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  1. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    Default Has anyone looked into business intelligence/data wareshousing/business analytics?

    It's been a while since I've posted last and it's mostly due to my lack of motivation to continue with certifications and trying to transition over to a new role at my company. Over the last month or so, I have started to realize I do not want to be in a 100% technical role, I would prefer to have a job that mixes I.T. and business. I have been in a NOC role for over a year and all my aspirations to be a network engineer are sadly gone. After working at an ISP for some time and seeing the inner-workings of the company and what exactly our network engineers do, I can't see myself being happy in that kind of position.

    About two weeks ago, I started to look for positions that entail I.T. and business, and I started to come up jobs like business intelligence/data mining/data warehousing/big data/business and predictive analytics..etc. Just to explain a little more, here's the definition for business intelligences:” is the ability of an organization to collect, maintain, and organize knowledge. This produces large amounts of information that can help develop new opportunities. Identifying these opportunities, and implementing an effective strategy, can provide a competitive market advantage and long-term stability” (source: Wikipedia). So in short: BI analyst will pull information from a data warehouse and be able to tell a story to executives on what the data means.

    After doing further research at my company, I found out we started a BI department about 6 months ago. I decided to contact the director of BI and schedule a lunch meeting. After learning a great deal during our lunch meeting, I've pretty much decided this BI/data warehousing is something that I would like to do, so now I'm working with the director to work on a plan that will help me transition over to his/her department.

    Has anyone here moved into a business intelligence type role? If so, how do you like?

    How many have you started to specialize in I.T. but found later it was not what you expected?
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  3. Stayed at a Holiday Inn.. the_Grinch's Avatar
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    #2
    Kind of funny as I have been recently looking into data analysis. I think your biggest hang-up will be a lack of a business education. We currently have someone who is working in that type of position and he has a business degree, having picked up the needed technical skills on the way. The other issue you may have to contend with is the fact that you have to explain the results of your analysis to management and they might not be happy about it. You might be analyzing the data from a campaign that did not turn out very well and people take offense to being told they failed. All things to think about. That being said the other matter is learning the technology used by whatever company you work for to perform the analytics. Good luck!
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  4. Stayed at a Holiday Inn.. the_Grinch's Avatar
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    Master of Science in Business Analytics < 2012-2013 Catalog | Drexel University

    I believe this program has been discontinued, but if it's something you are really interested in St. Joe's has an online program I believe.
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  5. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    Hey Grinch nice to hear from you again. Before I was in I.T., I worked in Finance and Banking , so I have the business side down pretty good. I'm currently working on my database knowledge, along with taking additional high level math classes, so I can apply/qualify for a Masters in Applied Statistics program (I eventually want to be a data scientist and/or data modeler, statistics is my ultimate passion).

    I have learned over the last week or so, what exact BI applications they are going to implement, so I have an idea of what I need to study.

    Thanks for the link. I found an article on dice.com a couple weeks back, talking about the top 5 analytics programs in the US.

    Where to Get a Master’s Degree in Big Data | Dice Blog Network
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  6. Stayed at a Holiday Inn.. the_Grinch's Avatar
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    Excellent, didn't realize you came from a Finance background! Sounds to me that you have what you need to get started. I would stick with the Applied Statistics program since we already know you can pick up technology without issue. Definitely, in your off time, look into open source alternatives if you are working with closed source stuff.

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  7. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    Those are quality links, thanks again! I'm really interested in learning R, so we shall see how long it takes to do that.
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    #7
    Hi Yuck,

    I have been working on the database and BI side and will continue once I finish my Master's in MIS. Some roles such as BI analyst will be less technical more business, and other roles that do more ETL or DW will be more technical. It is definitely a growing industry so it could be a wise decision to move into this area. The hardest part is that most companies want experienced people in DW/BI, but there are still many companies that are willing to have you learn.

    Good luck!!
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  9. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    The positions at my company are doing ETL/DW work, so I'm beginning to read beginners books on data-warehousing/BI. The director said he wanted to get me involved in some of their projects, so I can get familiar with what they do.

    Can you recommend what to focus on for ETL/DW? Because I have a lot of questions regarding the subjects...like

    * How much database knowledge do I need? Almost that of a DBA?
    * Do I need to know a certain programming language?
    * Should I learn SAS or R?
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    #9
    Hi Yuck,

    Sorry for the delayed response. ETL/DW have a slightly different skillset than DBAs. ETL/DW needs to have a good understanding of transferring source to staging environments, and being able to develop business intelligence from the DW. DW can include data architects that design the infrastructure for the warehouse, cube developers/designers, excel OLAP, reporting, etc.

    I would definitely know a lot of SQL, and then you would have to learn the ETL tools used (SSIS, Abinitio, etc depends on the DB). In addition, understanding the DW architecture and BI tools will be useful.

