STEP 1: WHAT Are Tech Research Jobs ALL ABOUT?
- AKA: Market Research, UX Research
- Overview: Understanding users from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective.
- Example project: Design a survey to understand what content Apple TV users prefer.
- What you do all day: Plan studies, conduct research (both digitally and in-person), analyze results, make recommendations
- Roles: UX Research (analyzing how customers use products), Market Research (analyzing how customers think and buy)
- What they look for: People with psychology, design, or statistics backgrounds
- Example job: UX Researcher, Pinterest
STEP 2: WOULD YOU BE A GOOD FIT FOR Tech Research?
Ask yourself if you'd love doing these kinds of things all day:
- Designing research studies
- Conducting quantitative analysis on survey and market data
- Managing qualitative research - interviews, user testing, focus groups
- Converting data into actionable insights
- Presenting findings to business partners
If your answer is "Yes" to the majority of activities, you'd likely be a good fit for Research jobs.
STEP 3: WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED FOR Research Jobs?
For each major activity, I've listed the most common keywords from across dozens of job descriptions, as well as a sample resume bullet:
· Designing research studies
o Keywords: methodologies, research methods, collaborate with business partners, understand business needs, applied research
o Sample Bullet: Designed a research study to explore student attitudes towards email, leading to a new product that reached 2M students in its first year
· Conducting quantitative analysis on survey and market data
o Keywords: quantitative research methods, analysis, visualizations, R, SQL, Python, data mining, data sources, sampling, experiments, structured and unstructured data, surveys
o Sample Bullet: Conducted a survey of our Facebook fans; used SQL and R to analyze the results, generating three new marketing ideas for that channel
· Managing qualitative research - interviews, user testing, focus groups
o Keywords: user experience research, qualitative research, field interviews, usability studies
o Sample Bullet: Led usability studies for our website, identifying font size as a major culprit for the site's high bounce rate
· Converting data into actionable insights
o Keywords: insights that inform product and business decisions, package insights
o Sample Bullet: Identified trends across qualitative and quantitative research that pointed to a coming downturn in app engagement; worked with product team to implement changes that prevented this dropoff
· Presenting findings to business partners
o Keywords: syntheseize and communicate research findings to any audience, business partners, executives
o Sample Bullet: Presented UX findings to senior leadership, earning endorsement for wholesale changes to our flagship product's interface
STEP 4: WHAT Research TRAINING DO YOU RECOMMEND?
If you want to brush up on any of these skills, check out Amanda Stockwell's UX Research Fundamentals course on Lynda. I like two things about this course in particular:
- It covers all the modern tricks of the trade - card sorts, eye tracking, A/B testing, etc. So that way, you'll walk into any research interview fully versed on the latest lingo.
- It applies to all kinds of researchers. While its title suggests a focus on UX research, her sections on designing and analyzing studies are just as useful for those who want to go into a more quantitative research arena.