Search Marketing: I always think of Web Analytics as a tool to help your search marketing strategy. Without an understanding of the different strategies that your business is implementing, how do you know what to measure. Paid Search, SEO, Email Marketing, Social Media, Press Releases, and Textual content are all different segments that web analytics should integrate with. Furthermore, once you know what strategies your business is implementing, it becomes important that you have a seat at the table so you can help plan for the future.
Programming / Software Development: Having a background in software development has come in handy numerous times in my career. Understanding a programming language makes it much easier to implement web analytics as well as make it much easier to speak with IT to make implementation changes on your behalf.
Many search marketing tools (including web analytics solutions) provide APIs which come in handy to integrate data from different sources. Having programming knowledge allows you to code your own applications without having to rely on other developers.
Office Tools, Excel/Access/PowerPoint: Microsoft office products (or similar technologies) are something you’ll use very often. Custom Functions, Charting Tools, Pivot Tables, V-Lookups are just a few components in excel you’d better get used to.
Anyone can get put together a few slides in PowerPoint, but it takes real skills to create a presentation which entices people to keep watching and listening.
I mention Access because in the past I have used Access to combine data from Analytics and Paid Search in order to understand the ROI down to the keyword level. You don’t need Access, you could use SQL Server or MySQL as well.
Deeper Analysis: This sounds like a fairly broad topic, but it entails the ability to understand things like Multivariate Testing, Statistical Analysis, Understanding Users (usability) and behavioral targeting. Having experience in these types of skills takes you from a great analyst to Web Analytics Guru.
Passion: This is a difficult skill to develop, it almost has to come naturally. You won’t really succeed as a Web Analyst without having a thirst to continually want to improve and learn. It has to go beyond trying to make $150,000/year, it’s having an understanding that if your business succeeds, then your team will succeed and ultimately YOU will succeed.
If you are looking for a career in web analytics and want to establish a solid foundation of skills as a part of your overall analytics training, then I recommend adding the skills below to your tool-set to help you become a very well rounded analyst before you enter the field. Taking a course on web analytics, reading a book on web analytics or subscribing to a web analytics blog are a good start, but frankly, are not good enough by themselves.