    SAS and R are more for data analysis so those would normally not be used in an ETL/DW role, but it could depend. They would be used by the data analysts that are interacting with the DW. Your primary role would be gathering data, and creating the DW, and necessary cubes/reports for the business or data analysts to interact with.
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  11. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    Awesome reply! You definitely cleared up a few areas for me.
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  12. Senior Member Ivanjam's Avatar
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    What do you guys think of this degree? Would this be considered 'big data'?

    Online M.S. in Information Systems | CUNY School of Professional Studies
    Last edited by Ivanjam; 11-13-2012 at 11:22 PM.
    Fall 2014: Start MA in Mathematics [ ]
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  13. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    #12
    are you looking to get into big data?
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  14. Senior Member Ivanjam's Avatar
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by YuckTheFankees View Post
    are you looking to get into big data?
    @Yuck - I am not even in the IT field as yet but I like to plan ahead. Regarding the MSIS at CUNY, I can do it through my agency for free that's why I was wondering about it.
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  15. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    Usually with big data/data warehousing/business intelligence you will need some experience so I don't know if you should invest your time into that degree.
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  16. Senior Member Ivanjam's Avatar
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    #15
    Thanks @ Yuck... I plan to get an IT job in my current agency so the free degree opportunity should always be around. By the way, did you read the description of the degree? Is it your standard MSIS degree or does it have a big data slant?
    Fall 2014: Start MA in Mathematics [ ]
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  17. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    It does have a big data/analytics feel, good luck!
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  18. Member Complete_IT_Professional's Avatar
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    #17
    @Yuck - I just wanted to add that moving into BI (ETL, data warehousing) could be a good move. A lot of companies have huge amounts of data, and helping them make sense of it is a great benefit. The kind of skills you would need (depending on your exact role) could be:
    - SQL
    - Data modelling concepts, both general and data warehousing. General data modelling concepts include things like keys, relationships, tables, data types, etc. Data warehousing expands on this by using concepts such as facts, dimensions, cubes.


    I've had a similar change of career - I started in development and now have a business analyst role, and have done some data warehousing stuff.
    Some of the challenges you might face include:
    - The management or end users not knowing what their data is, or what it is used for. Seems strange, but it's quite common.
    - The systems that store the data have bad quality or missing data. Not every system is designed well and keeps complete data.

    Good luck!
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  19. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info! The biggest thing I am focusing on right now is learning SQL and in-depth knowledge of relational databases.
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  20. Stayed at a Holiday Inn.. the_Grinch's Avatar
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    #19
    Definitely have to agree with Complete's point, "The management or end users not knowing what their data is, or what it is used for. Seems strange, but it's quite common." We have an employee (he was a consultant, was brought on fulltime in a business analyst type role) and he'll go to management to ask what reports they want. Their reply is usually "what reports do you think I should run?" Thankfully, he has a business background and knows those sort of things. But of course you have to ask yourself, why don't you know what info you would want about your departments performance?
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  21. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    Is business intelligence just a new word for business analyst with some new tasks?
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  22. Stayed at a Holiday Inn.. the_Grinch's Avatar
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    #21
    I was under the impression that it goes beyond what a business analyst would do. In my research, it appears that a business intelligence analyst is part DBA with an understanding of business and making sense of the data available. An example I found was written by a DBA who had said they had a business intelligence group and they would write their own SQL queries for whatever info they were looking for. If it was taking a long time, they'd come to him to help optimize their script. The business analyst we have has extensive salesforce knowledge, so he runs reports from there along with administration and some like development. Any of the heavy lifting gets handed off to our programmers.
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  23. Senior Member YuckTheFankees's Avatar
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    Awesome, I guess I'm on the right path.
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  24. Senior Member Ivanjam's Avatar
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    #23
    I attended a CUNY School of Professional Studies webinar today where they definitively stated that the following degree will be renamed MS in Data Analytics:

    Online M.S. in Information Systems | CUNY School of Professional Studies
    Fall 2014: Start MA in Mathematics [ ]
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  25. Member Complete_IT_Professional's Avatar
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by YuckTheFankees View Post
    Is business intelligence just a new word for business analyst with some new tasks?
    They do look like similar roles but they are quire different.
    "Business Analyst" (commonly called BA) is a title, and in short, it's someone who finds out what users wants (gathering requirements) and communicates those to the project team to get it built. Communication and broad technical knowledge are helpful skills.
    "Business Intelligence" (commonly called BI) is an area of IT - in short, it involves translating company data into something that is useful to anyone who needs it (top management, end users and anything in between). This area can involve roles such as "Business Intelligence Analyst", "BI Developer", etc. Knowledge of query language (SQL) and database concepts is useful.
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    Hadoop (HDFS,etc), Hbase, Hive, etc is where its at! I say if you have a really good understanding of that infrastructure then you can apply that in a buisness / engineering type role.

    Currently I have a good understanding of Hadoop / HDFS clusters. Currently wrapping my brain around Hbase (Colum oridented database), its easy to see how Hbase sits on top of HDFS but making sure the data from HDFS gets imported into Hbase via pig / scoop scripts is interesting.
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