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What a Product Analyst Does
A product analyst is like a hybrid role between a data analyst and a business analyst. At its core, product analysts work cross-functionally with other teams to bring new products to the market, enhance existing products, or both. This encompasses a number of possible tasks and responsibilities that differ company by company.
More often than not, you’ll be working with existing products to identify areas of improvement and potential opportunities. You’ll be expected to have a deep understanding of the product you're working with, the product’s competitive landscape, the target market of the product and the overall business strategy. The general responsibilities of a product analyst include but is not limited to:
- Defining and monitoring metrics for products and product initiatives
- Analyzing customer experience and product performance data to extract meaningful insights to make business recommendations (cost-benefit, forecasting, impact analysis, etc…)
- Building analytical framework, which can include ad-hoc analyses, automated dashboards, and self-service tools
- Designing and conducting A/B tests on product features and UX design to optimize performance metrics.
- Supporting the Product Manager to help establish and periodically reassess the product roadmap.
Skills Required to be a Product Analyst
Again, the skills required to be a product analyst can vary company by company, but generally, every product analyst is expected to have the following skills.
- SQL: You should be able to query and manipulate large databases
- Data Visualization Tools: You should be able to visualize queries and insights using various data visualization tools, including but not limited to, Tableau, Looker, Periscope, Matplotlib, etc…
- Basic Statistical Concepts: You should know how to frame and conduct hypothesis tests, and more specifically, A/B tests.
- Spreadsheets (Excel/Google Sheets): You should know how to use spreadsheets to manipulate data, create pivot tables, and visualize data.
- Python/R: For companies that are more technologically advanced, you should know how to manipulate data using Python or R and write scripts or create analyses.
Top Tech Companies with Product Analyst Roles
The number of product analyst roles has been growing over the past few years. Here are some of the most notable companies that hire product analysts:
Unsurprisingly, Google has tons of Product Analyst positions all over the world. For every product division at Google, you can expect there to be a Product Analyst. Some of the openings that they have right now include:
- Product Analyst, Android TV
- Product Analyst, Android
- Product Analyst, Data Insights and Analytics, Geo
Check out this guide on what Google’s Interview is like here.
Facebook also has a number of Product Analyst roles, like Google. What’s different about Facebook is that they segment their Product Analysts by the type of work rather than business divisions. Some of their Product Analyst openings include the following:
- Product Growth Analyst
- Product Experience Analyst
- Product Configuration Analyst
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What to Expect in a Product Analyst Interview
While the interview structure (again) depends on the company that you are interviewing for, there are general types of interviews that you can expect to encounter:
Interview with Recruiter/Hiring Manager
For almost all companies, every interview process starts with an initial interview with the recruiter or the hiring manager. This is usually a phone screen, where the interviewee gets a better understanding of the role and the team and the interviewer gets a better understanding of the interviewee. The recruiter is simply looking to see that you have a genuine interest in the company, that you’re a good communicator, and that there are no red flags.
There will most definitely be a technical round where you’ll be expected to demonstrate your SQL knowledge. You’ll ask to write a number of SQL functions and queries to solve various problems.
Additionally the second most important part of a product analyst interview is the product intuition round. You'll be expected to understand how to analyze data and tie analyses back to the product that you're specialized in.
Interview with Product Manager
You may also have an interview with the product manager (PM) — in this interview the PM will look to see that you have sufficient knowledge in the product that the position is for, and also look to see that you have the right approach when it comes to analyzing a product.
- What new feature would you implement for Product X? If it were launched, how would you measure the feature’s success?