Power BI Interview Questions
Welcome to our new series called Tech Interview! Today’s focus is on Power BI interview questions for people in search of a Power BI role by helping them prepare for questions that may be asked, as well as for the interviewer to learn what should be asked of candidates to best fulfill a Power BI role.
This series is a mixture of role playing an interview and discussion and bullet points about Power BI to help candidates and interviewers to really understand Power BI in order for them to craft the best questions and answers for a Power BI job interview.
Question: Our company has multiple data analytics platforms, why should we go all in on Power BI?
There are many great tools out there that can help the BI process, but I prefer Power BI as it extends your existing workforce capabilities. Power BI is designed to be easy to use, with no or low code and if you’re users know Excel, business processes and rules, then they can get their hands involved from start to finish of the BI process. This allows them to drive insights much quicker and at a relatively low cost per user.
It’s scalable and cost effective and something your existing workforce can use across the board.
Bullet Points – Why Power BI?
- Much more user friendly than other tools
- Lowest time to insights
- Generally, most cost-effective tool
- Part of a larger suite of tools – When you leverage Power BI, you’re gaining access to the Microsoft Power Platform:
- Power BI – your reporting and analytics tool
- Microsoft Flow – your workforce automation tool with logic, similar to Logic Apps, but accessible to citizen developers
- PowerApps – for rapid development of line of business applications.
- These work incredibly together, speaking to each other and using things like write back to combine your analysis with your interactivity.
- Many people may use Power BI, but not know about the other tools in the Power Platform, so going into an interview with that knowledge can be a great leg up on your competition.
- Also, on the IT developer side, when you pull in Power BI, you’ll get Azure extensibility with all the Azure services like AI, machine learning and cognitive services to name a few.
Question: What are the stages of development required for a Power BI project? Be sure to check out the video for a demo of the showing Power BI desktop on your interview – it’s always a great idea if you can ‘show’ (on a laptop or even a whiteboard) rather than just talk about something – it makes an awesome impression!
Stages of Development:
- Data Discovery – the first step in the business intelligence process is to get data. In Power BI use the Get Data button to launch this step. This will launch your Power Query Editor where you’d apply your transformations, business rules and connect to your various sources (in Power BI we have a ton of different sources and connectors).
- Data Modeling – The icons on the left are your Data View and Relationship View. With Data Modeling we create relationships, and this is where DAX will come into play. DAX is the analysis expression language used to create those relationships and measures and draw out those insights.
- Data Visualization – The chart icon on the left is where you’ll do your typical report building, as well as data storytelling, so you can bring those insights together in a visually appealing and interactive way to share with users.
Power BI does all these BI steps in one tool – you may need multiple tools with other solutions.
Question: What are the components built-in to Power BI?
- Power BI Desktop – Installed on your computer, this is where developers will spend most of their time doing report building and working on all 3 steps of the BI process. Then they’ll publish those reports to the Power BI Service.
- Power BI Service (or Power BI Report Server if you’re on-premise) – This is designed to engage our administration roles, apply role security, schedule refreshes and most importantly, to share your reports and insights with all your end consumers.
- Mobile Apps for iOS, Android and Windows to share your reports.
- Power BI for Developers has API capability and you can use things like embedded and build it out extensively on the development side.
- Another point to mention is there are some differences on-premise like sourcing using a Gateway and your reports will be a bit different.
As a candidate, it’s also helpful to ask your interviewer questions such as: Are you in the cloud, on-premise or both? Where is your data stored? This may help lead you to Power BI answers that fit the company.
If you want to dig deeper into a company that’s not in the cloud, you may ask, what version of the Report Server are you using? They do update the server, but not as frequently as the Power BI Service.
Question: What are some of the things we should consider for running Power BI on a computer? I’m hiring you to be an influencer for Power BI in my organization, I want to know resources, like the physical machines for the folks that will be doing the developing.
To cut to the chase, RAM – if you’re a creator, not a consumer, you’ll need 6 to 8 gigs of RAM, the more the better depending on the data set you’re working with. You’re going to want a 64-bit processor and 64-bit operating system in place, so you’ll be able to leverage the desktop capability.
Microsoft documentation suggests less (1.5 GB or more), but we recommend a more robust element with 6-8 GB or higher, plus that 64-bit CPU and 64-bit OS on your machine. It can be a limiting factor if you’re on 32-bit.
Question: What software should we consider for running Power BI on a computer?
Power Users - Download the Power BI Desktop and get your accounts set up to get started and be sure your machine can handle it.
End user/consumer - all you need is browser access to get to the service and view the reports if you’re not doing any creating.
Administrator (this role can be flexible for who assumes it) - you’ll need to consider whether you’re on premises or in the cloud; you’ll need to set up a Gateway and the Report Server if you’re on-premise.
That wraps up this edition of our Tech Interview Questions for Power BI. Erin did a great job on the interview questions; hopefully you got some great advice, tips and bullet points to use. Keep an eye our for more of these videos on our You Tube channel and please comment below to let us know what other things you want to know more in-depth questions about.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Devin Knight is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, Microsoft Certified Trainer, and President of Pragmatic Works. He focuses on driving adoption of technology through learning. He is an author of nine Power Platform, Business Intelligence, and SQL Server books. He has been selected as a speaker for conferences like Power Platform Summit, PASS Summit, SQLSaturdays, and Code Camps for many years. Making his home in Jacksonville, FL Devin is a contributing member to several local user groups.
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