Google Analytics Developer Advocate
Currently with Wagon in San Francisco, Andy has previously worked as a Developer Advocate on the Google Analytics (GA) team, Andy promoted the GA developer platform through education and outreach, building developer tools, and working with companies on customized integrations.
University of Pennsylvania, BA Mathematics
WCAI Research Assistant
In your current role, do you draw more heavily from coding or analysis?
AG: In my experience, coding and analytics are intrinsically interrelated. For example, if solving a particular business problem, it is often necessary to know where to find and how to extract the appropriate data. And determining how to collect that data in the first place is crucial. I do think that having a strong background in statistics and analytics is a scarce resource in the market today. Understanding statistical models in marketing, the thought process behind them, how they work and why they exist provided me with a strong, clear way of thinking and differentiated me at Google—and in the industry.
How are you using customer analytics day-to-day?
AG: Many large companies are doing some form of advanced modeling, so it’s very valuable having the knowledge to talk in detail with them about their work. Day-to-day though, many of the companies I work with are undertaking more basic-level marketing measurement and optimization. This can make a big difference if they aren’t already doing it, because they can see the results and it builds energy and enthusiasm for more sophisticated modeling down the road.
Do you have any advice for current students looking at the tech industry?
AG: At a place like Google, the more computer science you have, the better. But adding statistics and analytics will differentiate prospective employees from people with exclusively software engineering backgrounds.
Are there specific tech skill areas students should focus on?
AG: It’s tough to say since so many areas fall in to this category. I’d recommend taking a wide range of courses that provide a solid foundation in math, computer science, and statistics at school. Having a strong foundation is key, because this industry moves quickly—I have found it necessary to continually adapt and learn new skills and tools. Depending on exact interests, I’d recommend filling in gaps through side projects or while on the job.
What other Wharton experiences or courses did you find helpful?
AG: My minor in Statistics at Wharton provided hard tech skills, especially Pete [Fader]’s class on applied probability models in marketing [MKTG 476/776], which showed how statistics is applied in marketing contexts. We also got a ton of hands on experience working with data and modeling. My work as a Research Assistant with WCAI was great—I got to deal with real-world customer analytics challenges and apply models to real data.
Where are you thinking about taking your career next?
AG: I still love my work in the marketing analytics world—and things are only getting more interesting. I do think my skills are valuable in a number of realms, so if I wanted to move outside of marketing, they’d translate well in other data-oriented fields.