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):

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Rufus Pollock is Founder and President of Open Knowledge.

23 thoughts on “As coder is for code, X is for data”

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

    Although my job was advertised as a data juggler.

  2. 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

  3. We’ve been toying with “data prospector”.

    I’d love a more common word for this!

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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 ….

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