Tips for Data Warehousing Consultants
Most information on this website regarding data warehousing is oriented primarily toward the user community and how the people in it might find and retain consultants for their data warehousing projects. If you’re a data warehousing consultant, though, here are some tidbits of advice:
Stay on top of all the changes taking place in the field of data warehousing. Have you heard of hybrid OLAP? Vertical databases? What are your thoughts about data mining? Is it for real? What are the new products in the middleware game for federating data?
Although you never know everything that goes on in this or any other technology area, you have to avoid getting caught by surprise during an interview or business development session if you’re asked your opinion about a new product or architectural trend.
Remember that it’s not only technology skills that make a successful data warehousing consultant, but also business skills. Although the industry-expert approach to data warehousing is not always the best implementation, you must have a core knowledge about business to be able to ask the right questions during the scope process or to create, for example, a definition for a sales-and-marketing fact table.
Be flexible. Be able to work as a hands-on technologist (performing source systems analysis or data modeling, for example), a data warehousing architect or advice-oriented consultant, a project manager, or other types of roles.
This flexibility helps you stay billable (whether you’re independent or working for a consulting company) and generally helps make you a better consultant by giving you a broader perspective of both data warehousing and the consulting profession than if you continually play the same role in one engagement after another.