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Thinking About a Career in Industry Analysis?

Date Published: November 30, 2021
Considering a career or at least a stop in market research or industry analysis? There is a ton of reasons why someone would want to enter the field. The job requires being able to call upon a diverse skill set to address problems that need solving or questions that need answering. The results produced, at times, can have a tremendous impact on business decisions, both tactical and strategic and with wide reaching impact. Or perhaps the contribution may be less earth shaking but nonetheless, still important to the clients you will serve.

Here is a list of necessary attributes that I have observed. Can certainly add more but as a starting point:

  • Analytical (obviously)
  • Good writer
  • Able to craft narratives and communicate them in various channels and modalities
  • Can see context and provide it for others
  • Able to frame issues that actually matter vs hype or what some term, shiny objects
  • Know how to collect quality and useful data
  • Networking demon
  • Capable of grasping nuance
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Understands the revenue side of things for markets as well as your own firm
  • Can identify what is market ready vs vaporware or a science project
  • Willing to grind, because sometimes that is the job
  • Some aptitude for technology, more so in some sectors
  • Can identify the real value proposition (if it exists) in what is being presented them
  • Guards professional integrity like gold
  • Knows the appropriate things to say depending on the forum or medium

If this seems too long of a list or an impossible set of attributes for one person to possess then perhaps you may understand why analysis-based roles aren’t for just anyone. As stated earlier, good analysis is a foundational element for business and investment decisions. I have witnessed companies invest billions of dollars into bad technologies and/or companies because of bias, faulty logic and poor assumptions. Senior executives who will not be dissuaded from blindly charging up a hill, financial people who focus on pinching pennies versus attacking actual opportunities or good technologies left to waste because the leadership didn’t know how to best capitalize upon them. Failure is a great teacher for us all be they via observation or our own experiences.

While one need not be excellent in all of these aspects listed above, the role isn’t just technical or about analytics. There are social, intuitive, finesse and perspective to go with the numbers and data. Being overly aggressive, negative or needing to tear down just about everything you see things will alienate a lot of people that you need to provide you with data and buy your outputs. On the other hand, one cannot really expect to get far by avoiding controversy and not having an opinion. The personal brand an analyst will have to build for themselves requires significant time and consideration.

The business is amazing though. Depending on your sector you could witness the next evolution in science and technology that completely changes the world. You may track the latest in hot consumer tech, the newest video game, mobile app, medical break throughs or some other really cool geek stuff. People may follow you for your thoughts and opinions. Your influence will be a marketable asset.

Or, you may find yourself covering a less dynamic space. These sectors may be more suitable for a person interested in delving down deep into data vs sorting through the flavor of the month. The analysis field is incredibly diverse in that regard and not every skill set is a fit for the sector one might cover. In other words, there are ways for a person to find their niche.