JADE

Junior Analytics Development Experience

Inside JADE with Karen

2018-10-19 Karen Jane GamisTelus Digital

Providing valuable experiences through mentorship and training programs are one of the greatest investments Telus is doing right now. It has the ability to kick start careers and foster talent much needed in the industry of constantly evolving technologies. Fortunately, at Telus Digital 6 months on the job is comparable to 6 years everywhere else. Growth is always encouraged, a highly valued principle especially for those navigating through a new career.

This fall I started my position as an Analytics Developer at TELUS Digital in their pilot training program JADE (Junior Analytics Developer Experience). Though I had little to no experience in digital analytics, it was comforting to hear that the team was in search for a candidate with strong JavaScript knowledge, a motivated interest in Analytics, and curiosity on how data is used to shape the strategy of the corporation. Advanced technical expertise was not required because the training program was organized to aid in the learning of the Adobe Marketing suite, specifically Adobe Launch for analytics implementation, and adapting the technical skills to become an analytics developer. Having previous experiences in JavaScript and building React applications, I was excited to put my knowledge to the test.

The Background

Just a year ago I was in the undergraduate program of Medical & Health Physics at McMaster University. It was followed by my decision to accept the challenge to learn how to code and enroll in GA Bitmaker’s Full Stack Web Development course. Upon successfully completing the program, I entered the daunting task of searching for a full-time web development job, and within 2 months in the midst of my search, I was contacted by a talent sourcer from Telus digital who expressed the Analytics & Insights team’s interest in speaking to me about their Junior Digital Analytics Developer position in the JADE program. I was open-minded and accepted the invitation. The call was scheduled for two days later and onward began my introduction to the world of Analytics.

I never thought that a google search for “digital analytics” to prepare for the in-person interview would be the kick-starter of a promising career. A good amount of my time was spent on researching the definition of analytics and other keywords within the job description. I dove into a deeper understanding of common technical jargon such as cookies (specifically how cookies may be used in analytics), looking at digital analytics in the perspective of web developers to hold a grasp on the necessary skills required, and I also implemented google analytics on my portfolio website to gain some experience on analytics implementation on web pages. It was then that I gained a greater appreciation for the insights provided by the free service. To my surprise, it felt amazing to see how users interact with websites, quantify the number of unique visitors, visits, page views, and seeing where audiences came from. It welcomed the idea that data is the storyteller.

The Role

Data collection of user interactions is crucial to enable Telus to maintain its momentum amidst a competitive and demanding market. The JADE program focuses on analytics implementation and ensuring smooth data flow from the website and app into our Adobe Analytics report suite. It started with a 1-month training program to familiarize with the data creation tools with the goal to be able solve real working problems and collaborate with the product teams to implement analytics requirements.

The Experience

The first week on the job was mainly focused on onboarding to the Telus culture and a paced introduction to the dataLayer, a JavaScript object that is monitored by a tag manager that enables analytics payloads to be fired and sent to Adobe Analytics and other marketing technologies. I also learned how to monitor server calls using the chrome dev tools and view the dynamic dataLayer as different pages are loaded and buttons are clicked.

Luckily, I wasn’t too overwhelmed by the end of the first week. The second week, however, was a completely different story. The team invited an Adobe consultant to fly to Toronto and conduct a live Adobe Launch training for 15 hours over the course of 5 days. Although Adobe Launch is used for analytics implementation, a tool I use every day as a developer, the training was open to everyone in the Analytics & Insights team comprising of analysts, personalization gurus, and software developers to understand the analytics configuration that enables data collection. We were taught how to navigate through Launch, define data elements, write rules, configure extensions, and understand publishing workflows. It was a week packed with very good tips and insights on best practices with the application.

The Adobe Launch training was further enhanced as I gained access to the Analytics playground to play with Telus code locally, configure Launch to fire rules within those pages, change page names and see how rules are affected in Launch. However, obtaining code from GitHub presented a challenge in itself because the local environment of my computer needed to have the right version of npm installed, the right packages and other applications properly setup, and with much luck following the documentation within a couple of hours, it finally worked.

Within my first 2 months in the company, my vocabulary expanded exponentially regarding the world of data and agile methodologies. With foreign words such as DataLayer, props, eVars, sessions, visitors, visits, UUID, Adobe Analytics, Workspace, Ensighten, DTM, Launch and other TELUS lingo, I would only understand less than half of my conversations. Times have changed and these terms are now part of my everyday language. In addition to the skills I acquired from learning Launch, I’ve been able to take part in project kick-offs with multiple teams, document the process, and be part of the communication to ensure that analytics is correctly implemented before pages are launched live to consumers. There is a great amount of planning involved and to be in an intermediate position between software developers and data analysts is a huge privilege in being able to witness data coming to life.

The TEAM

  • Implementation
  • Segmentation
  • Personalization
  • Data Intelligence (Insights, AI)

Moving forward, there is much more in the scope of the JADE program that I am excited to be part of. Generally, the analytics pipeline consists of implementation, segmentation, personalization, and insights (including AI). So far, I have gained a great amount of confidence in analytics implementation. Without a doubt, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to test the waters of segmentation, personalization - with great emphasis on A/B testing using Adobe Target- and of course analysis with the ever powerful AI. Data Intelligence within the team is constantly evolving and the JADE program will allow me to gain experiences within the world of data I otherwise would have not known without the opportunity to join Telus.

All the skills I’m developing and the experiences I am gaining are all thanks to fantastic mentors, a very supportive team, and a department that emphasizes the importance of maintaining an environment that fosters talent.