Business Intelligence Developer Abilities – Everything related to your past and present business is recorded as part of the data. Sales numbers, human resources, company budgets, sales numbers – you name it. The number of business areas from which the data originates can be large. But, as a business, you may be interested in extracting value from this information rather than simply collecting it. Be thankful that there is software for everything.
Business Intelligence (BI) is a set of technologies and services to transform business data into operational reports and visualizations. Founded in the early 80s and developed over time as a separate industry, BI has spawned many jobs and careers. We have already explained the role of the ETL developer. This material opens up the basics of BI data tools, so we recommend you read it to get a deeper understanding on the subject.
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Today we will discuss the role of a BI developer, their daily responsibilities, background, and skills required. We will also define the difference between the other standard tasks involved in building a BI system and the specific cases that require hiring a BI developer.
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A business intelligence developer is an engineer responsible for developing, deploying, and maintaining BI interfaces. Those include query tools, data visualization and dashboards, ad hoc reporting, and data modeling tools. But, when we talk about business intelligence, we need to give a detailed explanation about this concept of technology.
All BI systems can be divided into an internal component and a basic user interface for interacting with data. Why is this ratio so important? Based on the system chain, a typical BI system has 3 layers: data source layer, warehouse layer, and reporting layer. Let’s break them down:
Is where the raw data is stored. These are your personal data, cloud storage, and personal files that are full of unstructured data. Data sources are the starting point of any BI system because they are integrated with all the following data integration tools, storage, and business intelligence UI.
It includes all the technologies that facilitate the storage process. These are all integrations for all enterprise data and tools that perform ETL, Transformation, and Loading (ETL). Data is moved to a single database for a few reasons:
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Therefore, the data source and warehouse layers are considered as the basic tools of the BI system. Building and maintaining it is part of the responsibility of data/ETL developers and data analysts/engineers.
Is the last point for information. This layer is the core BI connection that allows users to access data, pulling it from the warehouse for analysis. Analytics capabilities may vary based on business requirements for the system. But in the most important case, these are SQL queries and simple data visualization tools.
Each piece of software that makes up the reporting system is the responsibility of the business information developer. Within the scope of the business intelligence project, the BI developer assumes engineering, management, and strategic planning responsibilities. Therefore, this person can be both the project leader and/or the executive.
As we have defined the BI developer’s place in the overall BI platform, let’s look at the responsibilities of this person.
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The scope of work defines the level of participation for a particular position, as engineers with similar skill sets and domain knowledge may be interchangeable. Developing BI interfaces requires deep expertise in software engineering, database, and data analysis. So, in part, information engineers who have a background in software development and experience with BI can lead the implementation of collaborative development.
However, business intelligence tools can include industry-specific services. BI developers are also aware of the business domain: This allows them to understand business needs, implement effective data models, and data representation solutions. Therefore, the responsibilities of BI developers are:
Business intelligence is always tied to the actual business area and the needs of a specific organization to analyze data. This means from company to company BI tools can be completely different. Let’s assume there are two functions:
In both cases, the end product will be a BI platform. But, in the first case, it will require many more advanced options for data analysis, because there are only more dimensions to be analyzed. The information itself may require imaging, as it can be given in any form such as x-ray, MRI, or ultrasound.
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This is the difference in understanding business needs for a platform that a BI developer should know. Because they will release the number of reporting sites, its features, and additional functions.
After the business requirements are gathered and documented, a number of data engineers / ETL / front-end developers take care of translating them into technical projects. The BI developer in this case is responsible for defining the functions that cover the user interface and reporting capabilities. For more specific information, the BI developer will explain whether the user interface must be an interactive dashboard with drag and drop, or a set of fields to be filled with data properties, or whether the system needs data visualization and how it will be useful. deal with her too.
All of these decisions will be translated into core tasks for the ETL development team, and the BI team (front-end and back-end). The development stage can be controlled by the project manager or BI developer as well.
As mentioned, a BI developer may act as a technical lead within the development team, or may share the actual development tasks. But a BI developer can make strategic decisions on the right software and manage the entire process up to deployment. Testing and debugging may also be the BI developer’s responsibility in the early’/post-launch stages.
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Reporting is a different job that doesn’t really involve engineering, but it does work with databases and data modeling. Using a BI interface, users make queries to the database to retrieve certain data. This information is then organized into a visual form (say, a chart), or a text summary of the given items.
While the user adjusts what to pull and how to organize it, the software will take care of finding this information and identifying the information needed. This can be done with the help of a data model – the structure in which the data is stored in the database.
Data models are defined and applied to databases by data analysts and ETL developers. But, the BI developer is the one who provides the reporting requirements, so that will be the next design factor. These models represent objects in the database and the relationships between them, thus determining how data can be queried. And this is part of the capabilities of a BI developer.
Logically, the BI developer will also control how the data is queried, if it is valid, and how the report works.
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There are many ways to build a unified repository for all company information. We discussed these methods in a dedicated article about warehouses. While the architecture of the database does not directly impact reporting, the BI developer can participate in the design process.
This topic goes hand in hand with the previous one. A BI developer can participate in the collection of database systems, as well as meta data (additional information about data). This document will be used during the development process and to help with decisions about required reporting options.
Each system requires technical documentation. While the BI developer will not take users to the platform, and show how to use it, he/she takes care of giving guidance as a document. This document is intended for use by ordinary users of the technology. employees, for example. API documentation, known technical issues, etc.
The skills of BI developers can vary depending on the project. In some cases, the BI developer may have minimal interaction with the software engineer and act as a SQL expert to ensure the query is correct. But for the sake of completeness, we will list all the possible skills that correspond to the normal weight.
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Experience with BI tools. First and foremost, every BI developer should have experience developing customer BI products or customizing existing ones. If building a custom BI product, knowledge of Python, scripting languages, and experience with data visualization libraries is a must. A solid understanding of all the underlying concepts is also required: This includes an understanding of data integration tools, ETL/ELT processes, data organization, and warehouse architecture.
If we talk about a product that uses a BI solution by a vendor, then the BI developer must be familiar with its technology stack. These depend on the vendor, but the most popular solutions related to data pipelines, reporting and data operations are Amazon products (such as QuickSight), the Hadoop platform, or Apache technology (such as Apache Superset).
DB/DBA information. The main reason why a BI developer should be proficient in dealing with databases is that his main concern is SQL/noSQL queries. A BI system needs to frequently interact with databases, data models, or distribute data across multiple databases.
BI developers can also participate in the design and construction of tools to manage online analysis (OLAP cubes). This is an advanced option for quantitative research that uses unrelated databases.
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Research data. While it doesn’t require a BI developer to be
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