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November 27, 2019

Who is an ETL Developer? Roles and Responsibilities


Artur Haponik

CEO & Co-Founder

Reading time:

9 minutes

The abbreviation ETL stands for Extract, Transform, and Load. It’s a method of moving data from various sources into a data warehouse. It is one of the crucial elements of business intelligence. An ETL developer is an IT specialist who designs data storage systems. What are the ETL developer roles and responsibilities? What does an ETL developer exactly do? In this article, we focus on the ETL developer job description and see how to become one.

But first, let’s talk about ETL itself. It’s a data-related, three-stage process. In general, it is about transferring data from a source to a target database. During this process, ETL developers first EXTRACT data from different RDBMS source systems (Relational Database Management System–a software system used to maintain a digital database based on a relational model). Then they TRANSFORM that data and finally LOAD it into a given data warehouse system. How exactly does it happen? We have to take a closer look at this process.

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Data is being extracted from the source system into the staging area. These source systems can be variegated–text files, SQL servers, ERP, spreadsheets, or data from vendors. The staging area allows validating extracted data before it moves into the warehouse[1].


The previously extracted data needs to be cleansed, mapped, and transformed. All this happens in the second stage. Many validations happen during this stage, and these are filtering, cleaning, standardization, data flow validation, data threshold validation, transposing rows and columns, and many more.


In the last stage, data is loaded into the target warehouse database. That’s challenging because a massive volume of data needs to be loaded in a relatively short period. Recover mechanisms and load verifications are applied before the entire process starts, to ensure that everything happens smoothly.
As you can see, it’s far more complicated than just copying-and-pasting, and the whole process needs to be continuously supervised and secured. And this is how we get to the part where the ETL developer comes in.

ETL developer working, computer, man, woman, office

What does an ETL developer do–job description

An ETL Developer is an IT specialist who designs data storage systems, works to fill them with data and supervises a process of loading big data into a data warehousing software. What’s more, it’s ETL developer who’s responsible for testing its performance and troubleshooting it before it goes live. They usually work as a part of the business intelligence team. This job is complementary with such professions as business intelligence analysts, big data analysts, data scientists, and others.

A typical ETL developer job advertisement includes such roles and responsibilities as

  • Determines data storage needs.
  • Uses different data warehousing concepts to build a data warehouse for internal departments of the organization.
  • Creates and enhances data solutions enabling seamless delivery of data and is responsible for collecting, parsing, managing and analyzing large sets of data.
  • Leads the design of the logical data model and implements the physical database structure and constructs and implements operational data stores and data marts.
  • Designs develop, automates, and support complex applications to extract, transform, and load data.
  • Ensures data quality.
  • Develops logical and physical data flow models for ETL applications.
  • Translates data access, transformation, and movement requirements into functional requirements and mapping designs.

As you can see, their work is strictly related to coding and data management. That’s why this profession requires many analytical skills.

ETL Developer skills and qualifications

To become an ETL developer, you have to display many analytical skills and personal qualifications. As[2] shows, employers are looking for candidates with these core skills.

ETL Developer skills and qualifications

Software knowledge

  • PL/SQL Server development experience
  • NoSQL databases experience
  • Dimensional modeling experience
  • Hadoop Components experience, especially HDFS, Spark, Hbase, Hive, Sqoop
  • OLAP, SSAS and MDX experience
  • Java and/or .NET experience
  • ETL tools experience, such as SSIS
  • Modeling tools experience, such as Toad Data Modeller, Erwin, and Embarcadero

An ETL developer should have at least two years of experience in coding in at least one programming language. It is also mandatory to have experience in using ETL tools and even in information relocation and data amalgamation. Personal qualifications and education are also vital. They are as below.


The ETL developers usually have a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. All developers also need skills related to the industry in which they are going to work. For instance, those working in a bank should have knowledge of finance so that they can understand a bank’s computing needs and construct data warehousing solutions that match those needs.

