Considering a Career in Web Analytics?

If you are considering a career in Web Analytics, here are some things for you to consider.

What’s your Passion?

Are you a person who finds statistics fascinating and just can’t get enough data? Do you love the Web and always have ideas on how to make sites better? Can you imagine yourself working with folks in marketing and IT to implement analytics solutions, or launch a new online marketing campaign? Are you creative, technical and analytical by nature? Do you love using data to come up with a hypothesis, and then using additional data to test your hypothesis?

If you said “no” to any of the above questions – Web Analytics may not be the career for you. However, if you said “yes” to all of the above – keep reading!

What’s your Background?

Currently there are limited educational and degree options in the field of Web Analytics (although I’m sure over time this may change). Folks from many different disciplines and backgrounds are now working as Web Analysts, although some backgrounds may lend themselves better to getting up-to-speed in this field.

Folks with a background in other forms of analytics, statistics, or any role where they had both interacted with marketing and IT/developers, I feel, would transition well into the role of a Web Analyst. Also having some exposure to marketing, usability, and maybe even writing a little bit of code is also helpful.

A Web Analyst must be able to work with both marketing and IT folks. Being able to understand the marketing requirements of an analytics implementation, along with being able to communicate the technical requirements to an IT developer are essential skills.

Another important skill is to be able to look at the metrics and data and be able to analyze and understand trends, patterns and recognize red flags. Being able to then take it to the next level, and use that understanding of what these trends (or red flags) mean, in order to both tell a story of the performance of a site and a campaign, but to also be able to make educated recommendations on how to improve them.

In the end Web Analytics is both an art, and a science and it really exercises both sides of your brain.

How to Get Started

Ok so now that you’re really sure this is the career for you – how do you get started? Here are a few ways to “dive in”.

  • Ask your current employer if you could transition into a Web Analytics role – either joining the existing team and helping out in order to learn the ropes, or forming a new team if your company does not yet use any analytics.
  • Get familiar with Google Analytics by adding it to your personal or business web sites and start reading up on all the info and advice they provide to help you interpret your data.
  • Read some of the industry standard books on the market today:
    • Web Analytics: An Hour a Day – Avinash Kaushik
    • Web Analytics 2.0 – Avinash Kaushik
    • Web Analytics Demystified – Eric T. Peterson
    • Actionable Web Analytics – Jason Burby, Shane Atchison, and Jim Sterne
    • Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics – Brian Clifton
    • Web Metrics: Proven Methods for Measuring Web Site Success by Jim Sterne
  • Join the Analysis Exchange at Web Analytics Demystified as a student and get paired up with a mentor.

If you have any other questions on getting started, feel free to leave question in the comments, or contact me directly.

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