“Thanks for all your help this summer. I’ve started to implement some of the suggestions you made and there are more on the way.”
I received that update from the first client I worked with in the Analysis Exchange, which was more than anything else, the single most awesome part of participating in the Analysis Exchange. A personal note outside the scope of required end of project evaluations reminded me that the organizations are using the insights which we worked so hard to produce.
The projects I was able to work on as a student were just about the most fun I had at work . . . ever. As a result of the projects I was mentioned in a of web analytics blog, went to XChange in Monterey, and created some interesting charts and graphs which elucidated key points to the non-profits.
The Analysis Exchange, which you should by now know, is a volunteer effort to connect three groups:
- Non-Profits Looking For Online Insights
- Mentors Giving Back and Taking on Another Direct Report
- Learners Trying To Get Into Web Analytics
Eric Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified put this whole thing together and has done what can only be described as a phenomenal job. I formally nominate him for the whatever community award is available for web analytics.
Whenever I talk about my mentors in the Analysis Exchange with people from the industry I don’t have to explain who they are, or even where they work. I haven’t been able to determine if this is a function of an interconnected community or their individual awesome-ness, but it was again my great fortune to work with three extremely well recognized people in the web analytics community.
My mentors provided key points at just the right time which pushed the projects towards success, keep them in mind for the future recruiters.
Organizations looking for new talent seem to often be tool specific, my perspective as an individual speaking with companies is:
- The lack of experience on a tool outside of Google Analytics hurts candidates
Since the Analysis Exchange is, rightly, committed to free tools so everyone can have access this is likely an issue larger than the current effort.
Industry Expert Opinions
“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)”
As part of a Web Analytics Association Career Development project I have reviewed numerous anecdotal interviews with respected members of the web analytics community.
- These interviews largely omit tool specific knowledge
Mentoring the Analysis Exchange
Transitioning to a mentor has further reinforced Marshall’s notion that smart people will pick up the tools:
- Student: Pandu Truhandito
Even at this early stage of the project he is asking all the right questions, in particular I am impressed with his understanding of statistics.
- Contact: Stephen Blyth
Stephen took the extra effort to ask a question related to the project of interested participants; this extra effort made me even more excited than I was to work on the project.
- Non-Profit: New Zealand Drug Foundation
An NGO which for over 20 years has ‘advocated strongly for policies and practices based on the best evidence available’ to reduce and prevent harm from drugs in New Zealand; research from one of my advisors on this topic is here.
Working on challenging projects with inquisitive people is something that I very much enjoy.
If you are in the SF Bay Area, or willing to work with someone remotely, and could use:
- Econometrics, Linguistics, R, Python, Google Analytics and more:
- Omniture,Coremetrics, Unica
Email me, or give me a call at (415) 294-1839.
If you just want to ask about the Analysis Exchange, or talk about the economics of crime, that would be cool too.