Most Important Data Roles for Start-ups and Who to Hire First

Angelika Seböková
September 1, 2021 | 7 min read
There is no doubt that start-ups understand the importance of data. Most of them collect, analyze, and interpret data as their core business model. The majority, however, divides data among individual teams, which usually provides a disjointed approach to where the data is stored, how it is organized, and how it is managed. Not to mention, that these practices are often rather insufficient without having the right data experts on board who would understand the topic deeply and advance the way the company deals with data to a completely new level.

How to use data for your business?

Think of data management holistically. A unified approach leads not only to a higher efficiency and business growth but will also save you a lot of time and eventually, money. Which position to begin with depends on your strategy and individual needs. In all cases you will need experts responsible for information technology (IT), data strategy, analytics, project management, and reporting. And also, most likely, experts that can investigate your data and decide what can be improved and understand the technologies that are required.

First, you will get an end-to-end understanding of the data flow in your company. And second, you can focus on what matters the most – to understand your customers’ behavior and needs better, to improve your product or services, to reduce costs, or generate more revenue. Data experts will provide you with information and insights that will help you make informed decisions based on real facts.

Which role(s) to have on board first?

Prioritize what you want to achieve, what are your needs and expectations, and align them with your hiring strategy. Let’s talk about the most important data roles and how they can help your business:

1. Solution Architect

The Solution Architect is responsible for designing, describing, and engineering the solution for a particular business problem. Many companies hire Solution Architects when they wish to transform their processes to meet new business requirements, lead the overall technical vision for a specific solution, and align the business with technology. Prerequisites for the role are a deep understanding of all parts of the business model and a knowledge of all operating systems including the application architecture. Only then can a Solution Architect succeed and deliver a solution that fits the environment best, meeting the requirements of all stakeholders.

2. Data Analyst

The Data Analyst helps your company to make informed business decisions. By combining disciplines such as mathematics, statistics, and/or computer programming. Data Analysts learn and describe the current state and, based on findings, provides you with facts and insights. At the same time, they will be improving a data management process and continuously supporting the decision-making efforts.

3. ETL Developer

An ETL Developer is a specific type of software engineer that seeks to implement technical solutions to be able to manage the Extract, Transform, and Load processes. As data in their raw formats often cannot be used, ETL processes are crucial when moving information from their source and transforming it into processes that can be used by people or machines. Simply put, you need a pipeline and the ETL Developer will build you one, decide how to gain data, extract it, make it useable for various users, and then store it. Depending on the scope of the system the ETL Developer collaborates with other team members to understand the business requirements or user needs.

4. BI Consultant

The role of a BI Consultant might seem similar to the role of Data Analyst. While both use similar techniques and approaches, and in some companies even represent the same role, BI Consultants tend to be more high-level experts. From our experience, they need to have a wide spectrum of knowledge and know-how from the respective field your business is in to understand its high-level needs. Their ultimate goal is to increase the efficiency of your business, facilitate decision-making, and improve your results by aligning business requirements with a data strategy.

5. Data Modeler

The main task of a Data Modeler is to design computer databases that translate complex business data into usable computer systems. And, in bigger teams, the Data Modeler works closely with Solution Architects. This role also focuses on improving the business activities, identifying areas where data has a real impact on business, and then find and implement new data solutions. Creating conceptual, logical, and physical data models will help the key stakeholders understand their data. Should you want to really move forward, data modelling will be a critical component to achieve your goals.

So which role to start with?

Choosing which role to hire first depends mostly on the size of your project. If you want to start by taking smaller steps, a Solution Architect would be a good start. If your data is more complex, and you need to address a complicated project, Data Analyst or BI Consultant would be the right choice. In case you are determined to become data-driven at “full speed”, having a Data Modeler on board collaborating with Data Solution Architects would be the best solution for you. However, we do know that many companies have difficulties matching their objectives to a particular role. When in doubt, asking recruitment companies with specific experience and knowledge that will help you define your needs and align the hiring strategy to it, is definitely the best way forward.

Angelika Seböková
Marketing Specialist

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