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Passionate about Politics? Get Off Twitter and Make It Your Career

By Doug Usher, Ph.D.

Does your passion for politics consume your daily routine? Do Steve Kornacki’s touch screen, Nate Silver’s probability charts, and the New York Times election night “needle” quicken your pulse? Do you spend sleepless nights wondering whether the latest voter registration figures from Fulton County, Georgia, mean a Democratic or Republican gain? Then you might be right for a career in politics—with political analytics.

We’ve never had a time when more ink (virtual and other) is being spilled about politics, and passions (and participation) are running at an all-time high. At the same time, the growing interest has led to a boom in firms and organizations focused on political campaigns and issue advocacy, and with it a huge demand for well-qualified job candidates.

So many people ask me, “How do I get started?” As a pollster for more than 20 years, I’ve always believed in the power of data and analytics for careers in my corner of politics. But starting over the past decade I’ve noticed a shift—analytics is now the lifeblood of jobs across political specialties, and employers are competing for talent with those skills.

Whether it’s developing content and ads across media, fundraising for causes or campaigns, getting people to register or vote, or helping define and defend a political strategy—if it’s not data-driven, it’s dead on arrival. The new M.S. program in political analytics at Columbia is a great way to build the skills to get into any (or all) of those fields.

On a near-weekly basis, I see new jobs come on line in Washington, New York, or around the country that require strong political analytics skills. I hear from colleagues and headhunters about the lack of qualified applicants. The new Columbia program can prepare you to fit right into any of these parts of the political process. 

Check out the skills and hands-on training the program offers—and then take a look at the jobs available. This program is more than a credential on your résumé; it’s an avenue toward a career doing something you are passionate about. And it’s not just a career in analytics—it’s purpose-driven data skills for those who care about politics and the issues driving the day. 

It’s for someone who cares about politics and issues—someone like you.

Dr. Doug Usher is a partner at Forbes Tate Partners. He has spent the past two decades building insights that have helped change the strategic trajectory of major corporations, industry associations, and political campaigns, combining deep expertise in opinion research, data analysis, and analytics with years of experience navigating the intersection between business goals and the political, policy, and regulatory spheres. He holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in government and research methodology.

Learn more about the new Columbia University M.S. in Political Analytics program. Application priority deadline: February 15, 2023. The final application deadline is June 15, 2023. The 36-credit program is available part-time and full-time.

For general information and admissions questions, please call 212-854-9666 or email politicalanalytics [[at]] sps [[dot]] columbia [[dot]] ed