Today, data is at the heart of any business. Within a business, every interaction and every process generates data. Whether it is customer escalations to a support team, sales lead in your funnel, invoices and accounting information, or any of a myriad of other touchpoints, the common factor is that they are all bits of data that you can use to become more efficient. When this data is visualized in the proper way, then it eases deciding based on facts. This is where a Business Intelligence developer or BI developer comes into the equation.
Businesses around the world run on data but understanding all of this information requires a unique set of skills and technologies. Business Intelligence (BI) came to the fore in the 1980s to make sense of the volume of data businesses at the time were Generating.
Since its launch, it’s spawned many roles based on specific expertise that companies have come to realize is necessary. One of the key roles that we’ll be focusing on in this article is that of the BI developer. This position is a primary member of a BI team and can be instrumental in analyzing and optimizing a vast amount of data. BI developer handles the usability of the gathered data.
Before discussing the actual role of a business intelligence developer, it is important to understand the different components of BI that create a complete system. There are three different sections as described in further detail below:
The data layer is where all the data that is compiled gets stored. This information can come from any of your internal and external sources and can include database storage, stand-alone files with information, or cloud storage. The data layer is the starting point of your BI system, as it is connected to all of your other tools.
This function is performed by Extraction, Transformation, and Loading (ETL) developers. They work with the data layer to design data storage solutions and for coming up with different ways of accessing business data from multiple different systems.
The warehouse layer unifies data from multiple sources into a single database. This lets end-users query any data from a single location.. This requires the help of the ETL developer whose role description usually includes formatting the data to a single standard so that it can be accessed more easily by users.
The reporting layer is where the BI developer prevails. This is where they access data from the warehouse and use different analytical tools to provide the business with actionable intelligence. Analysis of information varies based on the tools available.
Some of the BI tools that a BI developer provides simple yet powerful dashboards that are easily customizable. However, even without those tools, BI developers can use SQL queries to extract answers to specific questions.
A BI engineer needs to understand not only how to generate and analyze data but also needs to have a grasp of business fundamentals. Knowing the peculiarities of a business will allow them to implement the correct data models the organization needs to best represent the data.
Some of the key responsibilities of a BI engineer include:
Some other responsibilities of the role include helping with the design of the data warehouse, as well as guiding the development of BI software.
There is a host of different areas where a BI developer can affect a project. Some examples include:
To have a successful career in business intelligence, it is good to have an interest in patterns and business. BI developer skills vary based on the project and specific requirements with some roles requiring greater technical competence than others.
For people new to the industry a focus on business management and information technology proficiency is very useful. More senior roles might require an MBA to provide a more in-depth understanding of business requirements.
This is an in-demand sector in the technology economy and in the US alone, there is a severe shortfall of trained and knowledgeable individuals with relevant qualifications. For people already in a data role within a business, switching careers in business intelligence is possible with no need to return to college.
Some of the key reasons to consider a career as a BI developer include:
When considering a career as a business intelligence developer it is important to understand if you want to focus on the back-end or the front-end.
A back-end developer is generally more technical, while a front-end developer is more concerned with how to present and communicate data. The choice of path does not have to be hard and fast as it is possible to switch streams as you progress in your career.
However, regardless of the path chosen, some competencies are an absolute must. These can be broken down into soft skills and hard skills:
Understanding data is essential in today’s business world. Companies that fail to take advantage of the data that is available to them will struggle to beat their competition. If you are looking for help for your organization and want to benefit from the professional qualities of a BI developer, get in touch with us.
A BI developer can help you make sense of data and present it in a form that helps you make the right decisions. Having this information can be crucial for your business and can often be the difference between success and failure. The right BI developer can provide data visualization tools that are simple and easy to use.
Hiring a BI team can be an expensive undertaking when done from scratch. Using an outsourcer like NIX can save you time and money. NIX’s team of developers and project managers can work with you to come up with a plan that makes sense for your business now and will grow with you into the future.
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