Introverts Can Be Great Data Analysts

Are you an introvert in a world that favors extroverts? This dynamic creates a challenging cultural pressure for analytics professionals.

Beth Schultz, Managing Editor, No Jitter.

August 5, 2014

2 Min Read

Analytics professionals are often told they need to be good at collaborating with the business, outgoing advocates of their analysis, and good storytellers. I always thought this was good advice, but lately I've been thinking how very difficult this might be for some people.

What's got me thinking is a book I've been reading, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," by Susan Cain. You may have heard of it, as it came out in January 2012. A family member thought I might like it and loaned me a copy to read. Coincidentally, I recently noticed the paperback version at my local Costco.

The author, herself an introvert, examines the rise of what she calls the Extrovert Ideal, questions the thinking that has made extroversion such a valued business quality, and shares the stories of one successful introvert after the next -- from Rosa Parks to Steve Wozniak. The book is chockful of history, psychology, and neuroscience, an interesting cultural exploration of these personality traits.

Defining the traits
As Cain points out, you won't find a standard definition of introversion and extroversion, as personality psychologists all bring their own perspectives to bear in defining these sorts. A good starting place for understanding the difference is with the work of psychologist Carl Jung, who popularized the terms "introvert" and "extrovert" with his 1921 tome, "Psychological Types." Jung theorized that introverts tend to look inward to their own thoughts and feelings while extroverts direct their attention outward to other people and external activities. Introverts are often shy, though shyness and introversion are not one and the same. They tend to be contemplative and reserved, especially in contrast to the stereotypical aggressive, outgoing, social animal known as the extrovert.

Read the rest of this story on All Analytics.

About the Author(s)

Beth Schultz

Managing Editor, No Jitter.

Beth Schultz is Managing Editor of No Jitter. Beth has more than two decades of experience as an IT writer and editor. Most recently, she was the founding editor in chief for UBM Tech's, a three-year-old editorial site for analytics, IT, and business professionals that's developed into a go-to community for thought leadership and conversation on the analytics, business intelligence, and data management disciplines. Prior to that, she brought her expertise to bear writing thought-provoking editorial and marketing materials on a variety of technology topics for leading IT publications and industry players. Beth was also a longtime editor at Network World, where she oversaw multimedia content development, writing and editing for special feature packages. In particular, she focused on advanced IT technology and its impact on business users and in so doing became a thought leader on the revolutionary changes remaking the corporate datacenter and enterprise IT architecture.

Beth has a keen ability to identify business and technology trends, developing expertise through in-depth analysis and early-adopter case studies. Over the years, she has earned more than a dozen national and regional editorial excellence awards for special issues from American Business Media, American Society of Business Press Editors,, and others.

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