Elevate Your BI Career: Inside the Fulfilling World of Power BI Consulting

Elevate Your BI Career: Inside the Fulfilling World of Power BI Consulting

Written by Rick Johnson, BI Developer

Ever thought about switching gears in your career? In this article, we take a look at one of our BI Developers’ experience working as a consultant for Tail Wind. We’ll walk through the nuances of a career in consulting—from diving into Power BI to making an impact with our clients. Curious how you can grow your skills, work on diverse projects, and maybe even boost your paycheck? Read on, because this could be just the nudge you’ve been waiting for!


Career Evolution and Skill Development:

In the dynamic world of Business Intelligence with an emphasis on Power BI, it can be difficult to keep up with the evolution of new tools and technology stacks. In the beginning of my data career, I had an entry level job using SSMS and Power BI Report Server to develop dashboards. I was only exposed to what was available and the ability to elevate my skillset was limited to the environment I was placed in. After a few months in the role, I realized that this was not going to allow me to develop my skills fast enough to obtain my financial goals. Each night, I studied a few extra hours and read dozens of articles to continue my growth.

Unfortunately, reading and studying can only get you so far before you need to demonstrate your ability to perform. Knowing this, I started my Medium profile where I applied what I had studied and created demo projects to display my growing skillset along with my ability to describe technical content to those who may not have a technical background. A few months had passed by, and I had created several articles discussing SQL, Power BI, and Machine Learning. I was publishing everything I had created on LinkedIn and continued to engage with the data community. This is where hard work was about to pay off.

Transition into Consulting with Tail Wind

As my visibility continued to rise, I was gaining attention from recruiters seeking to fill an open role. Specifically, a recruiter from Tail Wind, named Tayler, had reached out to me asking if I was interested in a Business Intelligence role as a consultant. At first, I was cautious because consulting seems like it’s only for those who have 10+ years of experience. I did not have 10 years, but I did work extra hours to build my skillset, and my passion for learning exceeded any other passion I had. Fast forward through a few interviews and ensuring 401K, PTO, health insurance, vision and other standard benefits were included with my employment, I took the leap and accepted the Business Intelligence developer role.

Leaving my seemingly comfortable position as a Data Analyst and becoming a Business Intelligence consultant with Tail Wind was stepping outside my comfort zone. One day before making my decision, I asked my wife why consulting sounded exciting compared to my other roles. She said that consulting is a great choice for those who quickly become stagnated at their job, enjoy building their tech stack across several environments, and exposure to various industries. Essentially, it’s great for those who become bored without variety or are capped with where they are at.  

Advantages of Consulting with Tail Wind

As a consultant for Tail Wind, I work with clients who have specific business needs that we can help them solve for. These needs range from high priority projects, solving complex problems, or creating and maintaining environments. The advantage of doing this type of work is that you are exposed to a wide range of problems and data environments that are unique to each client.

After working with a handful of clients, my personal experience has shown that consulting quickly increases your skills, fast tracks your career path, and is financially rewarding. At Tail Wind, our contracts are typically full-time, 100% remote, with above average compensation and bi-weekly paychecks. For enhancing your skill set, you are encouraged to learn additional skills within our key partners’ (Microsoft, Snowflake, Databricks) stack of products and services, which can increase your compensation. This is because you can work on a wider range of solutions that clients are seeking.

Another advantage of working at Tail Wind is that not all the clients you’ll work with are high-stress, tight deadline contracts. Tail Wind offers their clients holistic data solutions, and all the contracts I’ve been assigned have an end date and can be extended if the client determines there is additional work that can be completed. Although rare, if you are not with a client and you’re “on the bench” instead, Tail Wind will place you on a certification path to build your skills. We also have a full-time mentor on the Tail Wind team who works with you to enhance your skillset however necessary.

What are some projects I’ve worked on at Tail Wind?

My first project was creating a C-suite dashboard that highlighted sales and profit margins across all locations. It took me two months to locate and prepare the data for Power BI. I worked with their data engineers to create a DBT model that incrementally loaded 500,000 records from Snowflake into Power BI using the incremental refresh policy. We were able to refresh the dashboard using Power BI Premium capacity and the optimized data model in under 10 minutes. The main highlight of this project was using field parameters to create a self-service report with dynamic titles based on the fields used.

After the project was complete, I was contracted with another company and stepped in as one of their Power BI Administrators. We were responsible for 3,000 workspaces, 4 premium capacities, 4 gateways, hundreds of on-prem data source connections, and I worked with developers to optimize their datasets. The main highlight working for this client was exposure to the Power BI Administration side, maintaining the environment, and optimizing reports for all workspaces. At the time of writing this article, I’m currently with a client where we are establishing best practices, building Power BI apps for internal users/departments, and developing reports as data availability is increasing.

Bringing it all Together

Being a consultant at Tail Wind allows you to build a broad skillset, flexibility to work from home, and the opportunity to earn an above-average income. When compared to my previous positions, I’ve always felt that I’m not a typical employee; I always outgrew the position faster than the company would allow and became stagnant. While it felt nerve-wracking to take the leap, I’m thankful I did because transitioning to a consultant role has opened several doors for me, helped build my personal brand, and I’ve gained experience faster than I ever expected.


What’s your next move?

If you’re thinking about transitioning from a corporate career to a consulting career, I encourage you to check out our open positions. We are always seeking talented individuals to join our team!

Interested in joining the Tail Wind team? Visit our careers page!

About the Author:

Rick Johnson Headshot

Rick J – BI Developer:

As a Business Intelligence Developer, I work with clients to elevate and maintain their Power BI environments by optimizing their premium capacity performance, delivering company solutions using enhanced ETL process and architecture, and act as an advanced issue resolution specialist. I’ve managed over 3,000 workspaces as a Power BI Administrator and developed C-suite reports using cloud-based data sources. My main technology stack resides in SQL, Python, machine learning, and M-Query but I’ve been known to dabble in PowerShell and other languages where needed.