How to start your career in Business Intelligence?

This post is a live example of my career as a developer in Business Intelligence (BI). I started BI with no knowledge at hand, and it took me lots of time to understand several areas of business intelligence. This blog will help you to give a smooth start to your career in BI.

Start by following any book or, materials online where you can get the knowledge on What, Why and How. “How” part can be explored later, but we should start with “What” and “Why” to understand the basics of BI.
Following are some areas where you need basic knowledge to understand the overall picture and once you are clear on the actual picture, you can expertise yourself in any of the area to start with:

  1. The description/definitions of BI, what is it exactly and why we need it for our business to grow.
  2. Life cycle of a BI/Data Warehouse  projects
  3. Difference between OLTP and OLAP
  4. Multidimensional Modeling
  5. Extraction Transform Load (ETL)
  6. BI Architecture
  7. Data Mining
  8. Reporting techniques
  9. Dashboard
  10. KPI, etc.

Please find below some online links and information on books, which will help you to acquire knowledge on above areas:


Business Intelligence
By: Elizabeth Vitt; Michael Luckevich; Stacia Misner
Publisher: Microsoft Press

Dimensional Modeling: In a Business Intelligence Environment
By: Chuck Ballard; Daniel M. Farrell; Amit Gupta; Carlos Mazuela; Stanislav Vohnik
Publisher: IBM Redbooks


The different careers in BI:

  1. ETL Engineer
  2. BI Engineer (Reports analysis, design and development)
  3. BI Engineer (Presentations -Dashboard, KPI, charts, etc.)
  4. Business Analysts (BI)
  5. TL/Project Manager (BI)
  6. QA/Testing (BI)

You would need to work on some tools to develop your solutions, I would suggest you to start with some open source if you want to understand the basics properly or, you can choose any paid tool if you want to ease your development.

Please find below some tools which we follow as our development, I would suggest starting with these tools:

  1. Talend Studio (ETL Tool), Open Source
  2. SpagoBI, Open source, It includes external engines such as Birt, Jasper, JPivot, Jpalo, JPXMLA, Geo, Geo Report, QbE, Weka, R(1), CommonJ, etc. It is a complete solution for BI projects.
  3. Schema-Workbench for Mondrian Schema development

Some other tools in the market:

  1. Open Source Tools
    1. Birt Project
    2. JasperSoft
    3. RapidMiner
    4. R
    5. Paid Tools
      1. Tableau Public Desktop (Basic version is free)
      2. Pentaho (Basic version is free)
      3. Zoho
      4. Yurbi, community version is free
      5. Cognos, IBM
      6. Omniscope,
      7. ElegantJ BI,
      8. Visdash,
      9. Dynamic AI,
      10. Precision BI, for healthcare domain,
      11. SuperSTAR
        SuperSTAR provides a unique solution to the challenge of fast, confidential data tabulation, analysis, visualization and dissemination of large amounts of organizational data. SuperSTAR uses a unique approach to analytical processing and reporting through the application of column-based analytical technology and web-based dissemination in one integrated environment.  Users manipulate and analyze data at any level of aggregation, from unit record or micro data to aggregated cubes of data.
      12. GoodData
        GoodData is more than just dashboards. It’s a powerful tool with a robust analytical engine built on a platform that’s revolutionizing BI.
      13. ElegantJ BI
      14. QlikView

Please let me know in case you need my help to understand any particular area/subject in details, I am there to help you always.

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