17 Key Traits of Data Literacy

17 Key Traits of Data Literacy

January 10, 2019 DATAcated Challenge 0

I just published an ebook entitled “17 Key Traits of Data Literacy” that I believe also applies to data scientists.

The 17 traits are broken up into 4 categories: Knowledge (what we know), Skills (what we can do), Attitudes (how we think and feel) and Behaviors (how we act).

The ebook is available for free download here, but since not everyone wants to subscribe to an email distribution list, I’ll go ahead and paste the list of traits below:

A data literate person…


  • Knows how to distinguish between different elemental forms of data
  • Is familiar with ways that data is collected, structured and stored
  • Grasps fundamental principles of analysis and statistics and when they apply
  • Understands ways to visualize data and their respective benefits and drawbacks


  • Reads and understands visual displays of data created by others
  • Cleans dirty data and combines multiple data sets together for analysis
  • Explores data sets and identifies relevant facts, patterns and trends
  • Creates clear visual displays of data to reveal insights to others
  • Communicates effectively using data and information gleaned from it


  • Believes that data is a language that anyone can learn to read and speak
  • Feels confident using data as a resource to answer questions & identify new ones
  • Is alert to common pitfalls into which people fall when working with data
  • Considers ethical use of data and the impact on society to be of utmost importance


  • Seeks out and creates data as a means of gathering information
  • Identifies areas of improvement in the data and associated analysis
  • Advocates for the effective usage of data in communication and decision-making
  • Spreads data literacy through the active and competent use of the language

Ben Jones

Founder, Data Literacy, LLC


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