February 2022 – The Future of Data Analytics and Where to Find Talent

The first event of 2022 was in-person and almost felt…normal. We had a good-sized crowd, pizza, some of Columbus’s finest microbrews, and a thought-provoking presentation about finding and developing analytics talent in an incredibly tight labor market.

And masks.

I said almost normal!

Jen Wells and Bill Baldarez shared the research, thoughts, and experiences they had that led to the creation of TalentID Academy. The essence of talk was that:

  • Organizations need to be more flexible in how and where they look for talent: focusing on aptitude and potential (initiative, curiosity, critical thinking, problem solving) rather than “traditional”credentials (college degrees, X years of industry experience, experience with specific tools). And, they need to be willing to hire and develop talent (Jen: “You can hire someone and spend six months developing them, or you can keep looking for another 6 to 8 months and hope you will find someone who needs less talent…but also will be more likely to hop at the next opportunity.”)
  • Job seekers need to demonstrate initiative (the Google Analytics Academy is free!), seek out formal mentors (just ask!), and explore ways to learn tools and skills that fit their budget and learning style. (Jen also counseled against being convinced to “work for free”—anything that feels like an unpaid internship, even if it goes by some other name; in this market, it’s unreasonable for organizations to expect this!)

The full deck is available, too!

The event photographer was pretty pleased with himself that, over the course of the last two years, he actually learned how to set a custom white balance on his camera. Scenes from the evening: