Business Intelligence Analytics Developer – Everything about the past and current state of your business is recorded as bits of information. Marketing numbers, human resources, company budget, sales volumes – you name it. The number of business domains from which data is obtained may be large. But as a business, you may be interested in extracting value from this information rather than collecting it. Thank goodness there’s an app for everything.
Business intelligence (BI) is a set of technologies and practices for turning business data into actionable reports and visualizations. Founded in the early 80s and evolving as a distinct industry over time, BI has spawned numerous roles and professions. We have already explained the role of the ETL developer. This material covers the features of the basic BI data infrastructure, so we recommend that you read it to gain a deeper understanding of the topic.
Business Intelligence Analytics Developer
Today we will discuss the role of a BI developer, their typical responsibilities, background and required skills. We’ll also define the difference between other standard roles involved in building BI systems and specific situations that require you to hire a BI developer.
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A business intelligence developer is an engineer responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining BI interfaces. These include query tools, data visualization and interactive dashboards, custom reports, and data modeling tools. But when we talk about business intelligence, we need to give a stricter explanation of this technological concept.
An entire BI system can be divided into an internal part and an actual user interface for interacting with the data. Why is this division so important? Regardless of system complexity, a typical BI platform consists of 3 layers: the data source layer, the warehouse layer, and the reporting layer. Let’s break them down:
Is where the raw data is stored. These are separate files filled with your database, cloud storage, and unstructured data. Data sources are the starting points of any BI system, as they connect to all the following data integration tools, repositories, and business intelligence UIs.
Includes all technologies that facilitate the warehouse process. Both of these are a single storage for all enterprise data and tools that perform Extract, Transform and Load (ETL). Data is transferred to a single database for several reasons:
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Thus, the data source and warehouse layers are considered the basic infrastructure of the BI system. Its construction and maintenance is the responsibility of database/ETL developers and data analysts/engineers.
Is the endpoint for data. This layer is the actual BI interface that allows users to drag data from the warehouse for analysis. Analytics capabilities may vary depending on the business requirements for the system. But in the most basic scenario, these are SQL queries and simple data visualization tools.
Each piece of software that makes up the reporting layer is the responsibility of the business intelligence developer. Within a business intelligence project, a BI developer takes on engineering, management, and strategic planning responsibilities. Thus, this person can be both a project manager and an executive.
Now that we’ve defined the BI developer’s place within the entire BI platform, let’s take a look at this person’s responsibilities.
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Project scope determines the degree of involvement for a given role, as engineers with similar technology stacks and domain knowledge are interchangeable. Developing BI interfaces requires deep expertise in software engineering, databases, and data analysis. Thus, data engineers, partly with a background in software development and experience with BI, can lead the interface development process.
However, business intelligence tools can include many industry-specific functionality. BI developers are also aware of the specifics of the business domain: This enables them to understand business requirements and implement the right data models and data presentation solutions. Thus, the responsibilities of a BI developer are as follows:
Business intelligence is always related to the actual business area and the specific organization’s data analysis requirements. This means that BI tools can be completely different from company to company. Suppose there are two projects:
In either case, the end product will be a BI platform. However, in the first case, it will require more advanced options for data analysis, since there are more dimensions to analyze. The data itself may require image recognition as it may be in any format such as X-ray, MRI or ultrasound.
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It’s the difference in understanding the business requirements for the platform that a BI developer needs to know. Because they will control the number of reporting tools, its forms and additional functionality.
After the business requirements are gathered and documented, a number of data engineers/ETL/front-end developers are responsible for translating them into technical tasks. In this case, the BI developer is responsible for articulating the tasks surrounding the user interface and reporting capabilities. More specifically, should the BI developer UI be an interactive dashboard with a drag-and-drop interface, or a set of fill-in fields with data properties that will describe whether the system needs data visualization and how the user will do it. interact with it too.
All these decisions will become actual tasks for the ETL development team and the BI team (front end and back end). A project manager or BI developer can also oversee the development phase.
As mentioned, a BI developer can fill a technical lead role within a development team or share the actual developer tasks. But the BI developer can make strategic decisions about the developed software and manage the whole process until its deployment. Testing and debugging can also be the BI developer’s responsibility during the pre/post launch phases.
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Reporting is a separate task for working with databases and data models, which is not so much related to engineering. Using the BI interface, users make queries to the database to retrieve some information. This information is then formatted into a visual form (such as a pie chart) or a text summary of the given features.
As the user configures what to drag and how to format it, the software will be responsible for finding this information and recognizing the required information. This can be done with the help of data modeling, which is a structure in which data is stored in a database.
Data models are defined and applied to the database by data analysts and ETL developers. However, the BI developer is the one who provides the reporting requirements, so it will be the determining factor for the future model. These models represent the objects in the database and the relationships between them, so it will define how to query the data. And that’s part of the BI developer’s remit.
Logically, the BI developer will also control how data is queried, whether it is valid, and how reporting works.
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There are many approaches to creating a single storage for all corporate data. We discussed these approaches in a separate article about repositories. Although the architectural style of the data warehouse does not directly affect the report, the BI developer can participate in the design process.
This point goes parallel to the previous one. A BI developer can be involved in documenting the data structure of the warehouse as well as the metadata (additional information about the data). These documents will be used in the development process and help make decisions about the required reporting options.
Any system needs technical documentation. Although the BI developer does not introduce users to the platform or show them how to use it, they are responsible for providing instructions such as documentation. This documentation covers the scope of use for common users and technology. staff, e.g. API documentation, known technical issues, etc.
BI developer skills can vary depending on the project. In some cases, a BI developer may have minimal interaction with software engineering and may act as a SQL expert to ensure proper querying. But for a complete picture, we’ll list all possible skills that match typical positions.
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Experience with BI tools. First and foremost, every BI developer should have experience in developing customer BI products or configuring existing ones. In the case of building a custom BI product, knowledge of Python, scripting languages and experience with data visualization libraries is mandatory. A solid understanding of the entire underlying infrastructure is also required: This includes data integration tools, ETL/ELT processes, data format and warehouse architecture.
If we are talking about a product using a vendor-supplied BI solution, the BI developer must be familiar with its respective technology stack. These depend on the vendor, but the most popular solutions for data pipelines, reporting, and database operations are Amazon products (such as QuickSight), the Hadoop platform, or Apache technologies (such as Apache Superset).
DB/DBA background. The main reason a BI developer should have experience working with databases is that the main concern is SQL/noSQL queries. BI systems often require dealing with databases, data models, or distribution of data across multiple databases.
BI developers may also be involved in designing and building tools for online analytical processing (OLAP cubes). It is an advanced choice for multivariate analysis using unrelated databases.
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Background in data analysis. Although it does not require a BI developer
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