Dilemma between Microsoft BI developer or Application Developer

  • I am stuck in a dilemma; at my workplace I have to choose my career track between as Microsoft BI developer or Application Developer(C#,ASP.net etc).

    I have been working nearly 1 year with my current employer. It was a start-up firm and now revenue is started and they want to be now more organized. I joined as junior developer and rather than being selective I picked up whatever task they assigned to me.

    Now they have given the option to select the technology track to work on. Since I have worked on both technology, I am now in dilemma what to select as my career path since i enjoyed working on both technologies and both keeps me occupied, which is making my decision process even more difficult.

    I have done lots of research online. Both path has their own future/prospect. Personally, I have come up with following rationale for BI track,

    - BI track is more prosperous and less saturated from jobs point of view

    - Since release of MSSQL 2008, full fledged BI stack is in market, so we can see there will be more stack advancement in near future which make it ready for widespread use. If I start working on it now then i will have reasonable grasp by that time.

    Application Developer -

    - Lots of jobs opportunities but lots of applicants also

    - number of jobs out there as compared to BI jobs

    - Side by side if I developed my managerial skills then one day there will some opportunity for entering into management.

    Both track are convincing me.

    Here are my doubts,

    - Which track has best prospect for next 5 years as a career

    - Is MS BI track is more product specific/dependent i.e. MS SQLSERVER driven

    - Is keeping skills up-to date in application development role more cumbersome than BI role if you want to be a market player, since Microsoft keeps minimum 3-4 years of release span between server editions as contrast to every day something new is there for .Net framework

    - Your generic views on both track as career/earning or your past experience if you are gone through something like this


  • All in all, you're taking a really good approach to the matter.

    Probably the best advice I ever heard about job/career choices is "What would you do even if you never got paid for it?" This isn't to downplay the importance of career advancement and salary. Rather it is to emphasize that no one can pay you enough to do a job you really hate. Maybe you would equally enjoy both options, which is fine, and your decision might come down to more esoteric considerations.

    All that said, the BI field is larger than just Microsoft. There are principles of BI that have nothing to do with platform or vendor. Certainly MS is a major player in the market and you really can't go wrong learning their stack (after all *somebody* is probably going to be using it), but if you focus on learning the underlying theory and principles, then switching to a different platform/stack won't be all that difficult.

    These days, business as a whole seems to be more data-driven as demonstrated by the emergence of such fields as data science, predictive analytics and so forth. Business has been accumulating all this data into various databases for years now and they want to do something with it. So from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery, I'd go for BI in general all else being equal.

    On the flip side, app development certainly has it's attractions. Gathering, manipulating and storing data isn't necessarily the same skill set as creating useful interfaces between users and all that data. As you point out it is larger and more saturated, but that doesn't mean you can't distinguish yourself. I see posts in various forums all the time about young developers who seem to come unhinged when reality doesn't follow the textbook. You've obviously got some practical experience, which is a big plus. Personally, I'd rather hire someone who may not have all the academic credentials but possesses some real-world business experience over the latest graduates in computer science.

    At any rate, here's to your efforts. I honestly think you'll make it whichever way to decide to go.

    Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.

  • Hi vikram,

    can i know you have moved into which stream.

    is it MSBI or .net

    is the decision taken by you is right?

    Thanks in advance

  • I find myself literally the same situation - wondering which direction was taken.

  • I am stuck in a dilemma

    It's a small but not unimportant choice--a dilemma is a choice between undesirable alternatives.  You simply have a choice, as I have the impression either one is acceptable to you.

  • j1devop - Wednesday, July 4, 2018 8:57 PM

    I find myself literally the same situation - wondering which direction was taken.

    Like Yogi Berra said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it"! 😉

    I think such decisions by companies are absolutely stupid.  They first say they want people to be cross trained and they say they want to realize the power that a DevOps culture would provide the company and then they want to silo people by forcing them to make a choice when they'd actually be much more effective in being a "Jack of all trades and Master-of-Many".

    You should tell them that, since they don't actually have something that would fit all of your knowledge and talent, that they should start a new department called "DevOps" and give you the title of "Bad Ass Miracle Worker" and let you and the others like you continue to serve the company in the manner that made them successful to begin with.

    --Jeff Moden

    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

    Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • I'd agree with Ishhanahan's advice. Do what you'd enjoy more. You'll still be able to keep learning in both areas, but where is your focus. A general .NET developer has more opportunities, but more competition. A BI developer has less opportunity, but often these are better compensated positions. That being said, they are harder to get and last longer in general.

    Microsoft is releasing software almost every year, so I wouldn't worry about stagnation. They are also embracing and using lots of non-MS tools, like Spark, Hadoop, and more. You'll have plenty to learn and work on.

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