You’re an Analytics Developer. You’re not an Analyst, but You Should Be.

Last week I wrote about a Twitter thread discussing technical skills that are important for non-technical analysts to have. As a technical analyst myself, I appreciated the bulk of the replies. If you’ve yet to read the article, I would invite you to take a couple of minutes to take it in.

In contrast to that article, I was curious as to how the same audience might respond when asked the opposite question. So, I posted the following to Twitter:

Twitter Post: What are some analytical (non-technical) skills an analytics developer needs to be better at what they do?

I thought the responses were, much like the answers to the original question, straightforward, but enlightening. In fact, I credit having been given similar advice early in my career for much of the success I’ve had.

  • “Understanding the business ask and also what are the Kpi’s which business is trying to drive towards :)”
  • “Plain-english naming conventions”
  • “Pulling reports that show the impact of the implementation update. Bonus points for being able to communicate the implementation process from business question to code to business answer across silos using simple language”

The takeaway for me is that, as a technical analyst, or someone responsible for converting data requirements into an implementation, knowing how the data is to be used is important. It’s not as simple as implementing without question. If you understand how the data will be used, or what business question(s) the requirement is intended to answer, you may also know of a better way to get at the data. You may be well equipped to spot issues or irregularities.

In addition to the above points, one response stood out to me as somewhat unique.

“Empathy”

Empathy. I had to think about this one for a moment. Once I spent some time with it, it became my favorite response. Empathy.

I know that much of the data collection work we do is “urgent” or a last-minute request. I recognize that some of our non-technical peers may ask for “ridiculous” or “impossible” things. I’ve experienced those “our app just launched the most important feature in years and we forgot about analytics, can you save us!?” moments just like you.

Empathy.

Many non-technical people are honestly intimidated by the more technical aspects of our digital world. It’s up to us to help ease those concerns; to educate — even just a little — as we go. It’s our responsibility understand where the analysts are coming from, and what we can do better position them for success. The rewards for everyone — yes, for us, too — will come.

Empathy and understanding. Relationships and partnerships. These are skills for both technical and non-technical analysts alike.

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Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

Sharing what little I know with the world.