Interview with Web Analyst Rohan Kapoor

    May 9, 2007

Continuing my series of interviews with Web Analysts here is an interview with Rohan Kapoor.

Rohan, originally from India, was working as an analyst for a fortune 50 company in Seattle area on his student visa (he was allowed to work for a year). Like thousands of other he applied for his work visa called H1B via his employer, unfortunately he was not selected by the newly instituted lottery system by INS.

Disclaimer: I know Rohan and I thought this interview will get him exposure in front of potential hiring managers and/or recruiters.

Sorry to hear about your H1B. What are your thoughts on the current H1B cap and the new lottery system which decides who gets H1B?

Rohan: I was aware that the H1B visas will exceed the limit but I never realized that it would be a lottery system. I thought that the applicants would be picked on merit. The visa cap was reached on the very first day and it was then left totally on fate for all the applicants. After getting the news that I didn’t make it, I was disappointed that I’ll have to leave the United States as Web Analytics is an exploding field here. It’s really unfortunate that many deserving people didn’t make it through this lottery system. In this global economy the visa cap does not make sense, if I am not working in US I will work in some other country and most likely the money will come from a US company. I would have earned here and spent the money here in US but now I will (most likely) get paid by a US company in some other country but will spend the money in that country. I firmly believe that every setback has some hidden positive. So I’m looking forward to the future as I’m young, just starting my career and open to opportunities around the world.

Rohan, you started your career a year ago, tell me about your entry into this field.

Rohan: Web Analytics was an unheard term for me after graduation but with your guidance I got into this field. I started learning Web Analytics using Google Analytics which paved the way for me to understand the basics of Web Analytics. I started working for a company called BroadLink LLC which is an internet company that provides online advertising, website design and development for small businesses. I started my job creating dashboards and doing ad-hoc analysis using GA. Other than creating dashboards and analysis I was also involved with SEM (search engine marketing) and SEO (search engine optimization). I was successful in increasing the organic rankings of several websites on Google, Yahoo and MSN. SEO always intrigued me as it is really challenging and keeps me interested in exploring more. By this I mean competing with other websites and constantly doing your best to outclass the other to get to the top of Google keyword results. I have also read Eric Peterson books like ‘Web Analytics Demystified’ and ‘Website Measurement Hacks’ which further helped me grasp the concepts.

Tell me about your last job.

Rohan: I am still working in this job for few more days before my current visa expires. My last job is in the Global Business Intelligence division of a fortune 500 company which got me into the technical aspects of Web Analytics. In this job, I got to know the details of how the data is being reported starting from the image call to the server to the collection of logs, to the processing of the data into the database and finally the reporting. This was my first practical experience on how the data transformation takes place. Usually we concentrate on the final product but it’s imperative to know how we got that product starting from scratch. This is important to get a better understanding of the product as well as the concept. The second thing I learned was the click calculation technology: How the link can be coded so that it redirects to the destination server and how to calculate clicks with the help of an embedded .js file. Then came the task of reporting that data in a presentable manner to our worldwide customer base and making sense out of the numbers. Some examples of this can be explaining the customers why the data for a particular period was high/low. The explanations could include improperly tagged pages, off-line shows or some celebrity being in the news etc. I used Omniture SiteCatalyst to do analysis and also comparison of data between my company’s internal Analytics tool. All in all this job experience laid the foundations for me to understand the depth of Web Analytics, in spite of being more in the technical side.

What kind of job opportunities are you looking for?

Rohan: I am open to Web Analytics opportunities any where in the world. I guess a US company can give me job to and I can work remotely from them bypassing the whole visa system. That is already happening with all the outsourcing. Back to the opportunity, I would like an opportunity to be involved in doing actionable analysis. I am also fascinated by Search Engine Optimization and would love to be a part of an organization that is constantly striving to be in command of SEO. I would like to work in SEO as it would continuously challenge me to think creatively.

How do you ensure that you keep learning about Web Analytics?

Rohan: Other than learning from you, I also a part of the Yahoo Web Analytics forum and am amazed by the pool of talent out there in this field. I try to follow the series of Questions/Answers in this forum and take notes. I read Web Analytics blogs, books and actively browse the Internet on the lookout for new information on Web Analytics. I regularly work on Google Analytics to ensure that I’m up to date in doing data analysis and figuring out problems. I’m also an active reader of SEO related articles.

Anything you would like to say to your prospective employers/recruiters?

Rohan: I am inquisitive by nature and am always open to learn new concepts. I am dedicated and have proved it in my previous job by working late hours and completing given tasks on time. I believe that my inclusion in your team would be beneficial as I can also offer my technical expertise on the database side as well. I am currently open to relocation anywhere around the world. If a US company is willing to hire me in India then I can again apply for H1B visa next year and come to US. I’m also open to work for an Indian company in India which can sponser my L1 visa and place me in USA

You can contact Rohan at robbie_kapoor at yahoo. You can also reach Rohan’s Blog at