Since we just passed the mid way point for 2012, it seemed like a good opportunity to stop and take stock of the situation. 2012 has been an interesting year so far and there are several distinct trends that have been bubbling up. Here are a few that we see:
Demand for database and SAS skills. Big data is real life for a lot of our clients. They are dealing with powerful data warehouses that contain customer data from many touch points. They need data analysts that understand digital… not pure web analysts.
One of the most commonly heard statements from our clients this year has been: It is a hell of a lot easier to teach them Omniture than to teach them how to be an analyst.
If you are a digital analyst in 2012 and you have not figured out how you are going to get your SAS and SQL skills, now is a great time to start. Your Omniture skills are only going to get you so far from here.
The market for junior talent is the fastest growing segment. Companies are waking up to the value of hiring junior talent and developing them in-house. There are a few key reasons for this:
Experienced analysts are hard to find and hard to retain.
Teams are bogged down in labor intensive, low value work. This wastes your valuable analytics horsepower AND causes them to quit every 18-months.
Companies are waking up to the value of giving their reporting and routine analysis to junior analysts. It frees up their analytics horsepower for higher value work and gives the newbie’s an opportunity to train and develop.
Here’s the catch… these jobs are mostly on a contract basis. The overall economy is still not great and companies are not approving new headcount quickly. They would prefer to spend more on contractors and services at the moment. If you are trying to break into digital analytics you might have to quit your job and take a contract for work experience.
Market for contract talent expanding: We are seeing more growth on the contract side of our business so far in 2012. Clearly, the trend toward using junior analyst contractors has played a big role, but there are other factors involved.
“Big data” is evolving quickly. It is taking different shapes and forms within different verticals and within each company. Almost across the board, our clients are combining data from many different sources to answer business questions.
Most of these efforts are in the early stages. The individual analytics disciplines may be relatively mature, but in many cases the effort to create greater value by combining them exists only on white boards.
The approach seems to be to invest in developing the tools, processes and talent using a blend of vendors, contractors and FT employees. As these teams mature, the focus will probably shift toward reducing the operating cost and transitioning these functions over to FT employees.
There has been a shift on the supply-side, as well. More analytics professionals are opting for entrepreneurial career paths and they are drawn to the high pay and lifestyle benefits of contract work. This is creating a more vibrant marketplace for independent contractor talent in analytics.
These are some of the trends that our team has seen so far this year. Would love to hear from you. Are you seeing the same trends? Are there any that we failed to mention?