As more business executives discover the potential value of proper data analysis, the demand for specialists with expertise in data collection, storage, processing, and structuring will grow exponentially. Among the experts who’ll benefit immensely from this trend are ETL developers.
In today’s article, we’ll focus on the role of ETL developers and explain why your business needs them. We’ll also give an overview of the ETL process, compare ETL vs. ELT, outline key qualifications of competent ETL developers, and discuss why you should hire these professionals from Latin America through DevEngine.
An ETL developer is a software engineer who designs, deploys, and maintains data storage systems and pipelines for organizations. At its core, their job involves managing the Extraction, Loading, and Transportation of corporate data into different warehouses. As a result, they must have an in-depth understanding of their clients’ data needs and considerable experience in database designing, data manipulation, and programming.
Almost two decades ago, the renowned British data scientist and mathematician Clive Humby coined the phrase Data is the new oil. While the statement primarily referred to the increasing value of data, it also meant that, if unrefined, data cannot really be used. It was true then and is even truer today when the amount of data generated daily has risen to a whopping 328.77 million terabytes — forcing organizations to navigate vast data swamps before they can find any valuable insight.
ETL developers act as a bridge between the disorganized data from disparate sources and your company’s data storage systems and analytics platforms. They streamline data integration and establish coherent data environments by creating structures and formats to ensure your organization only collects and analyzes high-quality data. As data experts always say, garbage in, garbage out. By ensuring you only collect refined data, ETL developers can help you generate more accurate insights, understand your market better, identify opportunities ahead of your competitors, and make more informed decisions.
As databases gained popularity in the 1970s, industry specialists invented the ETL processes to turn structured and unstructured data from different sources into a consistent single source of truth (SSOT). At its core, the process involves Extracting raw data from various source systems, Transforming it into a unified format, and Loading it into the organization’s databases or data warehouses (DWHS)
This stage involves copying or collecting raw data from multiple sources and exporting it into a staging area. In the early days of ETP, businesses primarily extracted data from Relational Management Database Systems (RDMS) and Excel files as these were the main data sources back then. However, with the recent technological advancements and the emergence of SaaS apps, organizations can now extract valuable data from multiple apps simultaneously using APIs and other web-scraping tools. For instance, if you want to understand customer perceptions of a specific product line, you can easily create a Facebook poll and collect real-time reviews in a few clicks.
There are three primary extraction techniques:
The second step involves processing the collected data to transform it into a unified format. Raw data from different sources often come in varying shapes and sizes and may have several errors, such as missing parts, duplication, inaccuracy, and irrelevance. While some modern analytics systems can identify and automatically correct these errors, analyzing raw, unsolicited data might not give you the best of insights. Also, it’s often challenging to fit unprocessed data with discordant formats into one database.
The Transform stage typically involves the following processes:
The final stage entails loading processed data into target databases or warehouses. You can use SQL RDBMS, flat files like CSV and Excel spreadsheets, or Cloud platforms. For most companies, this process is automated and occurs during off-hours to prevent disrupting operations.
ETL and ELT (Extract, Load, Transfer) are pretty similar. The only difference is the order of operations. While ETL relies on temporary databases or in-memory data structures to hold and process extracted data before loading it into an analytic database, ELT involves adding raw data directly into target data stores.
In an ELT model, data is only processed when it’s needed for analysis. As a result, ELT is a better alternative when dealing with large volumes of unstructured data — it eliminates the need for processing before storage, allowing you to collect a lot of data within a short time. While the approach is still novel and experimental, it’s increasingly becoming popular, especially with the growing need for speed in the data analytics world.
Several people mistakenly think that ETL developers’ roles end immediately after they’ve extracted and loaded data into target data warehouses. While it’s true that data extraction, transformation, and loading are at the core of these specialists’ job descriptions, they actually handle much more than this.
Here’s a summary of the key roles and responsibilities of ETL developers:
The continuous increase in the amount of data generated daily has made it more essential for organizations to be extra careful with the quality of the data they use to derive business insights. That’s why it’s critical to build reliable ETL systems that can screen out “garbage” and only admit high-quality, consistent data. Besides helping you create and maintain such systems, ETL developers come with the following benefits:
Now that you understand who ETL developers are and their potential contributions to your business, below are a few factors to consider when hiring these professionals:
ETL developers are typically data engineers who specialize in handling data storage systems. Therefore, like the latter, they require a firm grasp of software engineering, data analytics, and computer science. At the bare minimum, these professionals should have at least a bachelor’s degree in these three fields or related programs.
Top degrees for ETL developers include:
Besides degrees, ETL developers also require certifications to demonstrate their expertise in specific concepts. Most certification programs have refresher courses, so they can show you that prospective candidates are familiar with the latest industry trends.
Here are a few common certifications for ETL developers:
The third qualification you should assess when vetting ETL Developers is their skill sets. While the requisite expertise varies from one project to another, the following skills apply to most ETL projects:
ETL developers are generally expert-level data specialists with considerable industry experience. While their salaries vary depending on their education and experience levels, you’ll typically spend more than you would for an entry or intermediate-level data engineer. For example, while an entry-level data engineer in the US earns about $98,037 per year, an ETL developer makes over $103235 annually.
So, is investing in ETL developers really worth the cost? The simple answer is — yes, it’s more than worth it.
We live in the information age where data is every organization’s most valuable asset. Unlike a couple of decades ago, investing in data collection and analysis is not a luxury — it’s a must-have for any business that wants to survive and grow. ETL developers play a crucial role in this process; they help you collect and analyze the most recent and accurate data to derive valuable insights. They can enable you to identify profitable market opportunities and leverage them ahead of your competitors, understand your target audience better, and make more accurate forecasts.
As the demand for ETL developers in Canada and the US grows beyond the available talent, more business owners in these regions are turning to Latin America as an alternative hiring destination. According to Statista, LATAM’s IT outsourcing market will record a steady annual growth rate of about 12.40% until 2028, cloaking $9.21 billion by the end of this year.
While several experts attribute the region’s new-found glory to the global shift in supply chains, the truth is that LATAM has also rightfully earned its top spot in the IT world. Here’s why:
The truth is that North America and Canada didn’t start outsourcing ETL developers from Latin yesterday. These regions have a strong nearshoring history. In fact, popular American tech giants like Google and IBM already have research and development centers in LATAM.
ETL is a practical field. Therefore, before hiring a developer, it’s crucial to thoroughly verify their skills and vet them through practical tests. Unless you’re a data specialist, you might not have the expertise necessary to conduct such in-depth assessments. Even if you do, you may not have the luxury of time to go back and forth with candidates.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go through all this hassle to get competent ETL developers from LATAM. When you enlist our services, we will handle everything and only ask for your input in approving our selected talent. We have an experienced team of senior data engineers and software developers who thoroughly vet all our talents to ensure they have the necessary subject matter expertise. A typical vetting process involves both theoretical and practical assessments covering technical skills, educational background and certifications, and cultural fit.
To give every client unwavering attention, we only work with a few organizations at a time. Also, when we recommend an ETL developer, they’ll work exclusively with your company to deliver personalized solutions for your unique data storage needs. The best part is that while working with us, you don’t have to worry about overpricing or hidden charges — all our service bills are quoted upfront.
Are you ready to tap LATAM’s vast potential? Make a smart business choice — hire competent ETL developers from the region with DevEngine. Chat with Us today and we’ll be more than glad to help you out.