I started my career as a Systems Engineer and soon moved up the ranks to be a Technical Specialist.I made some strategically important moves in my career. I moved to an IT consulting firm as a Senior BI Developer/Analyst before landing up with a job of a Senior BI Consultant at another top MNC. Im currently working as BI/DW Technology Consultant. Working for Top notch MNCs in my career instilled a sense of discipline and professional ethics along with the technological aspects. My stints helped me understand the global onsite-offshore model better and how a Global company can leverage its knowledge to execute projects from multiple countries. At my present role, Im working on BI Solutioning and BI Road mapping.
Decisions that mattered
One of the most important decisions was to take up a career in BI/Analytics.
The turning points
Change is inevitable. However, turning points have great power to change the way we think, the way we live. Most inflection points will begin with a single bold decision. Years ago I made a decision to make a career in the Business Intelligence & Analytics space. It was the inflection point that changed my life positively in many ways. I worked longer and harder than any other time in my formal education. I took on the challenge because I had the ownership in my decision. It validated the thought that an individual is more motivated when he/she has a vested interest in what he/she needs to achieve. The key is to recognize when you are at such a point and do something about it. It all started with a decision to further my career and marketability.
Work and Role: Then and now
I have moved into the role of Business Intelligence Solutioning, wherein we as a team, cater to a lot of clients across different domains/geographies, across a gamut of BI tools. In the past I have had performed multiple roles from being a Developer to a Senior BI Lead to taking up BI Architect/Advisory roles.
Two years down the line
I have set my vision to build a BI competency to be able to provide service, an array of diverse businesses. Being a Technology Consultant, I crave to use Technology to solve business and worldly problems.
What I learnt along the way
A couple of things which I have learnt in my professional life and which I always keep in mind and advocate are: Be REAL, do what you love, and always put CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS first. Listen and LEAD by being an example. When I started my career almost a decade ago, we still had the tendency of reading through the books before actually venturing into the development of a code. We had to work with machines which were probably a few times slower than the ones we have today. With advancement in technology, everything is available as a pre-packaged solution now; be it Developer Libraries or Tools (automations which can do the job of millions of lines of code). Technology is pushing life towards more and more sophistication. It does need openness for adaptability and acceptability.
Trends to watch out for
Cloud BI and providing BI solutions as a service, is something which is been talked and which will be the future. Big Data & Sentimental Analytics is another field which needs a worthy mention here. Data-on-the-go (Streaming Real Time Analytics) is also an upcoming trend in the market. My advice if you are starting out
My humble advice to starters is that whatever you do, do it to the best of your abilities. Be authentic and keep an eye on every minute detail of your work. Understanding how your contributions are aligned to the strategies of the team/account/organization is imperative. Enhancing and upgrading ones skills is mandatory to be successful in this era. BI/Analytics is one of the hottest fields to be in and will be here for the next few decades.
Must have skills in BI, as I see them
It is never an easy answer when we talk about domains because every domain entices different kinds of challenges and interests. The Telecom domain is something to watch out for. Retail Analytics, Customer Analytics, MarketBasket Analytics are some of the new exciting things in the BI Retail space. BI/Analytics using unconventional data and unstructured data is also an upcoming big thing in the BI space. Do we need certifications
Certifications to a great extent have enhanced my skill sets and also have enabled me to contribute better to the work. Certifications are always beneficial when the knowledge acquired is channelized and utilized for the betterment of the tasks we do on a daily basis. There are many certifications available in the market. TDWI offers very good certifications which are recognized all over the world. All the big players in BI – SAP, Oracle IBM and Microsoft have a stream of certifications available which can be looked into,based on the individual interests.
Books/Websites I recommend
TDWI website is one of the best. I attend a lot of Webinars from TDWI and have found it extremely beneficial. The Business Intelligence toolbox is a good place to connect to fellow technologists in the same line of specialization. LinkedIn groups are also extremely useful as they provide a great platform to connect and collaborate.Other good websites to keep up with pace are: http://bi-insider.comwww.gartner.com
I have found these books to be very useful: Business Intelligence Roadmap - The Complete Project Lifecycle For Decision-Support Applications by Larissa T.Moss, Shaku Atre and The Data Warehouse Life Cycle Toolkit by Ralph Kimball,Laura Reeves, Margy Ross, Warren Thornthwaite.