BI Analyst VS ETL Developer,
How do they contribute to BI?

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JUN 01, 2021

In the data field, one of the buzzwords you often hear is Business Intelligence (BI) covering from raw data processing to showing the final result to the audience which leads to the insights summary. All the mentioned processes can be completed by the cooperation from multiple teams working together. 

 

In this article, we introduce you through two essential roles; “BI Analyst” and “ETL Developer”. They are directly related to the working process we mentioned earlier. These 2 positions both work at the beginning and at the end of the BI process. How are these two positions related to the BI? What exactly are their roles? What are the essential skills they need to have? Let’s dive right in this article.

 

What is “Business Intelligence”?

 

Before jumping into the details of these two roles, we should take one step back to understand the definition of Business Intelligence first. BI is the concept of finding insights from data and showing its clear result in some form of representation such as visualizations, in which, later used to devise business strategy or finalize business decisions. BI process includes feeding data to Data Warehouse, Data Collection, Data Modeling, Data Analysis, Data Visualization; showing the result in an easier interpretation to the audience. As you can see in the BI System graph below, showing the beginning of Data Collection to the end of Data Summary.

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BI Analyst at Sertis focuses on Data Analysis, Report and Dashboard whilst ETL Developer focuses on database and ETL (Extract Transform Load) section.

 

1. What does a BI Analyst do?

 

BI Analyst focuses from Data Aggregation to Reporting Layer. They transform business requirements into technical requirements. For example, if the client wants to know the business profits under some conditions, BI needs to consider whether the available data is sufficient to do an analysis or not. If it is, the next question is what representation should be used for the best outcome? In terms of Data Analysis, BI Analyst needs to have an industry background of each client in order to suggest a strong, valuable and trustworthy business strategy.


BI Analyst Skill Set
 

- Data Analysis + Business Acumen (the data analysis with the business background): BI Analyst needs to understand the important metrics of each business so as to be able to provide strong and valuable suggestions. In Sertis, we specialize in analyzing data for the retail industry, ensuring that we can provide effective solutions to our clients.

 

- Data Query (a request for data): Most clients’ big data is stored in structured data format. Therefore, SQL is an essential skill. Apart from SQL, we also use other programming languages, for instance, Python or R. Sometimes, we got an ad hoc task to explore data that was too small to load into the database, but was too large for Excel to handle. In such a case, Python and R become handy alternatives.

 

- Data Aggregation (the process of gathering data and presenting them in a newly summarized format): Typically, the data we received from clients is a large amount of data. It usually requires some level of data aggregation to transform data in a more compact format. Still, returning a correct number compared to its original source. This leads to optimal data query speed in the dashboard.

 

- Data Visualization (the graphical representation of information and data): Be able to select a proper visualization to serve the client's objectives. There are a lot of dashboard tools, for instance, Tableau, Power BI or Python or R libraries depending on the analyst’s choice.

 

BI Analyst Career Path

 

In fact, BI Analyst is quite an all-rounder. We can say that BI Analyst can adapt and expand to many other related fields. They can choose to focus on only one specific path, for example, business-focused, dashboard or statistics. Not to mention they can incorporate diverse skills to provide professional advice as a consultant. This totally depends on the personal career path preference.

 

2. What does an ETL Developer do?

 

ETL Developer focuses on Data Warehouse and Data Transformation. Their main tasks are not related to data analysis to find insights, or to propose business strategy solutions, but to grasp an overview of infrastructure vendors in many categories e.g. On-Cloud, On-Premise, to help them come up with the best solutions that suit each clients’ data nature. They develop and monitor Data Workflow, implement ETL process to serve incoming daily raw data. This is to aggregate multiple data sources into a new, compact and ready-to-use format with a less time consuming and high effectiveness.

 

ETL Developer Skill Set 

 

- Software Development: This position has to develop something new based on the client's requirement. Sometimes, they have to use Programming Script to fulfill the ETL implementation, thus it requires starting from computer programming background such as Python to CI/CD concept understanding.

 

- System Architecture (the conceptual model that defines the structure, behavior, and more views of a system): Understand the overall system of how to develop and incorporate each layer to work together consistently and effectively. 

 

- Data Transformation (the understanding of data from one format to another): Design a proper workflow based on available raw data. Transforming data into the final form with correct metrics, columns for the user to later work on.


- Data Management: Understand the concept of data collection. Able to collect the raw clients’ data in a compact format, resulting in reducing data redundancy. Harness the best practice in configuring a permission level for each users’ group.

 

- Big Data Technology (interest and understanding of technology): As infrastructure technology always has new updates, ETL Developers must keep themselves up-to-date with the upcoming trend, so as to be able to assess whether the current tool they are using is outdated or not. In addition, be able to propose fresh solutions which are more scalable for the time being.

 

ETL Developer Career Path

 

Since ETL Developer skills include Software Development, Data Life Cycle understanding, System Maintenance, Architecture. ETL Developers have a ceiling to expand their career path to DevOps, Data Governance, Data Management or Cloud Architecture Consultant.

 

Even though these two position look different, they possess mutual skill sets as well, which are 

 

- Communication: You might have heard “Communication is key” because being able to convey our messages clearly is an essential skill for both internal and external occasions. Whether with colleagues, supervisors who grasp complicated technical terms, or even non-technical audiences whom we have to rephrase the message, avoid using technical terms but still holding the key takeaways.

 

- BI, Big Data Concept Understanding: Both positions relate to BI systems, thus it is recommended to understand the BI overall concept. At the very least, they have to see a clear picture of their roles and tasks. What kind of role do they contribute to the BI system? Although this is not the main responsibility, the overall idea of how data was sent as an Input/Output. 

How can they translate business requirements into concrete deliverables? This knowledge puts them on the same page with colleagues. As a result, they can provide professional solutions to the clients rather than just knowing what their roles do.

The below graph shows the difference and similarity between two roles:

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I hope that this article will help you get a better picture of Business Intelligence concept, the role of BI Analyst and ETL Developer. Moreover, I wish that this information could guide you to make a decision of which role is a right path according to your repertoire, decide your future career path, discover a list of skills that you still lack and need to be improved in order to reach that certain dream job.

 

Please note that BI Analyst at Sertis is labeled “Data Analyst - BI”

 

Work with us at  https://www.careers.sertiscorp.com/

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Written By
Chawankorn Kasinobhas
Data Analyst
Sertis Co., Ltd

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