After working in core languages in development projects, you are looking to shift your career. Data related roles intrigue you and you have been lurking for a position of Business Intelligence specialist in your organization for a year now. But all you receive from the concerned project managers or hiring teams is a NO.
Did you get a chance to sit and analyze the skills you are lagging for the role?
You might wonder to know that roles in the field of data such as BI specialist, Data Analyst, Report Designer need specific skills without which the progression would be stalled. However, these skills also encompass some common expertise, which is required for career growth.
Before we discuss the skill sets, let’s explain who a Business Intelligence Specialist is.
Who is a BI Specialist?
A BI specialist is the jack of all data related roles and master of BI.
If you want to work as a BI specialist, you would have a plethora of job responsibilities in one role. These would include reports and dashboard designing, understanding the requirements of the business to visualize data and define the system for the distribution methods of these data along with security. These would be your responsibilities from the front end.
If you as a specialist would delve from the back end, you need to understand data and analyze the discrepancies by finding the right extraction, transformation, and loading techniques, popularly known as ETL skills. You should be a master in writing structured query language (SQL) to run on the source and target databases and any layer in between.
Your role would be more than designing a dashboard or cleansing and loading the figures in the data warehouse. You would coordinate with the business representative to collect the requirements and propose a solution.
Let’s tour you through the bundle of skills and traits a specialist in the Business Intelligence field should possess.
Technical Skills a BI Specialist should have
SQL is ubiquitous if you are working in the data-related roles. Whether you are a database admin or a data scientist, you must know SQL because it’s the building blocks of a career in data. Whether you want to design a dashboard or its data model, the necessary digging starts with querying the underlying database.
If you are stuck to compare two massive datasets or you want to find the monthly revenues for the past five years, knowing a query language to retrieve the right result set from a huge mound of data can rescue you. Just run a few select statements with the relevant filters and find the answers for your quest.
You might say that a reporting tool could easily do this in seconds. Yes, precisely. But a reporting tool would need you to design a report or at the least would require you to drag and drop a few columns to see the results. This is how easy it is to go to the core and analyze data directly.
BI Tools Expertise
Now, does this need explaining?
If you want to be a BI specialist, you need to know the BI tools playing the top game. More often than not, a person working in the Business Analytics area is familiar with the tools their organization is using or the ones being used in the projects. However, if you want to master the field, know the top trending tools.
If you cannot learn the deep nuances, know the leading tools along with their benefits and downsides, and the right areas where a particular tool can be applied. A dashboard and reporting tool is the soul of BI. So, learning these tools would pave the path for you to be a Business Intelligence specialist or a consultant.
Also, keep a watch on Gartner's annual report on BI software, which explains what tools are prevailing and for what reasons.
You know SQL and you understand the tools. Awesome! But analysis of data is at the core.
What is wrong with the data? What values should replace the wrong fields or the restrictions a column needs? These aspects of the data are not recent. To understand the various sources of data, find the redundancy and the irrelevant values, fields that are important yet missing. This can be done if you know how to analyze data.
If you are proficient at data analytics solutions, you can propose solutions for the desired outcomes. Finding and fixing the problems with numbers and associated fields would be easy for you after you learn how to analyze data from the various sources.
With data modeling, you could establish relationships among the data entities. Although this might not be a must-have skill, it is an add-on, which would save the situation in case the design at the reporting model or repository level fails.
Not only would you be able to make more sense of the results displayed by the BI tools, but you would also be able to backtrack the lineage for any issue, apart from pouring inputs for performance improvement.
Knowing the installation and administration of the tools—although not mandatory—might come handy in case of needs and as an added skill. That also includes the security aspects of the BI solution you are offering. Knowledge to check the logs for the tools is a savior when your processes fail. Understanding the security aspects of the tools helps explain the executives why some data are restricted for them while a part of it is sent out to the other teams.
Sharing the dashboards would not be an ardent task if you know the administrative aspects of the Business Intelligence and the tools used in your project.
Soft Skills a BI Specialist should have
Making dashboards and presenting them to the business teams or C-league executives need answering to them and being responsible for the information. With influencing the decision-makers by your proposals or helping them make choices, you need to be a problem solver.
Describing the complex technical issues or business-related problems, you surely need to ace communication. While you are selling them your ideas, you should be good at convincing them with data storytelling. The feat to represent the KPIs in the dashboards become realistic when you understand the business communications properly.
Working on a banking BI setup requires understanding the nitty-gritty of the bank offerings. When working with data, you need to work with the industry and jargons associated with the procedures of that domain.
It is crucial that while working as a BI specialist, you should be a master of technical knowledge. But at the same time, the need to have exemplary soft skills is unavoidable. In a crux, we at Logesys define three main qualifications for a BI specialist—knowledge of business, BI tools expertise, and literacy in data terminologies, apart from the soft skills.