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Career Paths

Honestly, analytics is so new that there aren’t well-established career tracks. I’m broadly categorizing analytics jobs into three tiers:
  • Junior Analyst or Data Manager: You just entered the field. You are responsible for things like preparing and cleaning data. You conduct analyses under close guidance and supervision from others. Data managers typically rely less heavily on statistics than junior analysts, and the technical requirements for data managers are often lower than analysts. There are also far more data managers than analysts in progressive politics. Salaries at this level typically range between $40-$65k.
  • Senior Analyst: You’ve probably worked for one to two cycles. You supervise the work of junior analysts and conduct new analyses on your own. At this point, you should be comfortable coding large-scale projects and developing your own body of work. Salaries at this level typically range between $55-$80k.
  • Analytics Manager: You manage a team of two or more analysts at once. You are responsible for the work coming out of your team. You participate in senior-level discussions. Salaries at this level are $75k+.
For a more detailed analysis, you can see the 2017 Progressive Data, Analytics, and Technology Salary Survey, which reports salaries across progressive data, analytics, and technology.
People switch in and out of this trajectory at any level, and people hop out of progressive analytics at pretty regular intervals to go into other roles at progressive organizations, graduate school/academia, or (increasingly) the private sector. In addition, folks might specialize at any level of this trajectory, e.g. specialize in modeling, experimentation, polling, or something else. If you’re transitioning from the private sector to progressive politics, you’ll probably have a pay cut. You should note that you’re open to this sort of pay cut.
As you navigate your way in this field, keep the ecosystem in mind. In general, when it comes to quality of life, advocacy organizations and consultants will offer higher salaries and quality of life than a campaign. The tradeoff is that you won’t get the sense of mission, network, or, frankly, adrenaline rush that you would from a campaign. You will, however, still have a job after election day, which can be a non-trivial consideration.