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    November 21, 2007

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    Alex

    Hey June,

    Thanks for the shout out! Yeah, I'm even doing it on Thanksgiving :-P I swear, I'll still be eating tons of turkey and pie.

    Funny you should bring this up, I'm speaking on web analytics to marketing undergrads at Villanova next week. Basically, I'm going to turn the web analytics boot camp post I did on Manoj's blog into a presentation, http://manojjasra.blogspot.com/2007/11/alexs-1-month-web-analytics-boot-camp.html

    Do you (or your pals at Aquent) have any good info about starting salaries I could include? From what I can gather, 1-3 years of experience should get you $70 - $90k, which is pretty compelling for new grads.

    Any other ideas are always most welcome.

    Cheers,
    -Alex

    June

    Hi Alex --

    I like your boot camp post. I've given very similar advice to new folks, myself: read books, read blogs, talk to other analysts. You've included a couple other points that I think are important, especially for beginners: get training and do some planning. Good luck with your Villanova presentation; I know you'll blog about it.

    Compensation is a tricky issue. Salary depends on so many factors: geography, skills requirements, type of company, etc .... if you want a good sense of salary range, seek examples in your geographic region with your target skill set. At the least you can dig around on job boards and find postings with a stated salary range. My pals at Aquent may have some additional advice; I'll try to get'em to post it here.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    -- June


    S.Hamel

    Hey June, if you think of it, kite flying does have some similarities with our job: you need to control it, the environment can sometimes be tricky and we always need to keep a minimum level of focus so we don't crash :)

    For compensation, I agree that it's a very tricky issue. In a way, once you've got bread & butter and some good jam to go on top, money isn't an issue. Being passionate, believing in what you do, and having fun is what's most important. Another good resource to look at is the Gallup Q12 survey, a simple questionnaire that provides a pretty good view of employee engagement and satisfaction. As an employee, filling out the questionnaire can provide a good introspection opportunity.

    Thanks for the shout! And I hope our web analytics path cross again soon!

    St├ęphane

    James Gardner

    Hi Alex -

    Re. "Do you (or your pals at Aquent) have any good info about starting salaries I could include? From what I can gather, 1-3 years of experience should get you $70 - $90k, which is pretty compelling for new grads."

    There's no definitive answer here, but on balance, your range feels a little high -- especially for a recent graduate working outside of a major metropolitan area.

    As I see it, there are at least 3 hurdles in front of new analysts looking to break into the field (never mind looking to make the kind of money you're describing) -- the difficulty in getting recognized academic credentials, the value most employers place on real-world analytics experience, and the benefit of having a well-connected social/professional network.

    Given these obstacles, many would-be web analysts start their careers in either (1) large organizations with entry-level, reporting-centric roles (where little analytics is actually done), or (2) smaller organizations with non-traditional roles and career paths (where analytics is part of a larger technical or marketing job). While both paths can lead to successful, high-paying careers, they're usually seen as part of "paying your dues."

    (As an aside, many would argue that the first 3-7 years out of school are best spent building skills rather than chasing compensation. If you're learning and honing skills, you should definitely consider that as an investment in yourself. And, as June and I stressed during our eMetrics presentation, cash compensation should rarely be the primary motivation for accepting, rejecting, or leaving a job opportunity; career decisions of this magnitude should be much more holistic, thoughtful, and long-term.)

    All this said, the best way to determine your personal compensation potential is to scan job opportunities in your market, chat with your network of web analytics peers (ideally, some of them actual hiring managers), and introduce yourself to one or more staffing firms, like Aquent. If you're working as a web analyst, ask your manager how your compensation was determined and what specific skills/experiences will be required to advance further.

    Drop me or June an email if you'd like to pursue this discussion on a personal basis.

    Alex

    Hi James,

    Thanks for that very thorough response! I might just lift your "3 barriers" outline for my presentation at Villanova (with credit to you and Aquent, of course).

    Your tip about asking your manager about how your compensation was determine is a valuable one.

    I would add 2 things to your reply:

    1.) Specialized knowledge can influence your salary range. For example, if you have experience in pharmaceutical web analytics, then you can be in even higher demand.

    2.) Agencies are a great way to get web analytics experience. They're always desparate for talent and you've never seen a more trial by fire type of environment. The same is true for startups.

    Cheers,
    -Alex

    Alex

    Hey June,

    Here's one for your list:
    http://www.iqworkforce.com/analyticsstars/2008/07/23/the-secret-to-a-web-analytics-career-stop-learning-web-analytics/

    Cheers,
    -Alex

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