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How to Hire a Power BI Developer

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Key Takeaways

1. Microsoft’s Power BI suite of software and tools has emerged as a data analytics frontrunner, allowing users to add engaging and interactive data visualization and analysis to their reporting. Power BI primarily focuses on business intelligence, enabling employees and teams to easily aggregate, manage and analyze data drawn from sources ranging from basic Excel spreadsheets to full corporate databases, whether cloud-based or stored on-site.

2. A Power BI developer is someone who has fuller proficiency in Power BI and can apply its tools and capabilities to deeper and more complex analyses than non-specialist staff, or use the platform to create custom applications for particular business needs. They can also support their wider colleagues in using Power BI intelligently and advise business leaders on getting the most out of the suite.

3. To add greatest value across a company, Power BI developers must have strong specialist competence in this package, along with good communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and clients. These characteristics should enable them to add distinct value to analytical projects in their own right while also spreading expertise effectively within an organization.

4. Hiring technical expert employees such as Power BI developers can be a challenge for HR and business leaders who may not themselves be experts in this area and may not be sure where to cast their recruitment net. Recruiting globally and/or remotely can widen the available talent pool but companies must have the right remote working tools and compliance systems in place to integrate non-local staff.

5. To effectively reach and sift the strongest potential candidates while maintaining full compliance, firms may turn to recruitment agencies or Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) when hiring Power BI developers or comparable specialist staff (e.g. software engineers).

Power BI is a suite of Microsoft business intelligence tools and applications which can enhance the impact and insights of a company’s reporting. While suitable for use by non-expert staff, an expert Power BI developer will have a stronger grasp of the suite’s capabilities and could add significant additional value. HR and business leaders should assess both technical and “soft” skills before hiring a Power BI developer candidate.

Across all sectors and countries, business intelligence is vital for business success. If your company is looking to get more out of Power BI, then you may want to hire a Power BI developer. This article tells you more about this role and the benefits it can bring, along with some good practice guidance to support recruitment of Power BI developers.

What is a Power BI developer?

Power BI can be used for a range of purposes across different roles and responsibilities in a company. For example, it might be used by a sales department to track sales numbers and trends. At the same time, the marketing department could apply Power BI tools to improve understanding of customer engagement data. A company board could draw on Power BI to map out scenarios informing future strategy and planning.

A Power BI developer is a specialist in using the full range of tools and applications in the Microsoft Power BI suite, as well as developing custom applications tailored to particular business needs.

What are the benefits of hiring a Power BI developer?

While Power BI is built on the foundation of Microsoft Excel and designed to be accessible to non-specialist users, it is significantly more powerful than Excel or other spreadsheet-based tools and allows for the input and analysis of huge amounts of data.

The majority of Excel-users in a company should be able to use Power BI to enhance their analysis, add more visual representations and generally make their reporting more interactive. However, non-specialist users are unlikely to have knowledge across all Power BI capabilities and there are some significant advantages to hiring your own Power BI developer, including:

Fuller use

Business intelligence is key to company success and Power BI is an effective means of tapping into this resource. A Power BI developer can help to take a company’s performance to the next level, using their own advanced knowledge to generate deeper analysis, more impactful graphic illustrations and data insights which make a real difference to strategy and agenda setting.

Production of specialized applications

Power BI developers can create applications which address particular business needs or answer specific questions of interest to a company’s board.

Provision of in-house Power BI guidance and learning

Choose the right candidate and your Power BI developer should be able to boost the Power BI knowledge and competence of other colleagues, up-skilling the workforce across the business.

Greater credibility with clients

the advanced knowledge of an in-house Power BI developer can be an asset in communicating with clients and powerfully demonstrating the progress and potential of projects in accessible terms.

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How to hire a Power BI Developer in five steps

Hiring the right Power BI developer for a business is not an instant task. To ensure that their company recruits the best possible candidate, hiring managers should go through at least five steps:

Preparation and planning

This is an important stage in the recruitment process and should not be skipped or glanced over. Preliminary research should already have established the business need for a Power BI developer.

Further more targeted research and consultation with internal or external experts may be needed if the hiring manager is unfamiliar with Power BI itself or developer recruitment. Before they can draw up a meaningful job description and launch an advertising campaign, they must understand the broad scope of the role, its location and links within the company, and how it will add value to the company’s objectives through Power BI.

Drafting the job description and person specification

To support job adverts and interviews, the hiring manager needs to clearly set out the key duties and responsibilities of the job in the context of business needs. They should also identify the competences, skills and experience required from a jobholder in order to deliver these duties and responsibilities.

The size and nature of the business could impact the detail of job and person specifications. For example, larger, more data-intensive organizations might require Power BI developers with strengths in applying tools such as the Microsoft BI stacks Power Pivot, SSRS, SSIS or SSAS.

NB It’s important that specialist knowledge and skills are correctly identified and described at this stage to ensure good quality hires further down the line. Internal or external experts in Power BI should be consulted again if necessary.

Setting wider recruitment parameters

With Power BI developers and other specialist roles for which the candidate pool is smaller than generalist roles, there is even more reason to consider tapping into the Open Talent Economy.

Hiring managers should consider whether the job needs to be based on-site, could be done remotely, or is aligned with some hybrid solution or distributed workforce model already in place at their company.

Geography is also an important parameter to explore and set at this stage. Hiring managers should look at whether the role needs to be filled locally or whether recruitment might benefit from the larger pool of candidates available when broadening recruitment to national, regional or international level.

NB When considering roles that are fully remote and/or based overseas, relevant tax and employment law matters should also be taken into account to ensure that the company remains fully compliant. Some companies will have their own internal legal and HR functions able to advise in this area while others might turn to PEOs for guidance.

The recruitment campaign

Advertising should be strategic, with the job listed on sites or in publications where Power BI developers are likely to have presence and interest. The exact features of a successful recruitment campaign will vary according to the country, sector and seniority of the position. If the hiring manager is unfamiliar with Power BI developer recruitment, they should again consult experts before launching the recruitment, or outsource it to a recruitment agency or PEO if necessary.

When sifting applications, hiring managers should follow usual good practice in selecting long-lists, shortlists and interviewees based on the best fit against requirements in the job specification.

Interviewing and assessing Power BI developers

The recruitment process for a Power BI developer should include one or more practical tests of their Power BI capabilities and at least one interview which will allow exploration of communication and social skills, as well as past work experience. Ideally, a recruitment panel will include at least one member with expertise in Power BI who is able to provide critical thinking on the candidates’ Power BI knowledge and competence.

If recruitment has been outsourced, the hiring manager should check that Power BI experts are part of the external recruitment team at all appropriate points in the process.

Hire a Power BI developer — with Horizons

Horizons has the knowledge and experience you can rely on to find the right Power BI developer or other software expert staff for your business, anywhere in the world. Get in touch today to find out how we could help and receive a tailored quote.

Frequently asked questions

While Power BI is designed to be easy to use by non-expert staff, a Power BI developer can help generate greater insight and impact from Power BI reporting. They can also up-skill and support less expert staff, advise senior colleagues on Power BI capabilities, and create custom applications where needed.

The hourly rate for a Power BI developer can vary significantly according to location, experience and additional skills. In 2022, looking across a range of currently advertised roles and Power BI developer freelance services online, employers can expect to pay roughly between $20 and $125 per hour.

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