Patrick @glinskiii once identified three large buckets of skills in his “it takes an orchestra” argument for web analytics programs. It feels like years ago (it’s probably only been about a year), and it has since evolved. It goes like this:
There are three large skillsets in web analytics.
T’s, or Technical Analysts, specialize in the technical side of web analytics. They’re the people who can tell you where to put single quotes versus double quotes in the S.Campaign variable of Omniture.
S’s, or Strategic Analysts, specialize in strategic side of web analytics. They’re the people who can tell you the social process necessary to take an insight and translate it into action.
A’s, or Analytical Analysts, specialize in extracting insight out of web analytics. They’re people who know what a social graph is, and how to read it, run statistics, and consult on infometrics.
Not all the boxes are exclusive. For instance, an ‘A’ ought to know how the S.Campaign variable works. An ‘A’ also ought to know how to talk to somebody from creative. T’s ought to know infometrics if they’re doing any front end setup.
In general though, it is exceedingly hard to be good at the skillsets within T, those within S, and those within A. For instance, to be a very good A, you need to practice statistics regularly. It takes years of trial and error to become a very good S. The S skillset demands extroversion, which is sometimes at odds with A’s. To be a good T, you need ultimately know how to program. T’s are ultimately technologists.
That’s not to say that good TAS’s don’t exist though. They do. They’re just incredibly rare. It’s far more common to find people who have done T, S, or A at different points in their career, who can, indeed, return to a different skillset with some ease.
Finding people with 5 years + in web analytics, and with exposure to all three, is hard. And it’ll probably get much harder post-recession.