The Digital Analytics Developer

This article will outline a number of terms and work towards a basic definition of “Digital Analytics Developer”.

The article will show that the role is typically inhabited by someone who is a “generalist” – knowledgeable-but-not-expert in a wide array of topics and business tasks.  On the other hand, this person has a deep, end-to-end relationship with Digital Analytics data – from its definition in relation to business questions all the way up to presenting and explaining it to the consumers of the data.

Digital Analytics

For the purposes of this site, “Digital Analytics” refers to the industry concerned with the data that is generated as Users visit websites and use smartphone apps.

This industry revolves around the collection and exploitation of Digital Analytics data.

“Digital” vs. “Web”

This is a good point at which to note that “Digital Analytics” and “Digital Analyst” are the updated terms for “Web Analytics” and “Web Analyst”. The move from “web” to “digital” primarily serves to show the role nowadays encompasses apps, not just websites.

Digital Analytics Data

Digital Analytics data is collected, primarily, to provide a way of describing Users’ behaviour and their experience when using these websites and smartphone apps.

There are other, much more niche, sources of Digital Analytics data – Internet of Things (IoT) devices, set-top boxes, information kiosks, and so on – that the content on this site does not address.

Digital Analyst

Generally speaking, a Digital Analyst is someone whose job involves using Digital Analytics data to produce reports and analysis that lead to insights into how a website or app is performing.  Ideally, these insights can be leveraged to identify improvements to the website or app that can be measured and quantified using Digital Analytics data.

Digital Analytics Developer

So, where does the Digital Analytics Developer fit into this cycle of data being collected, interpreted, analysed, put to good use, and then collected again to prove the value it has helped to generate?

In short, the Digital Analytics Developer is the person who is responsible for collecting the data.  In practice, this typically means:

  • Administration of the Digital Analytics tool(s)
  • Definition of the data to be collected
  • Ensuring the quality of collected data
  • Provision of access to the collected data
  • Acting as the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for anyone with an interest in the data

Jack Of All Trades

There are numerous aspects to the job of the Digital Analytics Developer, and in some cases the various aspects are shared among members of a team.  That said, most of the people working in roles for which “Digital Analytics Developer” is a good fit share a basic skillset and a working knowledge (at least) of a common base of topics.

An interesting facet of the Digital Analytics Developer role is revealed in comparison to other “data” roles:  the Digital Analytics Developer has a much broader remit than most “data” jobs.

For example, the Digital Analyst might be involved at the beginning of the data collection process by providing business questions that aim to reveal something about a website’s performance.  The same Digital Analyst will likely be the end consumer of the data, generating reports, presentations, and recommendations.  Working at the company that provides the Digital Analytics tool that is being used, the Server Administrator might be hyper-focussed on the performance of the servers that collect the data, ensuring that the servers have a stable internet connection and the latest security patches.  At that same company, the Data Engineer may continuously monitor the rate at which data is flowing into various databases and continually optimise how that database responds to queries.

By contrast, the Digital Analytics Developer’s tasks will involve most (if not all) of the following:

  1. Gathering Business Requirements (the Digital Analyst’s “business questions”)
  2. Defining a data architecture that builds on the capabilities of the Digital Analytics tool in a way that will answer the questions
  3. Translating the Business Requirements and the defined data architecture into Digital Analytics Requirements that are presented to the team, project, or programme that develops the website
  4. Defining the Test scenarios that will be used to ensure that what is developed matches the Digital Analytics Requirements
  5. Authoring JavaScript code in the Digital Analytics tool that records website activity that is generated from what the website developers have now implemented
  6. Defining Test scenarios that will be used to ensure that what is recorded by the Digital Analytics tool is correct and will be sufficient to answer the Business Questions
  7. Configuration of the Digital Analytics tool to correctly process and present the collected data
  8. Testing that the final outcome (collected data) aligns to the initial Business Requirements

The above list, which is a kind of “worked example” of a typical engagement for a Digital Analytics Developer, demonstrates that the role crosses lots of business domains and demands a large variety of skills – only some of which have been made explicit.

In summary, the role requires a breadth of knowledge of a large number of disciplines in addition to a depth of knowledge when it comes to data collection technologies and techniques.

Industry Agnostic

The role of Digital Analytics Developer has an important characteristic that is shared with jobs such as Project Manager and Business Analyst:  it is not tied to a single industry; in fact, any business that has a website or app or both will have need of at least some of the talents of a Digital Analytics Developer.

In some smaller companies, the roles of Digital Analyst and Digital Analytics Developer may be filled by a single person or by a small team that does not separate the roles; this is likely to change in any organisation that puts serious stock in the value of Digital Analytics data that is reliable and is trusted (believed) by decision-makers in the organisation.

Summary

In this article, we gained an overview of the Digital Analytics Developer: someone with a breadth of data-related topical knowledge, a range of project and stakeholder management skills, and an in-depth, specialised Digital Analytics data and tools skillset, all of which can be used in any industry to help create value in Digital Analytics data.

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