There has been considerable debate off late of the Growth Hacker being the new VP of marketing, kicked off by this Andrew Chen blog post.
It looks like it’s on it’s way to be the the next big thing after the “data scientist”.
Data Scientists took off a few years ago. The current state is that most companies, including a lot of startups are hiring data scientists with little knowledge of what to do with them. I’ve had companies admitting they don’t know why they’re collecting the data but they are. Everyone is collecting data. Everyone wants someone to analyze data and everyone either has or wants a data scientist.
The definition of a data scientist one as someone said on my Twitter stream really well is : A person who knows more about software engineering than a statistician and someone who knows more about statistics than a software engineer.
Now let’s come back to the Growth hacker – this is an intersection of technical chops with marketing – as defined in Andrew Chen’s post. It’s the person that understands metrics, can send out email marketing campaigns and run A/B tests on a fly among other traditional marketing stuff.
What’s interesting is not just the current growth hacker trend, but how computer science is intersecting with other fields to create new professions.
That’s what the next trend is post the growth hacker. Combine technical / programming skills with something else.
That’s the trend which is going up and will go up – the interdisciplinary applications of technical skills. The gap between computer science and other fields is decreasing, the power goes to people who can understand, combine and execute.
This points to another myth about technical skills. Programming and technical skills are no longer just with the “technical team” – but it’s coming to be more of a form of literacy. You’re the marketer and you know technical skills -it’s going to be more of a rarity to add a Pivotal story if you want to run an A/B test. You’re a statistician and want some data – make some queries to get what you want – that’s what data scientists are capable of. Technology is the medium and all skills are more valuable if we learn to communicate the technical language.
This doesn’t mean the specialists in technology are going away, it points to the generalists in technology will become more valuable.
It’s all about doing it yourself .