Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash
Lately, I am often asked by this question from my LinkedIn connections. So I decided to share what I know based on my three years of BIE experience in Amazon.
In general, as a BIE, you are dealing with data. You identify data, analyze data and deliver data-driven insights. To be more specific, here are the four types of work a BIE most likely does in Amazon:
- Weekly Business Review (WBR). It is a weekly meeting to walk through the key metrics with the leaders in the team. As a BIE, you design the report, develop the automation and deliver the report every week. You may also apply your statistic knowledge to highlight the trend anomaly and conduct deep-dives to explain the main drivers behind a trend. While entry-level BIE is likely tasked to report on a well-defined metric, senior-level BIE is often expected to define and instrument new metrics. Beside weekly business review, you are also very likely to support other calendared business reviews: monthly, quarterly & annually.
- Data Democratization. In Amazon, you hardly see a decision made without data. As a BIE, you are considered an expert to translate data into meaningful insights to support decision making. For instance, a product manager may determine the launch readiness of a product/feature based on your data. As an effective BIE, you don?t want to just work on ad-hoc data requests. You want to ask yourself if you can develop a solution that enables people to self-serve. The solution might be scheduled ETLs, automated dashboards, query templates, script package, training sessions, etc. The goal is to empower your org to get data as effortlessly as possible. During the time working in Amazon, I?ve developed a mantra at work ?my deliverable is not simply fish, but fishing?.
- Data Engineering. In Amazon, teams are running separately and so does data. More than often, you will work on a project that requires moving data from one database (i.e. AWS redshift)to another. Some basic data pipeline knowledge will help you to move faster.
- Applied statistics and data modeling. This is an overlap area between BIE and Data Scientist. Not every BIE role indexes heavily toward data science work. But if you can apply your data science knowledge to solve business problems besides your BI duties, you easily stand out. In front of massive data, the analytical skills you have are ?the more, the merrier? and will certainly help advance your career.
As you can tell, BIE is a cross-functional role. That?s also a reason I like this role a lot. This role often has the chance to work with business leaders, product managers, data engineers & data scientists.
I hope it provides some useful info if you are considering the BIE role in Amazon. Good luck with the job hunting, everyone!
Lastly, I just want to share the quote from Theodor Seuss Geisel which Jeff Bezos shared in the 2019 annual letter.
?When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.?