Salary range: $70,000-$120,000
Experience/skills: Data analytics, network administrator experience, writing skills
Perks: Stock options, free food
Who's hiring? PayPal, Slide, and other Web 2.0 startups unable to stay on top of the data
Every Sunday the three 20-something founders of Meebo, an instant-messaging startup based in San Francisco, meet to talk strategy and almost always end up wanting new data before making any decision. "We'd walk away wanting to know things like where is our churn rate the greatest, or how are the users in Brazil different from those in India with regard to how they navigate the site," says CEO Seth Sternberg.
So Sternberg created a new position--"information engineer"--dedicated exclusively to digging up the answers. The first person to fill it: Bob Lee, 34, a former network engineer at Apple, who now sits in front of three monitors poring over an estimated 200 gigabytes of data every day from more than 5 million users. It's Lee's job, using a combination of networking chops and statistical analysis, to point out trends, explain network hiccups, and reveal what new features are hits or duds.
Other Web 2.0 companies, like PayPal and Slide, have begun adding similar positions to answer queries that off-the-shelf analytics tools can't handle, such as calculating churn rates. "There's all this data available to help make decisions," Sternberg says. "But it takes someone really focusing on it to get the benefit."