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BI jobs: Training and experience

I counsel mainframers, programmers, etc., with knowledge of various databases who have recently acquired business intelligence tools training -- specifically Business Objects. They are currently trying to get back into the workforce -- do you have any suggestions as to how best they can target/position themselves in this market? Would additional training help and in what area would you suggest?

Thanks in advance for your consideration of the above questions.

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I believe it would be difficult, in the competitive environment that exists for DW jobs today, to pick up a DW job with a lack of experience. Not impossible, but difficult. Many employers today are asking for specific release-level skills and experience on tools. However, I still feel there is growth in DW over time. Here's a quick look at the DW-build-type positions and how they apply to someone without BI experience:

Position Nature of job Competitive Market Minimally what it would take you
DBA Fulltime+ plus on-call 24 X 7 Very competitive Need to get certification (4 weeks of training/exams in Oracle or SQL Server)
Data Modeler Fulltime Very competitive Extremely difficult without experience
OLAP Fulltime+ Competititve Need to get training
ETL Fulltime++ Very competititve Need certification (2 weeks of training/exams on a tool)

The mainframe experience is helpful and your folks may be able to parlay their industry domain expertise, application experience or, better yet, specific company knowledge, into a BI position that liaises with business requirements primarily and advises on the build out of their data access environment secondarily. They could then demonstrate skill and interest on the data access part of their job and expand that part. Many data warehouses are on the mainframe so that may also be an avenue.

This was first published in August 2002

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