have to enter this albeit a year late – with such a great conceptual brain storm having gone on – I’m going to talk about this on our blog space (which wasn’t around last year). The “Data Journalist” is the new news gatherer and we’re finding them in media everywhere. I guess in a company, a “Data-ite” might work or “Data-vangelist”or even “Dater” (as opposed to your “Datar”). That works especially well with your analogy of code … coder … data … dater ….

  • ethang

    How about datician?

  • Jonhnny Weslley

    +1 datar. shorter and simpler is better!

Get Updates