What you need to know for a career as a data warehousing specialist

September 27, 2022 · 6 min read · By ASU Online
Professionals who work with data are in high demand and many industries are seeking employees with skills in IT, engineering and quality assurance. Learn more about the growing field of data warehousing and how you can become a data warehousing specialist.
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From the digital devices we rely on to the massive computer networks managed by multinational corporations, there is a staggering amount of data created every day. While data doesn’t take up any physical space, the hardware on which it’s stored does. Data warehousing specialists are often tasked with addressing the growing challenge of managing where our data ends up and making data management processes more efficient.

Similar to the data being handled, a data warehouse is not necessarily a physical object or place. Instead, it describes a system that facilitates the flow of data through an organization. Data in a warehousing system is sourced from inputs into accounting software or sales terminals at retail stores.

A warehousing system takes this data and organizes it according to the organization’s needs. Therefore, a data warehousing specialist is often responsible for designing and implementing a warehousing system like this on a large scale. This may be done for a single corporation or as part of a contract involving different clients and vendors.

 

What does a data warehouse specialist do?

The exact tasks and job roles of a data warehousing specialist depend on their organization, as well as the scope of the project and the resources at their disposal.

In general, data warehousing specialists are responsible for:

  • Developing processes and procedures for data management across an organization or within the scope of a project.
  • Creating software applications or designing computer programs that accomplish tasks necessary for data storage and management.
  • Analyzing current data warehousing processes for improvement to make procedures more efficient, or realize a different end target.

These job responsibilities, among others, contribute to the data warehousing system’s success. As explained by IBM, a data warehouse is a very large, complex database or table of information. The data takes the form of snapshots that show each change made to the database over time and information about those changes. A data warehouse for a single organization might compile data from each segment of the business, like accounting, marketing, sales and others.

After being properly sorted, the warehousing system puts data into what’s known as a “data mart.” Here, data is properly organized to allow people to easily search for specific types of transactions or for certain data points from a given timeframe. This information can then be used to make important decisions about how to manage the business.

In short, a data warehousing specialist plays a vital role in the success of businesses that rely on huge volumes of data. They design and fine-tune the tools that make this work possible.

A data warehousing specialist works at a data center.

What does data warehousing allow organizations to achieve?

Data warehousing offers many benefits to the organizations that use it, such as:

  • Enhanced business intelligence

Data warehousing can be used to process data from any source and leverage business analytics. Many organizations’ enterprise information systems encompass multiple subsystems. With data warehousing, this separated data can be merged together. This effortless integration of data allows any team member within an organization to have access to all relevant information needed at any time.

With almost instantaneous retrieval of data, data warehousing alleviates the burden of misunderstandings within an organization and gives employees the ability to act swiftly on business decisions.

  • Improved consistency and quality of data

Organizations can ensure quality and reliability of data when utilizing data warehousing. The process of data warehousing refines the quality of documented statistics so that organizations may identify and remove any replicated, erroneous or poorly recorded data.

  • Saved time

Employing data warehousing gives businesses the ability to stay ahead of the competition in the current fast-paced world. Routine scheduled data integrations, known as ETLs, consolidate and transform data from multiple source systems into a useful format. Instead of relying on 24/7 technical support needed to troubleshoot issues that arise, data warehousing provides almost immediate data retrieval, thus enabling faster response times.

  • Increased return on investment (ROI)

Implementing data warehouses with complementary business intelligence systems can generate substantial financial savings and increased revenue. In 2020, the International Data Corporation (IDC) analyzed the annual benefits for a particular company that employed data warehousing in their business practices. Over five years, the company averaged $2 million in annual savings benefits over five years, resulting in a five-year return on investment (ROI) of 455%.

Overall, data warehousing provides organizations with the ability to manage a large capacity of data with consistency, accuracy and added security. The processes that data warehousing provides allows the organizations who use it to save time and prioritize growing and scaling their businesses.

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Data warehouse jobs outlook

Professionals who work with computer systems and design systems to support them, such as data warehousing specialists, are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software development and statistical analysis roles are among those expected to be the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. from 2021 to 2031. This projection is in line with current trends as more businesses are relying on advanced digital technology to accomplish their goals.

Given the importance of these digital tools, more data is being created and collected in business’ day-to-day practices. When organized correctly by someone like a data warehousing specialist, it’s easier to learn from and use that data.

The average compensation reported by data warehousing specialists is in line with employer demand. The BLS combines data warehousing specialists with several other IT industry roles. Workers in this overarching category reported a median salary of $109,020 in 2021.

 

Becoming a data warehousing specialist

Data warehousing specialists must be comfortable with several industry-standard applications and the finer details of database design and management to perform critical job tasks. Most positions in this field require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related IT field of study. Many people who apply to become data warehousing specialists also pursue further education with a master’s degree in business analytics or a similar program.

With this level of education and some previous experience, data warehousing specialists tend to be well-versed in software for database management, metadata management and application development. Common database management software includes Apache Hadoop or Oracle SQL. Experience with object- or component-oriented programming languages like Objective C and Python are also necessary in many cases.

Overall, data warehousing specialists should be comfortable in work environments similar to that of most computer engineers. These jobs involve analyzing problems and developing solutions within the framework of information technology. They also require a rigorous process of designing, testing and revising the systems to facilitate continuous improvement and ensure operations progress smoothly.

 

Learn more about your potential career as a data warehousing specialist

While demand for data warehousing specialist positions is strong, businesses are also seeking out candidates with more advanced credentials for these positions. Coursework included in the online Master of Science in business analytics program from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University can provide the skills and knowledge needed to pursue competitive jobs in this rapidly growing field.

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Are you looking for a career that combines a passion for data with the ability to positively influence and support an organization? A business intelligence analyst does just that by analyzing complex sets of data within a company to determine recommendations for business growth and improvement.

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