Initially, I was going to write about whether or not the ETL skills are important for a BI developer, however, I’ve significantly broadened the focus of the post since.
There were few articles that have kept my attention for a while – discussion of the skill-sets that business intelligence developers should have. The articles are “Functional Expertise in a Technical BI Consultant” by Jeff McQuigg and “What Skills Does an Oracle BI Developer Need in 2009?” by Mark Rittman (I think I’ve mentioned that one before). I have a big respect and admiration of both experts and have found inspiration in their blogs and forum posts (both OTN and Toolbox). They both list multiple skills that intersect (such as ETL, database, and dimensional modelling). I think the difference between the articles is that Mark is putting the emphasis on application tools (Hyperion Applications, BI Applications, OWB, and others) while Jeff is emphasizing the importance of the general knowledge of BI and DWH concepts such as dimensional modelling and ETL backed up by OBIEE tools proficiency.
“Domain experience in BI, Data Warehousing, BI Tools, Dimensional Modeling, ETL, BI Apps, etc. is what you should be focusing on…”
I should add that Mark also mentions the importance of possessing various applicable skills, however, I felt that he was more elaborate about software applications.
“In addition to these product skills, you also needed to have a fair bit of database knowledge, partly because all of these tools worked directly with database data, so you had to know your indexing, materialized views, explain plans and so on…”
My only two additions to both lists would be web development and html/css skills for front-end OBIEE customization. It might not be very complex, but I’ve had a few instances where clients have asked me to work on such things as changing Answers text / links, modifying some style sheets, and revamping the Dashboard look. The other skill is LDAP security and various SSO implementations.
One thing is clear – there’re many technologies, tools, and concepts that a good BI consultant should be comfortable with. Not only that, he/she should be proficient in critical thinking, information search, and just-in-time learning flexibility – being able to learn new tools/concepts on the fly. I don’t even mention such items as communication skills, attention to detail, dressing appropriately – since those are given for those who’re working in an enterprise scene.
Christian Berg (an OBIEE and Hyperion expert) has recently started a blog of his own and called it hekatonkheires, which apparently means “three giants who possessed a hundred and fifty hands”. I think it’s a very good description of someone working with OBIEE (Siebel Analytics).
(to be continued…)
Comments are appreciated as usual.
With Oracle expanding the value proposition in this area more and more, the necessary skill set definitely exploded.
To the items mentioned by Jeff, Mark and you, I’d definitely add BI Publisher. The thing’s already replaced and is going to replace so many tools and solutions (think Actuate or Oracle Reports) that it will become a real “must have”.
Security, SSO etc. definitely is the other big one. Often underestimated since “it’s the infrastructure guys taking care of that…we’re BI guys”. Sorry, but no. Most OBI guys right now face the situation that they actually are expected to know more than the people running the systems.
Do you know any good sites that show best practices and lessons learn for OBIEE? Additionally, what are books that have helped you with OBIEE and BI in general?
I’d suggest reading some of the blogs (you can start from the ones on the right side) and also doing some of the tutorials on the Oracle’s site (Oracle by examples). Try to start this link