The Skills Recruiters Look for When Hiring Analytics Talent
This week we are happy to introduce Vijay Ramaswamy, co founder and director of Analytic Edge, a provider of high impact business solutions leveraging advanced analytics and technology. Vijay has shared his thoughts on the kind of skills that analytics recruiters look for when hiring analytics talent. He has over 12 years of experience in developing analytical solutions and product development involving big data and has worked with companies such as IBM DemandTec, Symphony Services and Novartis Pharmaceuticals in various roles ranging from Analytic solutions leader to consulting and process automation. Vijay holds a Business Management degree from XLRI, with a Masters in Statistics from university of Mumbai.
Two decades back, the industry was buzzing with the idea of collecting and storing data to ensure that valuable information was not undermined. However, today the industry is seeing a paradigm shift and businesses are concentrating efforts to generate valuable insights from the stored data.
The word “Analytics” is gaining prominence worldwide and experts are working hard to provide precise definition to this brand name. It is essentially the process of breaking a problem into simpler parts, using the available data to solve these problems and finally acting on the insights generated to make business decisions. It is not a tool or a technology; is a way of thinking and acting.
Every industry needs analytics and it involves everything from collecting information, rationalizing the storage of valuable information, tracking and reporting the trends and using the historical information to predict futuristic trends. Depending on the priorities of a company, their ability to digest analytical insights and their growth plans which should involve gaining an edge over the competition, businesses should think deeply about the kind of analytics roles or profiles they need. Depending on this companies must then invest in hiring the right analytical talent.
Roles within Analytics
Business Analyst – This is an entry level role. Graduates in any discipline with an affinity to handle data, reports and numbers is the basic criteria. Companies look for the following skill sets for this level:
- Knowledge of MS-Excel and key data mining functionalities within Excel
- Ability to frame simple hypotheses
- Use inferential statistics to dig deeper and find answers to these hypotheses
- Present the report in a concise power point presentation with charts and graphs
- Working knowledge of SAS, SPSS, R or SQL will be an added advantage
Statistician – This is a specialist role. Post graduates or Ph.D. in statistics, econometrics or relevant discipline with a strong foundation of data analysis concepts is the basic criteria. Companies look for the following skill sets for this level:
- Ability to recommend technically robust solutions to drive strategic business decision making
- Train and mentor business analysts to set up the framework
- Ability to translate complex statistical concepts in a client interpretable form
- Strong understanding of pros and cons of different statistical techniques used in analytics packages; SAS, SPSS and R
- Ability to defend the recommended solution against industry benchmarks
Software Developer – Graduates with very strong quantitative aptitude and experience in developing products is the basic criteria. Companies look for the following skill sets for this level:
- Ability to grasp the analytical need from a technology requirements perspective
- Ability to propose ways to handle data integrity
- Strong knowledge of best in class and cost effective technology
- Ability to streamline, support and maintain the process
- Ability to create a visualization layer for analytical outputs; be it big or small data
- Working knowledge of SAS, R, SQL, Java and Hadoop will be a strong advantage
Domain Expert – All of the above mentioned roles within analytics may not be effective without a domain expert. DE needs to have a complete understanding of the client business. Companies look for the following skill sets for this level:
- Architect smaller to enterprise level analytical solutions for business stakeholders
- Develop the analytical framework in line with industry benchmarks
- Translate requirements to the execution team
- Collaborate with clients to drive the implementation
- Monitor the impact on business decisions to enhance the solution capabilities
For e.g. a retail domain expert, among other functions of retail domain should have a complete understanding of the shopper marketing framework, be able to design solutions required to get a full view of retail shoppers, provide benchmarks on techniques used, set up the right team required for development and collaborate and drive actionable insights with the client to enhance end customer experience.
As Analytics evolves so will the roles. Those considering a career in analytics have much to look forward to in terms of exciting and challenging growth opportunities and a rewarding career path.