Preparing for a job in sports analytics
Just as scoutSMART helps coaches find student-athletes that fit their program, a person interested in a job in sports analytics needs to think about their skills and aspirations to determine which path is the best for them. Are you more interested in the technical and data roles that are important for sports analytics or are you more focused on marketing and sales? Both are important, but which is the best fit for you?
Here are a few of the skills and background needed for positions in sports analytics:
Data Analysts – Enjoy working with data. Requires ability to focus on the details to organize, manage, and validate the data as well as interpret the insight provided by the data. Skills can be learned. A Masters in Analytics is a plus.
Algorithm Analysts – Often, these are PhD types, so if this is your calling get some experience and plan on graduate school.
Software Developers – Aptitude and interest in designing and writing code. A degree in Computer Science or Engineering is a plus. Usually work individually or in small teams.
Marketing / Product Management – Ability to communicate important marketing messages. Gather information from users / customers to define or improve analytics. Understand how to leverage social media to effectively raise awareness and interest.
After you determine your career path, answer the question: do you want to work for a large, established corporation or do you want to work for a startup or small business? It is good to get experience in both environments to identify where you best fit. There are pros and cons to both, but you will normally get broader experience and have more input in a startup or small business.
I think it is important to have a passion for sports and an understanding of how the game is played for any of these positions. In any job, there will be some grinding. Helping teams win makes that grind a lot more fun.