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Business Intelligence Careers

The Hardest Analytics Skills to Find

6 min readView all articles
By John Pauler
Aug 10, 2020

You might have seen our article on the best advice from Analytics Recruiters. If you found their advice valuable (I know I did!) and have been waiting for more, you'll enjoy this...

Today we’ve asked our expert Recruiter panel another high value question:

What is the hardest analytics technical skill to find when you are searching for candidates?

Why should you care about their answers to this question?

As we've talked about before, when you're building a career, you want to put yourself on the right side of supply and demand. When your skills are both rare and valuable, you'll be in demand and will be able to write your own ticket.

By understanding the skills that Recruiters are having a hard time finding, you can start to think about which of these rare and valuable skills might be a fit for your interests and ambitions, and you can start learning.

Of course, you don't have to learn all of these, or any of them. But, if you've been thinking about how to make yourself more valuable, and weren't sure what to learn next, these are great candidates.

(Re-)Introducing our Recruiter panel

As a reminder, we brought you the best. Here's a quick rundown of their credentials...

  1. Each of these people is at the top of their game. They are Founders, CEOs, Partners, Managing Directors, VPs. We brought you the best!

  2. They have a TON of experience. The MINIMUM experience in Recruiting for this panel is 15 years. The Max. 30 years! These people know the deal. Listen to them.

  3. They all specialize. Remember last time when we talked about focus being your friend? These are niche players. That means they have deep expertise and a vast network in a specific area. This is the type of Recruiter you want to connect with.

  4. I recommend each one of these people and stand behind that recommendation. They are great Recruiters. If you’re looking to make connections in their field, these are great people to talk to.

Now that we've introduced our top notch Recruiters, let's talk about the technical skills they have had the hardest time finding. We will run through their responses in no particular order...

Tim Walsh is a Partner at MICA Consulting Group, where Marketing Analyst positions are a major area of focus. I have known Tim for over 10 years, and he has been a great line to opportunities throughout. Check out what Tim says about hard to find skills...

Experience with certain statistical methods (e.g. predictive modeling, clustering methods, test design) are often hard to find.

Larry Kahn is Vice President at New Dimensions in Technology. They have been in the business for over 4 decades, focusing on placing technical talent and technical business people, and they work with candidates from junior levels all the way up to executives. Larry's "hard to find" skills are very much in line with my experience...

SQL, Python, and R are prevalent skills today. It depends on each company how technically deep a candidate needs to be for a particular job.

Jamie Bernard is the Founder & Managing Director at Huntress Partners, a boutique recruiting firm specializing in Data Science, Marketing Analytics, and Digital Analytics. In terms of the Maven core audience, her focus could not be more spot on. Similar to her prior advice to aspiring Analysts, Jamie talks about the importance of real world business problem solving. I love it!

I think most analysts are coming out of school with solid technical skills. I would say, a harder skill to find is someone who can apply those technical skills to real business problems.

Dan Foley is the Founder and CEO of Curate Partners, which specializes in serving organizations seeking digital transformation and technology innovation. A major component of their business is Data and Analytics roles, and they also handle Product Management and User Experience, which is great for those in our audience who consider themselves “quant business people” rather than pure play Analysts. Similar to Dan's prior advice to see trends and "follow the money", he's already seeing some of these trends play out and result in a talent shortage...

I would say anything around AI or Machine Learning. We know it’s the future and the bigger players like Apple, Google, IBM are all putting out tools, but there is not enough talent to utilize them until they are in the market a little longer.

Scott White is a Senior Vice President at HireMinds, which focuses on Marketing, Digital, and Communications searches, largely in the Boston area. They work with candidates with a wide range of experience. If you’re looking for work in the Boston area, HireMinds is very well connected, and Scott is a great person to know. In additiona to identifying AI and Data Science as tough, he offers some good advice on how to add these skills to your tool kit...

AI and data science are among the toughest. If you don’t have this experience or want to sharpen your skills, do some research and find ways of learning it at a time that is convenient to you and that you can afford. Carve out time each day/week to read and explore. Look for opportunities in your current company to learn. Talk to people who are doing the kind of work you want to do. Volunteer to help on a project, even if it requires you to put in extra hours.

Next up, we have Howard Fishman, Managing Director at Analytic Recruiting. As the name suggests, his firm is very focused in Analytics, and recruits for a wide range of roles including (but not limited to) business intelligence analysts, data scientists, data engineers, and operations research folks, etc. They operate across the entire US. Howard is a great connection. In the past when friends have been laid off and have reached out for guidance, Howard is often the first person I turn to looking for roles to help them get back on their feet. Again, real-world business problem solving comes up as a hard to find skill. Such valuable insight here!

Its not the technical skill per se but the ability to understand how the data can be used to solve critical business problems - the ability to think outside of the box and connect the analysis to real world situations.

David Honig is the Founder and President of MarketSearch. He focuses on Marketing roles, where ability to work with data is often a core competency. For folks who consider themselves (or want to become) “Quant Marketers”, like me, David is a great guy to know. His firm works with experienced candidates (at least 3 years of relevant experience) who can hit the ground running as immediate contributors. Yet again, from David we hear about the challenge of finding great problem solving, insight generation, and communication skills. These are so important!

There are two types of Analysts. The first is an Analyst who can just pull the data & present to the Marketing Team. The other, a much more difficult find is the Analyst who can pull the data, sort and make sense of the data then most importantly add valuable insights to what these numbers mean and make the recommendations to help support innovative planning. Don’t be that first person; your career will stall.

In addition to getting a lot of valuable insight into the technical skills that are underserved in the marketplace, I found it great to hear that problem solving and communication skills were still so highly rated. Tools will come and go many times throughout our careers, but the ability to apply our technical skills to business problems and communicate the things we are uncovering will never go out of style.

I hope you found some value in this. Maybe you have identified a skill or two that you would like to pick up. If so, that's great. Help fill the talent void, and make youself more valuable!

Happy learning!

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John Pauler

John brings over 15 years of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

John brings over 15 years of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

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