What is an ETL Developer?

An ETL Developer is an IT specialist who designs data storage systems for companies, and works to fill that system with the data that needs to be stored. ETL stands for “extract, transform, load,” which is the process of loading business data into a data warehousing environment, testing it for performance, and troubleshooting it before it goes live. ETL Developers must be experts at taking a big-picture view of a company’s data situation to come up with comprehensive data storage solutions.

ETL Developers generally work as part of a team. They are sometimes employed by a single company. Or, they may act as consultants to multiple organizations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics demand for Database Administrators, which includes ETL Developers, is expected to increase 11 percent through 2024. This growth will be driven by the increased data needs of companies, which will also increase the need for ETL Developers.

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ETL Developer Duties and Responsibilities

While designing data storage solutions for organizations and overseeing the loading of data into the systems, ETL developers have a wide range of duties and tasks that they are responsible for. Below is a list of the primary duties of an ETL Developer, as found in current ETL Developer job listings.

Determine Data Storage Needs

The first task of the ETL Developer is to figure out the exact storage needs of the company. They will need to have clear picture of the current data situation, and be able to analyze different options to figure out the best fit.

Design and Create a Data Warehouse

Based on the determined needs, the ETL Developer then designs a data warehousing system that meets the specific business needs, and works with a development team to build the warehouse.

Extract, Transformation and Load of data

Once the warehousing system is developed, the ETL Developer extracts the necessary data and transfers it to the new system.

Test and Troubleshoot

After the system is up and running, the ETL Developer must test their designs to ensure the system runs smoothly. They fix any problems that may pop up.

ETL Developer Skills

While An ETL Developer should certainly have unique technical skills, they should also have an analytical mind, to take a big-picture view of a company’s data situation and determine the database needs. Solid communication skills are also very important in this job, to be able to understand the company’s needs and communicate any problems. ETL Developers must also be able to work well in a team environment and lead a team of their own. Below are some other skills that an ETL Developer should have.

Core skills Based on ETL Developer job listings we looked at, employers are looking for candidates with these core skills. Any prospective ETL Developer should have a strong proficiency in these core skills before applying for the job.,

  • PL/SQL Oracle development experience
  • Hands-on experience with NoSQL databases

Advanced skills There are other skills that hiring managers would like an ideal candidate to have. These are usually listed as preferred skills, and having them will improve your chances of landing an ETL Developer job.

  • Experience with Hadoop Components – HDFS, Spark, Hbase, Hive, Sqoop
  • Experience with OLAP, SSAS and MDX
  • Java and/or .NET experience

Tools of the trade The job of an ETL Developer is very technical, and requires the use of many specialized tools to get the job done. Make sure you know how to use the following tools if you are looking to apply for ETL Developer jobs.

  • Relational databases (SQL Server)
  • ETL tool sets, such as SSIS
  • Modeling tools such as Toad Data Modeler, Erwin and Embarcadero
  • .Net languages and Business Objects BI
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ETL Developer Salary

BLS does not track salaries for ETL Developers, but it does for the closely related job of Database Administrators. The median annual wage for Database Administrators is $81,710, but the lowest 10 percent earn less than $45,460, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $127,080. Database Administrators in New Jersey are the best paid, making a median annual salary of more than $105,000 a year. District of Columbia and Colorado are also great places to work as a Database Administrator, with annual median salaries of more than $103,000 and $96,000, respectively.

ETL Developer Resources

We want you to have access to all the information you need about the job, duties and career path of an ETL Developer. That is why we curated this list of links to blogs, industry groups, and insightful books that will help you discover more about becoming an ETL Developer.

On the Web
Ode to Code

Ode to Code is a simple but incredibly useful blog with tons of info for developers, covering a widerange of relevant topics.

Percona MySQL Performance Blog

This great blog is home to hundreds of useful MySQL articles and covers other useful subjects for ETL Developers.

Industry Groups
Association for Computing Machinery

ACM works to advance computing as a science and profession, with publications, conferences and education opportunities.

Computing Research Association

CRA is a good place to come for job listings and to keep up with industry developments.

ETL Developer Books
The Data Warehouse Workshop: Providing Practical Experience to the Aspiring ETL Developer

This book is intended to help the aspiring Data Warehouse (ETL) developer get handson experience building and maintaining warehouses.

The Data Warehouse Toolkit: The Definitive Guide to Dimensional Modeling

This book is a complete library of dimensional modeling techniques, with important tools for an ETL Developer to be familiar with.

Database Systems: Introduction to Databases and Data Warehouses

This is a great introduction into the various warehouse systems that an ETL Developer can design and use to meet business needs.

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