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Jobs 2.0: Data-centric Jobs for Generation Y

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While some may say that Generation Y are slackers, I think they’re just waiting around for the next crop of interesting jobs. Well, good news, 20-somethings, the new fall line of jobs is here! You’ll note that most of these jobs center around one thing: data. Gen Y (which I prefer to call Gen A, for “Analysis”) will be the first generation entering the workforce that have the skills to apply measurement and analysis to everything. They’ve been counting calories on their iPhones (s aapl), anxiously trying to raise their Klout scores and driving their follow counts on Twitter. Data is the new black.

Content Monetization Manager (Department: Production)

There are an incredible number of ways to monetize content coming onto the horizon. The days of CPM being the only game in town are over. Affiliate links, daily deals, in-text ads, sponsorships, promoted on-site Twitter feeds and remnant inventory optimization: It’s all coming your way if you make money from content. How to best utilize these monetization strategies for your users, your content, your site design and your bottom line is a tricky thing. The content monetization manager will make use of all of the content monetization tools available, the underlying usage analytics, and the CMS, and will constantly A/B test monetization strategies and page layouts to maximize revenue, while preserving the user experience.

Webmaster 2.0 (Department: Marketing)

Pretty much no one has the title of “Webmaster” any more. But like all things retro, it’s coming back. The new webmaster, much like the content monetization manager, will be responsible for fine-tuning every detail of the corporate website to produce the desired result (sales or leads). Websites are becoming much more dynamic, more content-heavy (including text, images and video), and blurring with corporate blogs. Tools of the webmaster 2.0 include Google Analytics (s goog), SEO, Salesforce (s crm) integration (for closed-loop data), and the CMS. The job will include lots of A/B testing of landing pages, cohort analysis and a healthy dose of keyword and inbound linking SEO.

Amplification Manager (Department: Marketing)

As social media evolves and expands, it also becomes more diluted. Many social media vanguards have now pushed Tweeting and Facebooking down to the internship level (partly because it is so time-consuming). What is emerging is a radical new philosophy of amplification: the ability to use social media, SEO, virality, and sharing as a powerful mechanism for promotion. While most social media managers would sum up the first five years of social media as “engagement,” the next five will be about “amplifying.” Like having sharing buttons in all the right places, cross-posting, SEO, targeted retweets and Klout scores (amplification being a big part of this score). If you’re not amplifying, you’re dying.

Game Mechanics Designer (Department: Engineering/Product Management)

Just like almost every website has a sharing feature, every application in the next few years will have game mechanics. Easy to understand, but harder than you think to design, game mechanics will become a full-fledged job. Just like any application development company worth its salt has a studied and knowledgeable UX person on the team, the game mechanics designer role will become just as important and prevalent.

Employee Mechanics Designer (Department: HR)

The future of the employee experience will be much like Foursquare. You’re in sales and made 50 phone calls in a day? Great, you just got the “Heavy Dialer” badge. You’re in QA? Well how many bugs did you close out today? Check the company QA leaderboard. It’s all coming; Marc Benioff is already talking about integrating these kind of features into

Much like the game mechanics designer designs the incentive and engagement structure in your application, the employee mechanics designer will design the internal game that is your business, which will include an ever-evolving set of rules that must be aligned with the current goals of the company.

Metrics Manager (Department: Finance)

The metric manager’s job is to extract data from every nook and cranny of the company. Once the stream of data is flowing, it’s then time to put it in a data warehouse and do interesting things with it. Pretty charts and pictures usually are the most engaging place to start, but departmental dashboards and daily metrics emails will be more useful. Metrics managers will love statistics and Tufte.

Crowd Manager (Department: Crowd and Community – A New Department)

In the next 10 years, every company will leverage the crowd in some shape or form. Whether it’s directly through building applications in Mechanical Turk or sponsoring designs in 99Designs, or indirectly by managing a sub-crowd in a marketplaces like Trada (for advertising) or Napkin Labs (for design). How you interface with the crowd, how you incentivize them (payment, praise, virtual currency, rewards), and, more importantly, how you teach your own company to work with them correctly is key.

In case you don’t want to work for anyone (how very Gen-Y of you) — there are also some amazing self-employment opportunities arising as well:

Crowd Worker (Self-Employed)

Having a boss is so 2010. The next generation of workers will be gainfully self-employed working in the crowd whenever and wherever they want. As crowdsourcing marketplaces (such as Trada’s performance-based advertising marketplace) reach critical mass and generate real dollars for their workers, full-time livings are being made by a few. Soon the few shall be the masses. 2011 will be the year that crowdsourcing as a viable business and a viable job becomes a reality.

Expect the increase in the self-service workforce to drive the need for new regulation (and opportunity) around individual and group-buying healthcare. It would also be a good time to invest in Starbucks (s sbux), the primary office-space of the crowd-crowd.

