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ETL Developer Career Guide

Are you looking for a role that lets you apply your expertise in a wide variety of skill sets? Do you possess a range of concrete skills, like software engineering, database development, and more? Well, a career as an ETL developer might be right for you!

ETL developers do the heavy lifting when it comes to ETL: extracting, transforming, and loading data. They design and maintain data storage systems and ensure that they provide business-relevant data.

In other words, businesses create massive amounts of data that need to be both stored and quickly retrieved or changed. The job of the developer is to make sure the business has the right tools for the job. They then create the right storage options and provide optimized delivery systems to and from these storages.

Developers work closely with programming languages, databases, and data modeling systems. Beyond that, they’ll be working on a wide variety of tasks ranging from team management, technical hurdles, and meeting and coordinating with others outside the department regularly.

Sample job description

Are you interested in becoming part of a data solutions delivery team? Are you up for managing hundreds of terabytes of data and creating state-of-the-art analytics platforms? [Your Company Name] is looking for a team player that has incredible time management and technical skill to handle clients and their assets. What we’re searching for is a candidate that isn’t afraid to help us lead the pack when it comes to analytic solutions and big data projects. If you think you’ve got what it takes to participate and foster an innovative and collaborative culture, while producing top-of-the-line data solutions, we would love to hear from you!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Partner with management teams to ensure effective and appropriate integration of functions that meet goals
  • Define and help implement system enhancements to deploy new products and process improvements
  • Resolve high impact issues with an evaluation of complex business processes
  • Apply advanced knowledge of programming to fit applications with overall planned architecture
  • Apply advanced knowledge of coding, testing, debugging, and implementation
  • Serve as a subject matter expert and advisor for other developers
  • Assess risk and practice consideration for clients and assets both through applicable laws and regulations and sound ethical judgment

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • 5 years related experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Exceptional working knowledge of designing and developing ETL frameworks
  • Deep understanding of Informatica and PowerCenter
  • Strong SQL experience
  • Experience working in a large enterprise environment
  • Ability to work well within a team and with other developers
  • Strong critical thinking and communication skills
  • Strong analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Impeccable time management and prioritizing skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Master’s degree
  • 8+ years related experience
  • Cloud-hosted server experience
  • Experience with stakeholder management
  • Strong presentation skills
  • Experience in the agile environment

Typical work environment

ETL developers will generally work in an office as a part of a team. Typically, this job can only be done in-office due to the number of interactions between teammates, department heads, other developers, and stakeholders necessary. That being said, it may be possible for this job to be done remotely. 

This job may require light or significant travel, depending on employer needs. The number of meetings and presentations required, and the size of the company will dictate these needs.

Typical hours

The standard workweek for an ETL developer will be between 40-60 hours per week. Some weeks will be heavier to meet deadlines or complete special projects, while others are slower during down periods. Companies extending offers of overtime and on-call needs make this average shift higher in hours worked, and an employer with predictable intervals of work, or excellent forecasting may move closer to 40 hours or less.

Available certifications

As ETL developers work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • Oracle Certified Associate. OCA Certification combines the training, testing, and experience to develop a strong foundation for Oracle9i techniques. Completion of exam required for accreditation.
  • IBM Certified Solution Developer. This certification demonstrates efficient and scalable DataStorage development. After the completion of the exam, you’ll prove you’re capable of configuring scalable parallel environments in multiple configurations.
  • Teradata 14 Certified Master. This certification demonstrates you’ve mastered the knowledge and skills necessary to define, retrieve, manipulate, and transform data within SQL using ANSI standard and Teradata extensions.

Career path

The first step companies look for in the hiring process is the completion of a degree. Gaining at least a Bachelor’s degree, (preferably in a computer science or related field), will go a long way in demonstrating your proficiency as a candidate.

After completing a degree, obtaining advanced computer knowledge, database architecture experience, and data profiling, virtualizing, and warehousing is a great next step.

Either by way of certification or on-the-job training, as you deepen your understanding of these skills and gather more, you’ll become a more desirable candidate.

Further, accruing time management, project management, organizational, and communication skills on top of technical training and applicable hard skills, you’ll be the most competitive candidate in the field.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1256

2020 Employment1,847,900
Projected Employment in 20302,257,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 22% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift409,500 increase

Society and the economy have transitioned to a massive digital world, everything from social media to banks, commercial enterprises, and industries all require vast amounts of data to exist. In order to keep this data safe and functional, there will always be a need for experts to allocate, maintain, and deliver methods faster and better with new technology and demand. 

As long as there’s a digital world, there will be the need for data wranglers to handle the ever-changing landscape to make it usable. That’s why you’ll continue to see this job increase in demand for the time being.