With constant talk of the impending analytics talent shortage and the growing complexity of the analytics discipline, a lot of industry watchers are trying to understand who makes a good analyst and why. The folks at the International Institute for Analytics (IIA) are among them. In a blog post yesterday, Greta Roberts, an IIA faculty member and the chief executive officer of Talent Analytics, expressed the organization's desire to "understand the people who are well suited to this sophisticated challenge."
Roberts wrote that the IIA is driven to learn more about an analytics professional's DNA, as it were, for this reason:
In addition to mathematical models and computers, the real component driving innovation in analytics work is the analyst him or herself. Arguably, the person operating the keyboard is more important than all other factors combined. Though much has been written about data models and computing infrastructures, little is known to date about what drives the people behind the keyboards to do what they do.
The escalating need for analytics talent will force businesses to "move beyond reliance on experience and other standard demographic information to access other talent inside their organizations as well as recent college graduates with little or no experience." Wouldn't it be nice, she asked, to use IIA participants' own discipline to assess the traits comprising true analytical talent -- and maybe even predict performance?
I think so!
If you're working with complex analytics for a living (which many of you clearly are), the IIA is looking for your participation in a survey aimed at understanding the traits of analytics professionals. This is a call to action for you, the analyst. And to you, the statistician, data miner, predictive modeler, econometrician, actuary, data scientist, informatician -- or however your business card might read.
If you participate in the survey, you'll be answering the usual slew of demographic questions. But you'll also find questions about your ambitions and behaviors, Roberts wrote. Rest assured that "everything asked is value neutral and intended only to learn about the people doing this work."
The IIA researchers feel digging beyond the demographics is important, because the additional questions will "lend insight into the workers themselves vs. meta-data about the workers," she wrote. "We hypothesize these metrics may have more predictive power than education, experience and other more traditional metrics."
The Understanding Analytics Professionals survey is available here. Feel free to share the link with other qualified analytics professionals. According to Roberts, the IIA expects to publish results by yearend. And, of course, we'll be hoping to share some of them here.