Educational Opportunities in the World of Web Analytics

Hello Nation!

My name is Sean Kelly, and I am the newest writer for Analytics Nation.  I am a web analyst for a web design and online marketing company in Maryland.  My quest for web analytics nirvana begins here with you.  We are going to learn as much information as we can on the rapidly growing field of web analytics.  I have so many questions, and I am sure you do too.  What are the key metrics to analyze?  What tools provide the best solutions to my analytics challenges?  How do I turn all of this data into actionable insights for my company?  The goal of Analytics Nation is to provide readers with the valuable information needed to address all of their analytics obstacles and inquiries.

I want to begin briefly with the status of web analytics job market.  What did I get myself into and where is this industry going?  From reading the blogs of Avinash Kaushik and Anil Batra, I have learned that the field of web analytics is gaining momentum, and there is actually a shortage of skilled web analysts.  According to a report by Aberdeen Group, web analytics has reached mainstream corporate America; however, the major obstacle to successful implementation of analytics is the lack of knowledgeable employees.  So how
do I gain more knowledge?  What are the educational pathways to success?  Batra suggests that there are four main avenues.  There are vendor sponsored programs, analytics consultants, community forums, and academic programs.  Academic programs, you say?  Yes, I was surprised too.  I had never heard of a web analytics program offered at a university, but as recently as 2007, North Carolina State University (NCSU) began a Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) program.  The graduate program requires ten months for completion.  It is a cohort-based learning experience, which means the individuals in your program remain consistent, and teamwork is a major point of emphasis.  I think that this one of the greatest parts of the program, considering web analytics requires a good deal of teamwork.  It requires healthy relationships between your company and the vendor of your analytics tools.  It also requires efficient communication between the members of your company’s analytics team and the executives to deliver actionable insights.  The students of the MSA program have achieved over 90 percent job placement by graduation, and they earn competitive salaries.  This is one of the few traditional educational opportunities that I have learned about for the field of web analytics.

The Web Analytics Association (WAA) offers an online course in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC).  There is the WAA-UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics and the Web Intelligence Certificate.  The total program fee for the Award of Achievement is $2,700 (CAD).  Two-hundred thirty-nine alumni from the Award of Achievement program decided to pursue the Web Intelligence Certificate, according to the UBC website.  Batra highly recommends this program, but she is also an associate instructor for the program.  I think that this program is a viable alternative to the graduate program at NCSU.  First of all, the program is much more affordable.  The MSA program is over $30,000 for out-of-state students.  Wow!  The WAA-UBC program is also part-time and offered online; whereas, the MSA program is full-time and only offered on-campus.  This WAA-UBC program could be useful for someone with a full-time job, hoping to add a few web analytics skills to their repertoire.

If you are truly interested in an academic program, then I recommend you continue to shop around for the program that is best for you.  I also recommend, whether you pursue higher education or not, that you purchase Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik.  Kaushik is the co-founder of Market Motive, Inc. and the analytics evangelist for Google.  Kaushik will provide you with the keys to enlightenment!  One of Kaushik’s most underrated skills is his ability to write effectively and intelligently.  The style of his writing is illuminating, and he makes complex issues accessible to the common man.  In addition, all of the proceeds from the book are donated to two charities.  The Smile Train, which does cleft lip and palate surgery in sixty-three of the world’s poorest countries, and Ekal Vidyalaya, which supports schools in rural India, are the charities that benefit from your purchase of the book.  So go buy this book!

I hope that all of you readers find this information on the job market and educational opportunities in the field of web analytics to be useful.  Stay tuned for more news on web analytics!

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