In my interactions with the world at large (mostly online) in the ways of data, statistics and analytics- I come across people who like to call themselves analysts.
As per me, there are 4 kinds of analysts principally,
1) Corporate Analysts- They work for a particular software company. As per them their product is great and infallible, their code has no bugs, and last zillion customer case studies all got a big benefit by buying their software.
They are very good at writing software code themselves, unfortunately this expertise is restricted to Microsoft Outlook (emails) and MS Powerpoint ( presentations). No they are more like salesmen than analysts, but as Arthur Miller said ” All salesmen (person) are dreamers. When the dream dies, the salesman (person) dies (read transfers to bigger job at a rival company)
2) Third -Party Independent Analsyst- The main reason they are third party is they can not be tolerated in a normal corporate culture, their spouse can barely stand them for more than 2 hours a day, and their Intelligence is not matched by their emotional maturity. Alas, after turning independent analysts, they realize they are actually more dependent to people than before, and they quickly polish their behaviour to praise who ever is sponsoring their webinar, white paper , newsletter, or flying them to junkets. They are more of boutique consultants, but they used to be quite nifty at writing code, when younger, so they call themselves independent and “Noted Industry Analyst”
3) Researcher Analysts- They mostly scrape info from press releases which are mostly written by a hapless overworked communications team thrown at a task at last moment. They get into one hour call with who ever is the press or industry/analyst relations honcho is- turn the press release into bullet points, and publish on the blog. They call this as research Analysts and give it away for free (but actually couldnt get anyone to pay for it for last 4 years). Couldnt write code if their life depended on it, but usually will find transformation and expert somehwere in their resume/about me web page. May have co -authored a book, which would have gotten them a F for plagiarism had they submitted it as a thesis.
4) Analytical Analysts- They are mostly buried deep within organizational bureaucracies if corporate, or within partnerships if they are independent. Understand coding, innovation (or creativity). Not very aggressive at networking unless provoked by an absolute idiot belonging to first three classes of industry analyst. Prefer to read Atlas Shrugged than argue on business semantics.
Next time you see an industry expert- you know which cluster to classify them ;)