Want to grow the analytics workforce? Go out and get ’em

Yesterday, Red Door Interactive held an intern event. We have four paid internship openings for this summer, in four fields (marketing communications, email marketing, SEO and web/digital analytics.) The purpose of the event was two-fold:

1. Tell the interns a little bit about the different positions – What is web analytics? What is SEO? – and give them a chance to learn, ask questions, and figure out what they’re interested in.
2. Get to know the interns, to start the interview process.

When interns came to the event, they had previously applied and indicated which of the positions they thought they might be interested in. Not surprisingly, a large percentage were Marketing Communications – because who knows what web analytics or email marketing is if you don’t already work in the field?

What was amazing was how many spoke to me after the event or emailed to say, “I put down Marketing Communications, but now that I know more, Web Analytics sounds really interesting to me!” or furiously wrote down my web analytics book recommendations.

So here’s where I got to thinking. Those of us in the industry, especially those of us in a manager, director, VP level (etc), lament the lack of smart, qualified people, and how hard it is to hire. There are too many positions and not enough good people to fill them.

Well you know what? We need to do something about that.

So here’s what I am going to do. I am going to reach out to local universities and colleges, and see how I can start getting in front of students. I am going to tell them about our field, what we do, what the work is like, what a “day in the life” involves. Some students will shrug, but I guarantee that some students’ eyes will light up, just like they did yesterday.

We’re not going to encourage more smart young people into our field by hoping they stumble upon analytics. We’re not going to grow our industry by random chance. We need to go out and get them – and there’s no time like now.

Who’s in?

9 thoughts on “Want to grow the analytics workforce? Go out and get ’em

  1. Michelle,

    Could not agree more. I myself had to be nudged/pushed into analytics and I could not be more thankful for that.

    Great idea of having the interns come in and get a bit of insight into what opportunities there are out there. I hope you continue to document this process over the course of the year as you select the interns and they learn and grow in this area.


  2. Sweet! You guys ruuuuule.

    Rudi, I know what you mean. I feel so lucky to have “landed” into something so fun, challenging and interesting. To the point where, when I meet a rare analyst who is very “meh, whatever” I want to yell at them “DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?! YOU HAVE THE COOLEST JOB IN THE WORLD!”

    I just really want to help our industry find more bright people, and have more people feel as lucky as we do – to do something fun with their lives and work.

  3. Love the idea. I think you could get all of the local WAW groups to help with this if you wanted to lead the charge on content.

  4. Amen. You would be shocked at how many brilliant people there are who just need to hear about Web Analytics as a career and be given a shot at pursuing it.

    I think we still tend to put too much emphasis on the skills that can be taught (Omniture, GA, JavaScript, etc.), and not enough on the character traits that make great analysts: integrity, curiosity, creativity and commitment.

    Find those elements in an analytics candidate and the rest will come easily.

  5. Thanks for the nudge I needed, Michelle. I plan on visiting my business school and let the undergrads know how awesome web analytics is as a career choice.

  6. Great post!

    We have been thinking of recruiting interns for our analytics marketing efforts. We should start now… By doing this, we are benefiting from and at the same time contributing to the field.

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  8. Had an interesting conversation at Omniture Summit on this topic – specifically working with universities to create programs for web analytics. I noted that we should also be looking at adding coursework on how to manage and invest in analytics to MBA programs. Seems Oral Roberts University is growing an interesting program in their B-School.

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