Advice for the BI ‘Noob’

You may be asking yourself: What is a universe? What is the difference between a measure and a dimension? How do I write a query in SQL? How do I create a report in Webi? How do I develop visualizations in Lumira? What have I gotten myself into?

BREATHE!… In… and out… In, two, three, out, two, three. Good. Now then, everyone has been where you are right now. When I first started as an intern in BI everyone basically sounded like they where speaking Greek, i.e. “nerd”. I felt intimidated by the terminology and the BI tools. I felt like I was never going to catch on, even became frustrated and angry when I was having issues with a BI tool. As with any other job, there is a lot to learn, but relax, there are great sources out there for help.

The Internet:

Google is your friend. Very few people like to admit it, but no one knows everything. The trick to Google is knowing what to search for. If at first you do not succeed at finding the information, try rephrasing the search. If you have a question or an issue, more than likely, someone else has too. “The truth is out there,” for all the X-Files fans, you just need to know where to look. The following web sites have proven useful in my time of need:

YouTube – – There are a surprising amount of videos related to Business Intelligence and BI Tools;

SQL Sites – – Examples of SQL statements; – More examples of SQL statements as well as other useful information;

Blogs – – A selfish plug… Blogs can be very good sources of information;

SAP – – A good source for links to training videos for SAP products.

Your Peers:

As I stated before, everyone has been where you are. No one is going to look down on you for asking a question. I have had the fortune of being able to work for a wonderful company made up of a lot of brilliant people. My co-workers have always been willing to lend a helping hand by offering guidance. I had a revelation when I reached out to my peers; they didn’t know it all either. They often directed me to someone else who had experience in the issues or tools that were giving me trouble. This led me to one of the best feelings I have had while doing BI thus far: I became one of the people sought for my experience. I realized that everyone has a niche of BI that they excel at; you will find yours.

Knowledge of the BI tools and terminology will come. Stick with it. Take every opportunity to learn as much as you can. You too will be speaking “nerd” in no time. Also, don’t worry if you screw up. I did. Learn from your mistakes and move on. This is a challenging and rewarding career. It is worth the struggle.

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