Web Analytics is one of the hottest fields these days. A lot of people are planning to switch careers and many students are looking to start their career in Web Analytics. This article is to help people who are looking for a career in this field.
Skills required to be a Web Analyst
First and foremost you need desire and passion to be a web analyst. Desire and passion will get you where you want to go. I believe (and this is my opinion only), if you have the desire and passion then you can acquire other skills. Not everybody will agree with me but again that’s my view.
Other most important skill that you need is Analytical skill. If you are a person who always looks at the problem from a different angle than most of the other people, you have what it takes. If you can put different pieces of the puzzle together to form a complete picture you have the skills to be a web analyst. If you can critically look at things, you have the skills.
Other Skills and education that will come in handy are
You don’t need a college degree but a lot of employers look for it and I look at it when hiring a candidate. Business, Marketing, Accounting, Statistics and Technical degrees will be very helpful in getting you the job but I have seen Web Analysts having diverse educational background.
Learning about web analytics
There are several resources available to learn about Web Analytics. There are several blogs on Web Analytics where you can get all levels of information on this subject.
First and foremost you should join WebAnalytics group on Yahoo. This forum is a great source of information. You will find all levels of web analysts in this forum. This is a free for all forum, even if you want to stay on sideline and just read message, you can learn a lot. If you have any question on this subject, feel free to ask at this forum.
Books that you should read:
1. Web Analytics Demystified
2. Web Analytics An Hour A Day
3. The Big Book of KPIs
4. Web Site Measurement
5. Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics
6. Always Be Testing: The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer
Note: I just added a list of books on Web Analytics, you can check them out at Web Analytics Bookstore
If you are prefer to learn in formal way then I recommend, the course offered by University of British Columbia. You can learn more about this course at http://www.tech.ubc.ca/metrics/curric.html. (I am one of the associate instructors for this course). This course is offered in partnership with Web Analytics Association (WAA)
Reading blogs, articles and whitepapers is another way to expand your knowledge. Most of the blogs are of advanced nature, so I would recommend you familiarize yourself with the Web Analytics field (see above) before reading these blog. Two of the blogs that I recommend are Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik and Web Analytics Demystified by Eric Peterson, the author of the books mentioned above. Both of these blogs have a list of lots of other blogs on Web Analytics. The more you read the better you will understand this field. Also check out Post Rank for a list of Web Analytics Blogs.
Twitter: At twitter, you can find a list of web Analytics folks and topics by searching for #measure. There is also a list of twitter users in the web analytics community at http://webanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-view-on-twitter.html.
Gaining Practical Experience
Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics) has made it real easy for anybody to get a web analytics tool. This tool is completely free with all the documentation to help you get rolling. If you have a website, deploy this tool and play with it. This will help you understand how web analytics tools and reports work.
To gain further experience, tap into your network, I am sure somebody (a friend of a friend of a friend…) will allow you (especially if you are willing to do it for free) to provide reporting and analysis on their site (real site).
Another great resources is Analysis Exchange. Analysis Exchange has created a training ground for new analysts all around the world.
There are several companies who are looking for entry level analyst. You don’t need any experience, all you need is desire to learn and grow. They will hire you, train you and provide the support to help you grow in this position.