UPDATED: We got great quotes from the Vice President of Human Resources who hired Jan Alden Cornish that clarify how Analysis Exchange is making a difference when it comes to hiring web analysts. See below!
If you’ve worked in web analytics and digital measurement for long, or if you’ve ever tried to hire an experienced web analyst, you know that there are not enough qualified, experienced, and well-trained web analysts in the world. What’s more, for the majority of our sector’s development there was literally nowhere someone new could go to get the kind of hands-on education and experience that most hiring managers are looking for. Considered together the web analytics industry has been stuck in a “lose/lose” situation.
The training gap was the central problem we set out to solve in 2009 when we launched the Analysis Exchange. Our goal was to bring “student learners” together with experienced mentors to provide guided education and work to ensure that entry-level analysts were familiar with both the theory and practice of web analytics. Analysis Exchange was designed as a logical “next step” for people who had read books, followed blogs, or taken online training from great groups like the WAA via their University of British Columbia coursework.
What’s more, so that our students would learn to “tell a story with data and analysis” we opted to work with nonprofits from around the globe — a traditionally under-served group when it came to site analysis and insight generation. This turned out to be a great idea, and we are honored every week by a handful of organizations who are willing to help us create valuable training opportunities for our community.
I set a lofty goal for Analysis Exchange when I first announced the effort was open to everyone at the Emetrics Summit in San Jose last May — I wanted to help 1,000 nonprofits and create training opportunities for 500 students. Unfortunately we didn’t meet that goal … but we have made amazing strides, a few of which I’d like to share with you today:
- We have grown to over 1,250 members around the world, including 205 nonprofit groups and nearly 650 students. Following the Web Analytics Association we believe Analysis Exchange to be the single largest group of individuals interested in the subject of web analytics in the world — and we’re pretty excited about that!
- Our members have completed over 100 projects in the past year. What’s more, our students and mentors have earned awesome scores with an average “likelihood to recommend this mentor/student” score of 9.5 and an average rating for each member’s work of 9.4 (both out of 10.0)
- We won a prestigious award from the Web Analytics Association. Analysis Exchange was recognized as the “Most Influential Agency or Vendor” by the WAA at this year’s awards event.
- IQ Workforce has just agreed to help us grow and expand our efforts. Given our commitment to incubating new talent within the web analytics community this sponsorship makes great sense (read more about it here) and we’re delighted to have Corry Prohens and his team helping our mentors and students expand their horizons.
- We recently had our first student get a full-time job working in web analytics. This more than anything excites me … the fact that Analysis Exchange is working “as designed” for the web analytics community, helping individuals get the experience they need to bridge the gap between “knowledgable” and “employed.”
On this last point I wanted to share a little more detail. We have some pretty motivated mentors and students in the Analysis Exchange. One of our students is Jan Alden Cornish from Carmel, California. Jan has done three projects with us and in one case stepped in and helped out at the very last minute. He’s bright, articulate, and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet … so when he called and asked me to provide a reference for him on a job interview I was more than happy to help.
According to Jan:
“Completing three projects with the Analytics Exchange afforded me a rare opportunity to work side by side with seasoned practitioners. Each project had it’s own unique set of challenges. Nothing can replace hands on experience with real data and a need to solve real problems. Digital marketing doesn’t take in an organizational vacuum. These projects also provided me an understanding of organizational context in web analytics takes place.”
We also heard from the Vice President of Human Resources who hired Jan, Cynthia Nelson Holmsky:
“As a major e-commerce website we were recruiting for an E-Commerce Analyst and found an alumni of Analysis Exchange. While the candidate had many years of business and software analytics, his only web experience was through Analysis Exchange. However that Exchange experience provided just enough applied web analytics to win him the interview. During this recruitment I met other candidates with strong business analysis backgrounds who lacked any web experience, and I referred all of them to Analysis Exchange as a great place to learn web analytics and expand their career potential.”
Cynthia clearly understands the challenges facing recruiters and HR specialists looking for web analytics talent (emphasis mine):
“Web analytics is still a young discipline. Many individuals and businesses want to develop competencies in web analytics, but wonder “Where do you go to develop expertise?” Many colleges and universities have yet to integrate web analytics into their curricula, or what they cover is not hands-on, so Analysis Exchange is meeting a key need in the marketplace for individuals who want real world experience, while at the same time building supply to meet the demand for web analysis talent in the tech job market. Plus, the Exchange is meeting the needs of non-profit organizations that normally could not tap into this type of expertise. Analysis Exchange is a great idea, and a win-win-win model.”
Hopefully Jan will continue to support the Analysis Exchange — as a mentor, now that he is working professionally in the field. I also hope those of you reading this post will consider joining Jan in the Analysis Exchange. Signing up takes less than a minute and there are plenty of projects looking for mentors and students available right now.