Interview with Jeremiah Owyang

 Following up on a post in which Jeremiah Owyang, (@jowyang) Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, describes his job responsibilities, I asked him a few questions about valuable skills in the analyst industry. Clemson communication students learn excellent research skills, and Jeremiah’s job is an example of putting those skills to work.

Read his blog post first, then this Q&A:

Dr. V’s comment: Thank you for explaining the nature of your job. I’ll share this with my students, who often find it hard to believe that the research and writing skills we teach them in college will ever come in handy :)

JO’s response: The Research job is laborious, but important in making decisions. Every day analysts and researchers influence how millions of dollars are spent and managed. As a result, they’re well compensated, and are one of the top non executive earners in the industry.

Dr. V: What are the top 3 most useful/important skills for your job?

JO: Seeing the big picture. Numbers and facts are useless without insight, analysis, and perspective. Students need to first get real world experience before becoming a researcher or analyst, I’ve served my time working up the corporate ladder for 7 years (which is considered very fast), I’m 31, and haven’t even reached the mid-point in my career, so work hard and stay focused. When I first started to focus on social computing, people laughed at me, they thought blogs and social networks were silly and for kids, now it’s a major industry.

Dr. V: What are some things college students should focus on/try to learn well if they hope to work as a researcher/analyst someday?

JO: Think strategic, think about the large scope of things. Be very aware and absorb lots of information, including info outside of school, teachers, and class. I read materials online, and made a vow to learn one new skill everyday at my internship.

Dr. V: If/When you interview for a new position or an internship, what are the most important things you look for in a candidate? What are the deal breakers?

JO: Ambition, ability to communicate effectively, and I’ll be checking out their Facebook and MySpace page to understand what they’re really like. The good news is, we want to see the human side of a candidate, but the party pics should probably be in a private folder. Ironically, I was a poor student in High School and College (but I did graduate). I did well in the creative arts, and was never great at math or business classes like accounting or Finance. Fortunately, in the workplace, one can find their true comfort area.

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