Starting out as an analyst it is difficult to know where to start and how to continue improving. In a fast moving industry here are some constant aspects of Analytics that can help you grow in your new role. If you are a manager and just hired someone new, hopefully this list can help spark additional ideas on how to get your new Analyst ramped up and ready to go.
Follow The Leaders.
As a New Analyst one of the most important things you can do is build a core understanding for Digital Analytics and the different aspects of the industry. A great way to do this is by reading about various topics from the thought leaders in the space. Doing this will help you grow quickly and gain knowledge you couldn’t get otherwise. Here are a few of our favorites: Web Analytics Demystified, Occam’s Razor
Learn The Basics.
Google does a great job of providing documentation and training videos for you to read/view. Reading and watching these videos will help you gain a solid foundation not only around Google Analytics but also general analytics concepts. Learning these concepts will also help you feel more comfortable when you dive into the tool. Once you finish the Google Analytics Academy, you are now ready for Tip #3! (Google Analytics Academy)
As an analyst you will learn multiple Analytics tools throughout your career. One of the current leaders in the industry is Google Analytics. This is a free tool which makes it easy for any type of business to implement, and the test is also free so there is no reason for you not to take this test! Getting certified proves your skills as an analyst and builds your credibility when working with others.
Building relationships is important regardless of the position you hold at a company, and being a Digital Analyst is no different. A great way to build relationships with analysts in your community around the states is through the Digital Analytics Association (Click here to visit the DAA). The DAA mission is to make Analysts professionals more effective and valuable through both community and development. And the DAA will do exactly that by giving you opportunities to develop as a professional, build your knowledge through their Knowledge Center, and provide events you can attend.
Find an Analytics Mentor.
One of the quickest ways to grow as an analyst is to find a mentor early along in your career. By doing this you can gain knowledge and experience you could not acquire on your own at a much quicker pace. A mentor will also help you understand where you need to grow, where you want to be and how you can get there efficiently. Mentors can be someone on your team or they could also be someone you meet outside of your company (Example: Meet through DAA events)
To say as an analyst you will use Excel quite a bit is a huge understatement. Being able to work efficiently in Excel is an important skill to master if you want to be a successful analyst. Understanding what formulas and shortcuts you have at your disposal can help you analyze data in a more meaningful and effective way (Note: Start with VLOOKUPS & IF statements).
Know Your Industry.
Anyone can put together a dashboard and send it off to the client (well, almost everyone). However, if you want to be a true thought leader and an agent of change for your company and clients you work for, then understanding the industry you are in is crucial. Understanding a client’s industry will help you provide more relevant and meaningful insights and recommendations.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
We all know the saying “practice makes perfect” and this phrase certainly applies to being an analyst. When you first start your role you will notice that there could be days where you are looking for work or are in that awkward phase between training and starting on your own client. One great way to gain experience and an understanding for a client and the various tools they use is by re-running reports. Ask members of your team if you could put together one of their reports and then check your work against the report they actually send out. Doing this will help you become more familiar with your reporting tool and Excel and also show you are ready for more work in the future.
Put A Tag On It. (Understand Tagging Basics)
- Analytics tools such as Adobe, Coremetrics and Google all collect a vast amount of data, and the only reason we can collect all that data is due to analytics tagging that is set up during implementation. Familiarizing yourself with tagging will allow you to troubleshoot issues and help provide insight into what tags need to be added to a site in order to acquire different information about your customers. But more importantly it will help you understand how the data is collected so that you can speak intelligently about the information you are reporting on. A great way to do this is by sitting down with a technical expert on your team.
Data Visualization. (Search data visualization on Google)
One of the biggest issues Analysts can run into is the inability to convey or visualize the data in a clear and simple way while still getting their point across. Some of the insights/conclusions we come up with as analysts are not always that simple or easy to translate. Therefore, having effective data visualizations to help tell that story can go a long way. Visit here to view multiple examples of effective Data Visualization.
Understandably there are lots of great ways to help yourself grow as a Digital Analyst, but doing these 10 will help you get yourself on the right track. As you continue down the path of becoming a Digital Analytics expert, continue to grow and learn from the people around you, and don’t be afraid to speak up and share your thoughts and provide a new perspective to the team (Click here to view our post around having a New Perspective).
Please let us know if you have come across any other important “Tips” that have had a positive and long term impact on your career as an Analyst. Look forward to hearing from you!