Diversity & Inclusion in Digital Analytics

By Daniel Laws posted 02-01-2017 02:33 PM


As one of the Philadelphia DAA chapter leaders, I have noticed the lack of diversity within the field of digital analytics. In Philadelphia, the majority of the participants at events don’t reflect the markets that we serve. I believe that two parts of the challenge are 1) a lack of education for professionals at the collegiate level and 2) a lack of awareness of career opportunities. We’ve often discussed the challenges of identifying talent. I believe that additional education, awareness of careers, and a diversity or inclusion initiative are necessary.

Educate Future Digital Analytics Practitioners & Universities

Based on the feedback from my staff, there is a lack of awareness of digital analytics in many of the universities which our future practitioners because they are unaware of the profession. It is important to get digital analytics into the curriculum because businesses are increasing their dependencies on measurement as part of the decision-making process. I believe that we need to develop standard communication with universities and colleges. Additionally, let’s promote career opportunities such as Data Scientist, Digital Analyst, etc. through career services departments, job fairs, and proactively seeking speaking engagements.

Improve Accessibility to Digital Analytics Platforms

The lack of awareness about digital analytics contributes to limited access to digital analytics platforms; however, hands-on experience is hard to come by unless you’re with an organization with a specific tool or platform. The Adobe Analytics Challenge offers students an opportunity to access real data. But, I would assume that the universities involved have digital analytics programs or are already exploring ways to create programs. Most of the job postings require certifications, knowledge of SAS, R, SQL, etc. So, let’s provide candidates with the tools. By helping them understand the fundamentals and obtain certifications, we’ll help increase the talent pool and fill some of the job openings.  

Engage and Include Diverse Practitioners

I’m not just talking about minorities and women but also people who took a unique career path into digital analytics. I have spoken with people across the country in digital analytics with backgrounds in everything from marketing, to math, to psychology. It’s important to share information, experiences, and career paths with each other and future practitioners.  A clear opportunity to expand career possibilities is a mentorship program. As of now, the in Analytics is a step in a positive direction.

The mission of the DAA is to advance the use of data to understand and improve the digital world. Through professional development and community involvement, we at the DAA need to be at the forefront of driving diversity and inclusion within the field of digital analytics. It can improve the analysis of data and provide different perspectives to create hypotheses for testing.

“Don’t tell me that there are no black people who are good at math. There are black people who expert at quantitative analysis. I worry that it becomes a way to exclude.” - Michael Wilbon (ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption)

Please comment with your feedback or recommendations on how we change perceptions and diversify our community!




02-24-2017 12:58 PM


I think the process starts with the university departments.  I would consider a high-level campaign on the DAA and the talent gap within the market.  Several universities are creating programs for social media without including analytics into the program.  

02-24-2017 12:52 PM

Check these links from Google out too. 

02-24-2017 12:39 PM


I read this article today from ASAE and thought it was relevant to this online conversation, too!

02-17-2017 05:04 PM

Another idea (related to Dee's post about starting at a younger age) - I hope you read Charlotte Whitmore's blog post about her 9 year old nephew who came to a recent DAA Symposium.  

Charlotte suggested today that we consider setting aside two passes for each Symposium and giving them to a middle school or high school student & their teacher in that chapter city.  We could suggest that the pass be reserved for a student from an underrepresented population so as to promote digital analytics as a career....

02-16-2017 03:21 PM

Great post Daniel!  I think you have some great ideas in mind on how to improve diversity and inclusion.  I would offer up that we should consider starting at a younger age level.  By the time many students reach college, they have determined a major or definitely by their 2nd/3rd years are entrenched in an area and may not be as easy to convert into the digital analytics field.  I suggest that we consider the high school STEM programs perhaps and "adopt' a program so to speak to open up their eyes to the field of analytics.  I do agree though that we should continue outreach at the college level and in underrepresented areas to help shape the future generation of analytics leaders.  I'd be interested in collaborating more around this topic.  

02-14-2017 01:43 PM

Great stuff, Daniel - many thanks for taking the time! I agree that the DAA’s job is to grow the profession
I love the idea of getting digital analytics into the curriculum at more universities. If we were to embark on a program of bringing digital analytics to the attention of more schools - other than the program Marilee mentioned - what might that look like??

02-13-2017 06:20 PM

Daniel:  Thank you for your insightful and thoughtful comments.  We are all interested in promoting the profession of digital analytics, and we know talent is a huge issue for our members.

We are starting a new program this year where a company can sponsor a university membership - in essence, paying for their dues so all their students and faculty can join DAA, utilize the resources, meet practitioners, and hopefully consider a career in analytics - maybe even at the sponsoring organization's company.  


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