What are best practices in establishing analytics professionals’ career paths?

Conversations with Experts

Jenny Schmidt

HR Consultant, Analytics Talent

Jenny Schmidt is a human resources consultant specializing in analytics talent. Her 15 years of experience at John Deere included leading the development of talent strategies in key capability areas, such as agronomy and analytics, and supporting various groups across the company in strategic workforce planning. She was also a human resources consultant for dealer owners and managers across the U.S. Jenny holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and an MBA with emphasis in Strategic Management and Organizational Behavior.

Linda Burtch

Managing Director, Burtch Works Executive Recruiting

Linda Burtch is the founder and managing director of Burtch Works Executive Recruiting, and has over 30 years of experience placing analytics professionals nationwide. Linda’s views on the analytics and data science professions have often been sought by business media, including interviews with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Mashable, Forbes.com, the Chicago Tribune, Fox News, InformationWeek, PC World, Analytics Magazine, and many more. She is also a frequent speaker on analytics career topics at luncheons, conferences, corporate meetings, and webinars.

Ms. Burtch has been an executive board member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association for over ten years, and is an active member of INFORMS. Linda has maintained a business blog for many years, sharing data and insights about the hiring market with the analytics community and their employers. Before becoming an analytics recruiter, Linda began her career in the corporate sphere of Whirlpool and Pepsi after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA.

Research Library

Career Paths in Analytics 3.0

Inquiry: Does IIA have research / framework that we can leverage surrounding career paths in analytics? At (Org name), we are relatively flat with our career ‘levels’ and I want to create more levels to provide clear paths of progression. Additionally, I want to explore creating a ‘senior scientist’ role that is an individual contributor vs. forcing people to go up the management ranks to become more senior.


In the ‘Talent Playbook for Analytics 3.0,’ the focus is addressing the major challenges facing organizations when it comes to building a successful, diverse, and deeply-skilled talent pool. Strong talent is the foundation of any technology capability. As the analytics field evolves, the level and complexity of organizational demands and business requirements continues to rise. Within this Playbook, each play addresses a specific challenge.

Developing a Talent Strategy

Inquiry: We are looking at how to develop the skills of our analysts. Does IIA have an opinion on hiring entry levels positions vs. hiring super stars? What are the pros and cons for each approach? The best approach to winning, what is known as the ‘War on Analytic Talent’, is to leverage both approaches. Organizations which plan to undergo significant hiring can benefit tremendously from a hybrid strategy of leveraging both sides of the equation – ‘recruit and grow’ and ‘attract the seasoned veterans’ – rather than relying solely on one or the other. The biggest challenge lies in determining how much to rely on one approach versus the other.

Other Resources

Competing for analytics talent webinar

In this webinar, Burtch Works talent experts Linda Burtch and Katie Prezas will help hiring managers looking to staff their quantitative teams understand the cost of talent, know the analytics candidate, and ultimately win the talent war.

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