Life Coach 2.0 (Self-Employed)

It used to be the good old days where you could just pack your old self in a box, move to another town, and start over. Unfortunately, with everything in the cloud, your former self is destined to keep following you. What you need is some expertise.

The new life coach will be versed in online reputation building and PR. They’ll know about services like before you do. They’ll be monitoring your Klout scores and crowd reputation. Breach some etiquette on Twitter or make some public faux pas – no problem – your life coach can just SEO that away for you in a few weeks.

As the future become about reputation, engagement and online social profile, we’ll all need a little help smoothing out the edges. Life coaches will need to know about building reputation, scoring algorithms, and how to be a better you (at least statistically speaking).

Personal Trainer 2.0 (Self-Employed)

The future of the self is measurement. How many footsteps did I take today (FitBit)? How many calls at work did I make (employee game mechanics)? How did my Klout score go up or down? Am I meeting my workout goals on DailyMile?  The old personal trainer/nutritionist role will morph into a digital age version of itself, focused on measuring first, optimizing second. Skills will include technology (measurement), data management (storage), analysis, and medical and privacy law.

Niel Robertson is a three-time entrepreneur and CEO of Trada Paid Search, a crowdsourced paid search marketplace. You can find Niel on Twitter at @nielr1.

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17 Responses to “Jobs 2.0: Data-centric Jobs for Generation Y”

  1. Great article!

    There are a whole buncha “buzzwords” in there with a lot of speculation. (Which I really hope becomes the future)

    I would love to help move these ideas into larger companies with the hopes of them “getting it”, it just seems like an uphill battle.

    One of the biggest obstacles I find when trying to introduce new methods/positions/etc. to a potential client is that they are scared. Scared that its here today, gone tomorrow, and the whats next…blah blah.

    Thanks for the info Neil!

  2. Thanks everyone for the great comments. I’d love to hear if anyone actually has this title or job with a different title.

    And definitely while i mentioned Gen-Y/A i think anyone can transform themselves into a next generation analytics driven employee pretty easily. Remember that data is not as valuable as information, knowledge or wisdom – much of which is learned from experience!


    • samsoner3

      Great article Niel, and very timely for the new year.

      The job titles Webmaster 2.0 and Amplification Manager really caught my eye because I am interested in learning how the responsibilities of communication professionals (within the employee & public relations field) will change or evolve as more companies adopt social media.

      However, do you feel that it’s possible for communication professionals to excel at those two titles without having a formal education in marketing? I am currently studying corp. communications and unfortunately I haven’t taken any marketing courses. :\

      Thanks for the post!

  3. About the most accurate analysis of my generation, poetically yet structurally told. Of all the positions advertised. Three were applicable to me.

    Two questions i must raise:

    !. Of my generation, it must be said that not everyone in this group of society have the same means or character to build themselves collectively or individually for the em-betterment of them-self(selves). There are individuals out there (hopefully myself included), who have a burning desire to succeed, understand the rapid flux of technology and with needle point focus, know where and how to build successful companies and industries, which no other generation could.

    2. What can be said for the underclasses, who’s inability to save, have children at an affordable time in their lives and make economically viable decisions, make them a primary target for the corporations? These people are regarded as simply putty to the corporate and political worlds hands. But woe to the investment banks, venture capitalists who think these underclasses have no sense. having little economic knowledge, doesn’t mean they are economically inept. People, especially the young learn quickly. The information, statistics and algorithms these individuals may yield today, may not be the expected outcome of tomorrow.

  4. Jim Hagen

    News flash! These activities have always existed at companies. They’ve just been bundled and given fancy names to lure the Gen A people out of the fast food industry.

  5. Great post Niel.

    These skills are HIGHLY desired already, and college students especially should take notice, get experience and practice these skills daily. The opportunities are simply going to grow like crazy.

    The 20 somethings looking for a great paycheck and freedom? Do the same. We meet new companies everyday that value Analysis more than many other things.

    If you’re looking for these job 2.0’s, put the skills into practice now with your own online brand. After all, if I’m an employer with these opportunities, I want to know that you practice what you preach.

    • Hi Fred,

      There aren’t any companies doing it well. To be honest, with the long term and competitive nature of SEO. I wouldn’t trust any such service at the moment anyway.

      Your best bet is to hire somebody who conducts only ethical SEO for your business. There is no short cut, however it’s also not that difficult to get a really good base built up for any given niche.

      Feel free to email me if you have any questions.


      • Kristen,

        Who are those companies that are doing it bad?

        How do you know if a company is ethical? This is an advantage of using the crowd, typically unethicalness (if that’s a word) weeds itself out. If the incentive is tied to performance then you just take that off the take, right?