Additional BI/ETL training and certifications are a huge asset to the potential employer. For instance, you can try to get a Microsoft Certified Professional certificate in MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development. You can also obtain Informatica certification. Informatica is one of the leading big data environments, and knowledge of this software will be noticeably beneficial to your potential employer.

Personal qualifications

  • Experience interfacing with business users and understanding their requirements
  • Ability to learn and implement new and different techniques
  • Project Management skills
  • Strong teamwork skills
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills

As an ETL developer, you have to be ready to work with and learn many new solutions and technical environments. If you are a constant learner with strong coding and analytical background, this is, probably, a job for you. A good set of communication skills will also be helpful. To become a developer, you have to be a detail-oriented person. Developers often work on many parts of an application or system at the same time and have to, therefore, be able to concentrate and pay attention to detail.

Where can you work as an ETL developer?

The short answer? In every company that works with big data. ETL is an inseparable part of big data management and business intelligence. ETL developers are sometimes employed by a single company, or they may work as an independent consultant to multiple organizations. You can look for employment in AI/BI consulting companies, such as Addepto. We are always keen to get acquainted with the prospective candidates willing to work in a BI environment.

When we are writing this article, there are around 600 jobs in the USA listed on for the “ETL developer” phrase. These job ads derive mostly from the big IT/consulting companies, such as Avani Technology Solutions, CGI Group, Wells Fargo, Capgemini or JP Morgan Chase. Almost 80% of these ads are for full-time work; around 18% is for the contract. Single job openings are part-time, temporary and internships.

Where can you work as an ETL developer?

How much does ETL developer earn?

According to[3], on average, an ETL Developer salary in the United States is $73,747 as of October 30, 2019. The salary range typically falls between $62,265 and $94,127. Hourly rate range is between $30 and $45. This statement is coherent with, where most job ads estimate salary for $85,000+. If you start as a junior ETL developer, your salary will be a bit lower, around $67,700. Freelancermap[4] indicates that top ETL developers can earn up to $127,000.

How to become an ETL developer?

How to become an ETL developer if you have no previous experience? It will be challenging, and, if you have no coding experience, probably impossible even. Many developers started as computer programmers, and then, they were given more responsibility as they gained experience. Eventually, they become ETL developers. So, if you had nothing to do with coding in the past, you should begin with learning to program.

However, you have several options to become an ETL developer. The first option is, to begin with, the internships. Send your resume to AI/BI consulting companies. There still is a shortage of talented candidates. Many AI companies are willing to teach the profession. Don’t wait for the job ad to be placed on a website. Send your applications proactively, and who knows? Maybe your resume will attract the recruiter’s attention. Of course, you have to display your previous coding experience and a will to work as an ETL developer.

The second option is to invest in your knowledge. Try taking part in some of the ETL courses and trainings. For instance, you can find many practical ETL courses on for very reasonable money. They will broaden your knowledge and make you well prepared for future employment. You could also work on your coding and data management experience. This is also essential to work as an ETL developer. Try to start with a similar position, just get to work with data, and then specialize in the ETL sector.

Well-developed skills are required to become a promising ETL Developer just like the soft skills you need have for the corporate world. Being a good employee at your workforce is not easy and so you will need to develop some skills to be successful at the workforce.

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Do you need an ETL developer?

We encourage companies to outsource ETL developers and all the business intelligence workforce. It is the fastest and time-saving solution. The AI consulting company will provide you with the experienced ETL developers and supervise their work. It is the best option for you, especially at the beginning of your adventure with big data or business intelligence. Your company gets ready to work a team of specialists with a vast multidisciplinary experience. Let’s chat! We will tell you a bit more about our work and the role of ETL developer in your company and, together, we will work out the best solution for you.

Or possibly you are a student, or you just want to become an ETL developer? We are always keen to see your resume! Who knows, perhaps you will attract our attention, and we will invite you for an internship? This is an excellent opportunity to start a data-related career, gain some hands-on experience, taste the real ETL work and acquire many useful skills. The best interns stay with us and become rightful employees of Addepto. See our career section.


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