Every business processes and stores a wealth of strategic information, but it takes a talented data warehouse team to collect and analyze this data and transform it into business intelligence. This team collects raw data from a variety of sources both inside and outside the company, then stores it on separate database servers -- or warehouses -- for later analysis. Data warehouse jobs include analysts, developers, database administrators and managers, all with backgrounds in database and software development.
Data Warehouse Analysts
All data warehouse projects begin with analysts who survey existing databases and business processes to find the critical data within the company. They design the data warehouse databases; determine how to move data from existing storage into the warehouse; and decide the best methods to store and retrieve massive amounts of data. They determine when it is appropriate to save data in its raw form, or when it may be necessary to condense and summarize data to speed retrieval and minimize disk storage. A typical data warehouse analyst has experience in software development or database administration and earns a median salary of about $78,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A database administrator, or DBA, works with analysts to determine the number of servers needed; the type and amounts of disk storage; and how data gets distributed among the drives. As the project progresses, it is her job to code the functions that store and retrieve data, set up permissions for data access, monitor data integrity and optimize server performance. Data warehouse servers handle thousands and sometimes millions of gigabytes of data, requiring constant monitoring and balancing to ensure optimal performance. Although the job requires close attention to detail focus and may at times be tedious, DBAs are in high demand with median salaries around $74,000 per year, according to the BLS.
Once analysts locate the data and the database administrator creates the storage solution, software developers build the programs and processes that move the data from existing databases into the warehouse. These programs are usually written using standard procedural languages, such as Java or Visual Basic, extracting and loading large volumes of data on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. Developers also may be called on to create recurring reports or summarize data into meaningful information for company decision makers. Software developers earn a median salary of around $72,000 per year, according to the BLS.
Once the data gets loaded into the warehouse, data analysts run queries and create reports that transform it into usable information. A typical data analyst has a background in statistics or research mathematics and gathers data from a variety of sources to gain insight and discover new information. In addition to creating lists and summary reports, he may also run studies or analyses that compare external forces, such as regional economic indicators, to business activities, such as sales volumes or inventory levels. Data analysts with statistical backgrounds usually need a master's degree and earn a median salary of around $73,000 per year, according to the BLS.