Skills Required for a Web Analyst – Part I

Web Analytics is one of the hottest career fields and it is becoming very hard to find experienced web analyst. One way to counter this shortage is to hire the people with the skills them could eventually make them a great Web Analysts and then train them in the Web Analytics.

So what are the skills that you should look for when hiring people who don’t have years of Web Analytics experience? This was one of the questions I asked when I interviewed a few of Web Analytics professionals (Note: these interviews were conducted about 3 years ago but the answers are still relevant). In this 2 part series I have compiled their responses, which should help you in understand what skills you should look for when hiring a web analyst. If you are trying to enter or switch to the field of Web Analytics then this should give you an idea of what skills you need.

Here are some of the responses:

I believe that an ideal Web Analyst should poses blend of Business and Technical skills. He should be articulate and understand the online business quickly.
Trinadh Rao, Country Manager Web Analytics Association, India Web Analytics Manager at Franklin Templeton

A great deal of tenacity and, being sharp enough to make the connection between right and left brain items.
Daniel Shields, Web Analyst at CableOrganizer.com

In my opinion a web analyst needs to understand the data and site dynamics of their particular website. Should have decent technical knowledge, good customer focus and attention to details. Should intuitively pick insight from an otherwise burgeoning deluge of data.
Jaisiri Chetty, Asst. Manager (Insight), Tesco.com

In terms of education any advanced course in statistics should work as a passport to Web Analyst job. He/She should be genuinely good at collating different industry information.
Apurba Sen, Product Manager at Rediff.com India Ltd

A sense of abstract thinking and Art (seeing the whole picture at once) is important for Web Analytics work.

I think what a lot of companies are asking for has nothing much to do with what is needed to be truly effective. In order to be effective as a Web Analyst you don’t usually need a degree in statistics or be trained as a rocket scientist (yet that is what all the job descriptions I’ve seen ask for – like a big long laundry list) you need the ability to understand what some one needs to measure, what the goals are, and a technical mastery to the tools, the web analytics platforms being used. The least important thing is to know the tools beforehand – because anyone can learn them fairly quickly who is not brain dead (yet this is precisely what most interviewers ask for first – knowledge of the tools)

The most important thing, in any job, is being effective in the job you’ll be hired for –being trusted, that you can deliver what say you can deliver on…and a lot of that is based on trust, on conveying confidence, conveying authority. The technical part is more like the icing the cake, as far as I’m concerned. I go for rapport, gut feeling, intuitive knowledge and visualization of what my clients want and need, and even what they don’t know to ask for, but which they still need…I try to give them…and this is not just at IBM, but all my work is done like this.

You know you’re effective when you’re allowed to work on the “big problems” in your organization. It’s a feedback loop. You need to get trust of higher ups so they’ll let you get the relevant experience that actually makes you valuable in the marketplace (so that you can “move up”). The paradox is, believing in your self first, is necessary in order to get any kind of trust and buy in so that you’ll be allowed to work on the big stuff.

You also need people to like you – and for some people, that’s easier to achieve than others. I won’t say that people that are disliked are not effective – they can be also, but they’re probably miserable and less effective than if they were liked.

But none of these skills is actually what is asked of you in an interview – yet some interviewers will make note of them, nonetheless and the one’s that do are the one’s to work for.
Marshall Sponder, Blogger at Webmetricsguru.com

More to come in part II.

Original Post: Skills required for a Web Analyst – Part I – Web Analytics, Behavioral Targeting and Optimization by Anil Batra http://webanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/02/skills-required-for-web-analyst.html#ixzz1FkEREDmq

4 thoughts on “Skills Required for a Web Analyst – Part I”

  1. I totally agree. As a senior web analyst with a few years on my belt and several websites I encounter the same type of questions everywhere. Which is, how do we perform against our goals. So as a web analyst you cannot be data geeky but rather business geeky with a sense of data.

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