How to Become an MSBI Developer? [Updated]

Business success in this age of big data is dependent on accurate information for strategic decision-making. Data has become such an important commodity that needs to be collected, analyzed, and presented effectively in an actionable manner and continuously at that, for businesses to draw insight out of it. Microsoft Business Intelligence (MSBI) tools provide business solutions by mining and processing volumes of data collected by organizations fast and easily. Still, for the business to realize the full benefits of these tools, it should be ready to engage professionals who have undergone the necessary training, for instance, PowerBI training and certification.

What is Business Intelligence?

While any business can collect data and indeed they do this every day, it takes a mastery of Business Intelligence (BI) tools to turn this data into useful information that the business can take advantage of to remain competitive. Business intelligence refers to the practices, applications, and techniques used to extract valuable insight, patterns, and trends from large sets of industry data and present it in an actionable format. BI is critical to any organization that seeks to create new business opportunities, increase its profitability, and enhance growth from the data it collects.

BI analyzes real-time data and presents the information visually for users to easily draw patterns, trends, and other insights for the business. For this reason, the best BI tools come with powerful visualization capabilities in addition to the ability to verify data, process reports, and help transform meaningless statistics into concrete business operations.

The MSBI Suite:

Microsoft Business Intelligence (MSBI) suite is a collection of tools used for business intelligence, data mining query, and data visualization to facilitate informed decision-making in business. MSBI tools are easy to use, fast, dynamic, and versatile. However, the greatest advantage that they offer is the ability to be used not only by data specialists but also by all other employees in the organization. MSBI tools are self-service oriented and as such can be operated by anyone without necessarily possessing technical data knowledge.

MSBI tools are divided into three categories:

  1. SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) – Integration tool
  2. SSAS (SQL Server Analytical Services) -Analysis tool
  3. SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) – Reporting tool

MSBI users benefit from such features as:

  • Integrated scorecards and dashboards for easy access to data
  • Secure environment with no specialist requirements
  • Access to data by multiple users at the same time
  • The ability of the system to extract outputs quickly through search engines regardless of how large the data set is.
  • Data can be analyzed using various methods and tools

What Is The MSBI Developer?

An MSBI developer is a professional charged with the responsibility of designing, developing, and managing BI solutions. As such he needs to be adept at data analysis and have knowledge of collecting, processing, and presenting data using MSBI and other tools. He/she should have practical knowledge of tools like:

  • SQL Server Integration Service (SSIS) tool for ETL analysis
  • SQL Server Analysis Service (SSAS) for the analysis of information spread across databases.
  • The SQL Server Reporting Service (SSRS) for the creation and deployment of reports on the webserver.
  • Power SQL
  • SQL

MSBI Developer Roles And Responsibilities:

The roles and responsibilities of a developer vary depending on the tools that he/she has competency in and on the organization that employs him. However, the following roles are common among most MSBI developers.

  • Designing, developing, and managing BI solutions
  • Craft and execute SQL queries on data using MSBI tools as and when needed
  • Draw and customize different reports, analyses, and visualizations using MSBI tools for projects
  • Collection of data from various sources, storage in the data warehouse, and designing database solutions like OLAP cubes
  • Manage, and closely monitor MSBI tools, inspecting them for bugs and debugging them where necessary to improve their performance
  • Perform unit testing and troubleshooting
  • Collaborate both with clients and other team members in designing powerful BI solutions and integrating them with other systems
  • Preparing technical documents and reports using SSRS and securing them

How to Become An MSBI Developer?

If you are considering pursuing a career as an MSBI developer, there is no better time than now. Business intelligence and big data analytics have become indispensable in running profitable businesses. Here are a few steps to help you become an MSBI developer. 

Formal Qualifications:

A bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree in Data science, computer science, computer engineering, or a qualification in any other related discipline is not really a prerequisite but will give you an added advantage as you launch your career.

Required Skills For MSBI Developers:

A foundation in software development and familiarity with best practices is critical. However, other technical skills relating to business intelligence and database management cannot be overlooked. Finally because one will be part of a team, some soft skills will come in handy.

Technical Skills 

  • Database skills including software development and testing, data mining, data warehouse design, data modelling and knowledge of database management systems like OLAP and ETL frameworks
  • Knowledge of BI tools and technologies like Oracle BI
  • Working knowledge of MSBI tools like SQL queries, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), Power BI, and SQL Server Analysis Service SSAS
  • Knowledge of data security

Other Skills:

  • Data analysis
  • Basic programming knowledge
  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills
  • Good communication and organizational skills

MSBI Certifications:

It is a fact that the industry prefers candidates who possess certifications and experience. However, certifications can speak loads for you where experience is lacking because you will have built job-specific skills that recruiters need.

As an MSBI developer in the making, you could consider a general certification like MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) which will equip you with knowledge of BI technologies, solutions, and best practices. However, to demonstrate your specific skills in MSBI, you need a very specific certification. The Power BI Certification is the best option for developers who need to hone and validate their skills in designing BI solutions to solve business problems including the development of dashboards and reports. 


Obtaining a certification is always a good decision. However, it is your onus to work on the prerequisites around the certification to have an easier grasp during learning and ultimately flatten the learning curve. For instance, familiarizing yourself with BI concepts, and acquiring programming, database management, and analytical skills will give you a good head start in your MSBI developer career path.

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