Sunday, July 26, 2009

LinkedIn's Data

LinkedIn has an extraordinary data resource. They have more than 40 million members and a complete job history of each member, in some cases going back 30 or 40 years. DJ Patil, Chief Scientist and Senior Director of Product Analytics at LinkedIn showed us some examples of their data when he spoke to a packed meeting of the SDForum Business Intelligence SIG on "The Analytics Behind LinkedIn" last week. Paul O'Rorke has written an excellent account of the meeting and here I am just adding my impression to that record.

DJ believes in the growing importance of the "data analyst" as a profession. He backed up that belief with some hard data when he shows us the growing importance of the job title over the last 35 years. Up to the mid 90's the appearance of that job title as a percentage of all job titles was flat, but since then it has been growing at a steady pace. As an aside, DJ told us that they use the Amazon Mechanical Turk service to do data cleansing of things like job titles. This is the first time I have heard of the service being used for this purpose.

We were shown other interesting examples of LinkedIn analytics including the change in the top five job titles over the Dot Com bust and an excellent display of the volume of cross country links between LinkedIn members. The big problem with this data is that we cannot have access to it because it is private to LinkedIn and they will keep it private to protect the privacy of their members.

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