Whether you're employed in web analytics now or thinking of entering the field, whether you're looking for a new job or preparing to talk to your current employer about compensation, it's important to know the going rate.
So ... what kind of research should you do in order to find a reasonable salary range for your position in web analytics? Here are 4 different, complimentary approaches to try:
1) Seek out surveys
Eric T. Peterson recently released a study on salary distribution in the web analytics industry. By all means read Eric's 10-page report and then go check out the Web Analytics Demystified site for more data. Other surveys exist, as well. Anil Batra just released some research of his own in the past week.
2) Search the job boards
Try this: Visit your favorite job board and search for your favorite job. Most postings you turn up will not explicitly state a salary, but a few will. Use what you find as a point of reference.
To make this task easier, job search aggregator Simply Hired has an advanced search that allows you to isolate postings with salary info (there's a checkbox in the green section). My personal favorite job listing site, Indeed.com, has a salary search function where you can compare average salaries for jobs containing certain keywords.
3) Talk to people
But please ... only if you promise to do it tactfully and sparingly. The entirely inappropriate question, "How much do you make?" need not be spoken! However, checking in with a trusted peer or two can help you figure out if you're on the right track during a job search.
Try talking about ranges rather than absolutes, and never press people to divulge their personal details. How about, "So, I'm job-hunting and I've done some research and the positions I'm looking for are offering in the $X-$Y range. Does that seem reasonable to you?" At the least your conversation partner can answer yes or no, or if you're lucky they might give a few more words on the subject.
4) Keep an open mind
Think about other forms of compensation - not just money - and figure out what will give you the most satisfaction with your career. I know that's hard for us - we're numbers people, after all - but it's so SO important. A blog post I wrote last fall sparked a nice conversation thread on this topic. Read what my commenters have to say, think about what compensation means to you (tangible and intangible), and then determine your own acceptable salary range in light of the bigger picture.