Hard data, soft skills: BI Engineering post up for grabs

Hard data, soft skills: BI Engineering post up for grabs

Spreadshirt’s Sara-Lena, a caring member of our HR team, has called our parting BI engineer Ben out on what it takes to fill his boots. If you’re a BI Engineer looking for a new challenge, here is a role that may tickle your interest. Since Ben is vacating his position, we’ve asked him and his boss Patricia what exactly it is that makes this job so exciting and challenging.

Sara: Ben, you worked at Spreadshirt for over 3 years, what was the challenge?

Ben: When I started working for the data warehouse, the project was still young. My work mostly involved integrating new data sources and enriching old ones. The process is still in place, but our live platform is currently transitioning from a single monolithic entity to multiple distributed micro services. This means we can’t get all our data from a single place anymore and have to adapt our infrastructure accordingly. I have spent a lot of time researching and prototyping the best way to handle this.

Sara: Now that Ben is looking for new adventures, who are the remaining team members?

Patricia: There’s Anna, our PO who takes care of prioritization, manages stakeholders and enables us to work efficiently. Johannes is a working student who takes care of most of the visualizations that are requested to be distributed within the company, but he also takes care of ad-hoc data requests and assists wherever he can. Tony is a fulltime BI Engineer, responsible for complex ETL enhancements and for developing new features within other components we maintain. And then I’m in charge of technical questions and driving the further development of our infrastructure.

Sara: We’d like to think that working for Spreadshirt is quite something special – would you agree?

Ben: Absolutely. Spreadshirt cultivates a working environment that’s all about sharing and caring. Knowledge and skills are shared upon request, company performance is transparent across all levels, working hours are flexible and colleagues are sociable during work, lunch or a party on the roof. And if you get rained on when commute to work, there’s always a spare T-shirt!

Sara: What are the three core skills the future BI Engineer should bring to the team?

Ben: Other than the specified skills mentioned in the job description:

1) At Spreadshirt we define business performance based on KPIs. The person should be able to understand a complex business model and be able to identify the root cause for a change.

2) The person should be able to identify sticking points in the team’s workflow and infrastructure and suggest solutions. Sometimes this means stepping out of your comfort zone and hacking together projects that may or may not work out!

3) The person should have experience in processing data in the cloud or be interested in learning about it proactively. In the next few years, the data warehouse as we know it will have to evolve to handle data from a distributed platform of mirco services.

Sara: Patricia, can you give us an insight into the main tasks the job brings with it?

Patricia: We as a team take care of the whole BI infrastructure at Spreadshirt. It starts with understanding the data sources and developing complex ETL jobs and ends with creating visualisations and reports to make the integrated data accessible to others. We are now entering the world of Big Data processing where conventional programming skills become more important, so having some experience in Java or Python might help.

Sara: What’s it like to start working for Spreadshirt – do you remember your first day at work?

Ben: Right off the bat, I was tasked with integrating telephone and email data from our customer service department. The goal was to calculate and provide more transparency on our service level. For example how long customers wait before the phone call or email is answered. With support from our operations controller and the rest of the BI team, the learning curve was a steep one!

Sara: Does Spreadshirt and the team you work in offer you an opportunity to develop skills?

Patricia: There’s always a huge range of different topics we need to work on, which offers the possibility to explore things you haven’t done before. We also have regular “Innovation & Hacking Days” within the IT Department where you are able to prototype stuff with technologies we are interested in. Very often this is a starting point for components used in production later on. What’s more, you are in a position to decide on technologies and tools within the team which helps broaden your mind.

Sounds like a job you’d be interested in? You find the job description here

We look forward to your application at

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