Slideshow Where data professionals spend their time, and wish they didn't

  • June 15 2018, 6:36am EDT
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A small percentage of time goes to data analysis

While data professionals are among the most important employees at many organizations, much of the work they do doesn’t generate insights or strategies for the company. Instead, it involves data clean-up and preparation, modeling and troubleshooting. A new study by Nexla, “The Definitive Data Operations Report,” breaks down just how data professionals spend their time each month, and what they find to be the least enjoyable activities.

Data clean-up and prep = 17 percent

Data scientists say data clean-up is the least enjoyable task they undertake each month by far, perhaps in large part because it is the most time-consuming thing they do. It fell to the number two spot among data engineers.

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Analysis = 14 percent

The whole point of data management is data analysis, enabling organizations to gain new insights into customers, competitors and market trends. Yet, data professionals spend a minority of their work time each month actually analyzing data.

Managerial activities = 12 percent

While data pros spend a notable percentage of their work time on managerial activities, clearly the majority don’t aspire to managerial roles. Data scientists and data engineers ranked managerial activities as the third least enjoyable task they perform.

Data modeling = 12 percent

As automation is embraced by more organizations, a large number of data professionals hope that data modeling will be one task that can be turned over to software programs. Data modeling ranked as the number two task that data pros said they would gladly relinquish to automation.

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Product work = 10 percent

While product work is not a dominating task in their monthly to-do lists, a majority of data professionals clearly recognize the value of a hands-on approach to it. Product work ranked as the task they least thought should be entrusted to automation.

Troubleshooting = 10 percent<br/>

Troubleshooting was one of the most-often performed but least enjoyable tasks performed each month, but the degree depends on who you ask. 35 percent of data engineers cited it as the least enjoyable of all, while that number fell to 16 percent for data scientists, who ranked it as number two least enjoyable task.

Data integration = 8 percent

Even though the amount of time they spend at the task isn’t substantial, data pros say data integration is one task they perform that could greatly benefit from automation, freeing them up to do other things.

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ETL jobs = 5 percent

While the classic data operations tasks of integration, building data pipelines, and ETL take up 18 of respondent’s time, an increasing amount of time goes to data preparation activities. This comes as no surprise, as the amount of data that organizations create and compile increases dramatically.

Other = 7 percent

When you add up all the time that data professionals spend in data preparation and clean-up, data modeling, and troubleshooting problems with analytics efforts, clearly there isn’t much time left for other things. In fact, data pros sped only 8 percent of their work time outside of the efforts listed here.

Building data pipelines = 5 percent

Like data integration, building data pipelines isn’t a favorite task of data pros, and it is another area they feel could greatly benefit from automation, freeing them up to do more strategic things.