Many data professionals deal in the storage, retrieval and display of data from a central set of systems. But there is another side to our craft, and I think it’s the most rewarding part of the job for both the professional and the organization they serve.
Data, in and of itself, isn’t very interesting. It’s when that data gains meaning that the job becomes a lot more fun. Of course you have to know your data to begin with, and it’s also important to know the business side of your organization.
But visualization is important as well. Knowing how to create an interesting report, while not my main job, is a fun part of working with my systems. And from time to time I run across new ways to see and explore data, like this new tool from Microsoft Research: http://www.getpivot.com/.
Make sure you check that one out, and spend a little time learning how to show the data underneath all those servers and databases you control.