As the market gets more competitive, companies that know the exact traits they are looking for will be in a much better position to hire the right people. Target Data's Bailey offers these items as things to look for when hiring people to fill analyst positions.
Data--Experience with how data is organized, accessed, cleaned and integrated.
Basic Statistics-- Crosstabs, significance testing and/or general linear modeling.
Creative Problem Solving--Someone who is good at puzzles, visualization and strategy games.
Social Sciences--Candidates should have a good blend of data, experimental design and theory
Market Research--Approaches to sampling, testing, segmentation and reporting experience is a plus.
Advanced Statistics--Nonparametric, neural networks and/or econometric modeling.
Experts also point out that the answer to your analytical problems may require the skills of more than one person. The amount of knowledge needed for analytic positions is growing fast. Different areas of your organization may require analytics people, but the business side may require people with different areas of expertise. This is just another point that demonstrates the complexity of these roles.
"Today's analysts are more like yesterday's creative, as opposed to IT, professionals. CIOs need to recognize the 'design shop' nature of this role and hire individuals into an environment where they have the opportunity to own a puzzle and the time to produce a solution," Bailey says.
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Finding Analytics Talent
Where to find the talent necessary to fill your company's analytic roles is a harder question to answer. Bailey has two suggestions: one is to target companies with data-rich environments that are leaders in their category. "If a company has an abundance of revenue-relevant data and is excelling in their category (e.g., Amazon, Harrah's, Capital One), they are flush with excellent analytic talent," says Bailey.
His other suggestion is to use consulting services until you are able to get your analytics personnel in house. As demand and competition in this market rises, you can be sure that more advanced analytics will be sourced externally.
Hiring and retaining the best analytics talent will require different strategies for different companies. The company that does it right, however, will have an edge over its competition.