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How to Become a Business Intelligence Analyst

Data is becoming increasingly more relevant and necessary for different industries. One of the important new data science fields is business intelligence analytics. Business intelligence analysts extract value from data and use this information to help improve business operations.

Business intelligence analysts, also known as BI analysts, play an important role in the tech industry and will continue to have an increasing demand in the future. To learn how to become a business intelligence analyst, including job requirements, skills, educational paths, and salary, keep reading our comprehensive guide.

What Is a Business Intelligence Analyst?

A business intelligence analyst is a data science professional who uses data to help businesses make accurate decisions. This can help them improve their business operations and become more efficient. This role is ideal for anyone interested in data analysis and business growth.

Business intelligence analysts are also known as BI analysts. They use data analytics, data visualization, and data modeling techniques to make data-driven decisions. BI analysts work with other professionals including engineers, managers, and executives to accomplish their goals.

Business Intelligence Analyst Job Description

The job of a BI analyst is to manage data retrieval and data analysis for a business. They help businesses leverage data, identify opportunities for improvement, spot business trends, and recognize potential issues. Business intelligence analysts offer solutions and ways to improve.

It is the job of a BI analyst to ensure that the business is following trends, improving efficiency, increasing productivity, and making profits. They collect data and use it to decide the best path for the company to take in the future. They communicate with business executives, management, and the IT department to determine the company’s needs.

Business Intelligence Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of management analysts is $87,660. With the right education, skills, and experience, there are various fields for a BI analyst to work in. These include healthcare, finance, education, law enforcement, and technology. 

The field has huge potential, and the BLS also reports that employment is projected to grow by 14 percent between 2020 and 2030. This is higher than average for other careers. This is due to the increase in demand for professionals in the field as most companies are seeking a more accurate way to increase their efficiency.

Top Reasons to Become a Business Intelligence Analyst in 2021

Like most careers in tech, becoming a business intelligence analyst is a good choice because it has a high potential for growth and lucrative salaries. As a professional BI analyst, you can find a job in a variety of fields. Read below to learn about more benefits of being a BI analyst.

  • Job Opportunities. One of the top reasons to start a career as a business intelligence analyst is the opportunity to work in almost any field. There is a demand for BI analysts in numerous areas, as most businesses need professionals to help them make informed business decisions and increase profits.
  • High Salary. The median salary for BI analysts is $87,660, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is high compared to other occupations.
  • Secure Future. As the need for BI analysts is growing, industries are beginning to employ more BI professionals. This need will only increase in years to come.
  • Career Growth. A business intelligence analyst can work in different roles not limited to business analytics. They can work as data engineers, data warehouse architects, and business intelligence managers.

Business Intelligence Analyst Job Requirements

To find employment as a business analyst, you need to meet certain requirements. Some of these include earning a degree, certifications, job experience, data skills, and communication skills. While all of these don’t guarantee landing a job, they increase your chances with potential employers.

  • Education. The most important requirement to get a job as a business analyst is to earn a degree. Most business analysts pursue an advanced degree like a master’s degree. However, many entry-level roles only require a bachelor’s degree. You can also try to get a bootcamp education.
  • Job Experience. Most employers prefer to hire individuals with at least three years of experience. Recent graduates can apply for internship roles to gain the required experience.
  • Analytical Skills. These experts must have analytical skills because they are the foundation of the job. A good BI analyst should be able to inspect and interpret data with ease. 
  • Communication Skills. Business analysts have strong written and verbal communication skills as they will need to work with other teams through projects.

Types of Business Intelligence Analyst Careers

One of the best parts of being a business intelligence analyst is the career opportunities. There are various job roles for professionals in the field. You can work as a data architect, data scientist, data engineer, business intelligence manager, business intelligence architect, or data analyst.

Data Analyst

A data analyst works to collect, analyze, interpret, and store data to help businesses and organizations make better decisions. They ensure the quality and accuracy of data to make beneficial decisions for organizations. A BI analyst is just a type of data analyst, so you can enter this broader field first.

Business Intelligence Manager

A business intelligence manager oversees a team of analysts and developers. This manager and their team gather information, assess company needs, and report industry trends to management. The skills necessary to become a business intelligence analyst include data analysis and team management.

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers are in charge of developing self-running AI software to automate predictive models for recommended searches, virtual assistants, translation apps, chatbots, and driverless cars. Machine learning is a growing topic in the data science field, so it is a good skill to have even if it’s not your career of choice. 

Business Intelligence Analyst Meaning: What Does a Business Intelligence Analyst Do?

The daily duties and responsibilities of business analysts differ based on the industry they are working in. They are mainly responsible for improving the processes and structures of a company. These experts also perform research and analysis to find solutions to business issues and improve business operations.

Gathers Business Intelligence Data

A business intelligence analyst has to collect data from internal and external sources like industry reports or public information. They will use this information to stay updated on industry trends and make informed business decisions to increase the productivity of the company. BI analysts have to gather high-quality data.

Analyzes Collected Data

After collecting useful data, BI analysts then analyze the data to get adequate information that can be used to make decisions for the business. This analysis is the most important part of a business intelligence analyst’s role because it combines their data science skills and business knowledge.

Utilizes Data to Make Decisions

After performing adequate analysis, business analysts use the information generated to make well-informed decisions that can increase the efficiency, productivity, and profit of the business. This will help it keep up with the competition and maximize its profits.

Essential Business Intelligence Analyst Skills

To excel as a business intelligence analyst, there are certain skills that you need to thrive. These skills demonstrate to the employer that you are a good fit for the role and give you a competitive edge in the job market. Read below to read more about essential BI analyst skills.

Data Analysis Skills

BI analysts should have excellent data analysis skills as the majority of their job involves collecting, analyzing, and measuring data. This includes technical tools and programming languages. As a business intelligence analyst, you should learn SQL and other tools depending on your job.

Business Skills

A good business analyst should have skills in writing and verbal communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership. These are essential because business analysts work with members of different teams and have to create reports detailing their decisions.

Programming Skills

Business intelligence analysts should have good programming skills in languages like R, SQL, Python, and Java. They need these skills to be able to perform their tasks, including designing web applications, creating automated databases, and analyzing product sales performances.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Business Intelligence Analyst?

On average, it takes about four years to become a business intelligence analyst. You will need to get an education and relevant job experience to land an entry-level job. However, it may take longer depending on the chosen educational path. If you choose to get a degree, you would spend about four years in college. Coding bootcamps can take a few months to complete.

Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Business Intelligence Analyst?

Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become a business intelligence analyst. You can try one of the best data analytics bootcamps to learn the tech skills you need for the job. These bootcamps cover the technical and academic aspects of training as they prepare students to land jobs after graduation.

Coding bootcamps also equip their students with career skills to ensure that they are fit for real-world jobs by offering career services. These services include interview prep, resume writing skills, and personal branding. Bootcamps typically last only a few months, which makes them faster and more affordable than degree programs.

Can I Become A Business Intelligence Analyst From Home?

Yes, you can become a business intelligence analyst from home if you enroll in an online coding bootcamp or take online courses. While you may need to get further education after taking an online class, it is possible to learn all the necessary skills to start a career in business intelligence. 

How to Become a Business Intelligence Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide

You can start a career as a business intelligence analyst by following these steps. While it is not mandatory to follow them, it is recommended as it will make your journey into the field easier. Every career journey is different, but you can become a BI analyst more quickly and easily if you meet these milestones.

Step 1: Earn a Degree

The first step to start a career as a business intelligence analyst is to earn a degree. You can pursue a bachelor’s degree in any of the relevant fields for business intelligence analysts. These include computer science, data science, business, and finance.

Step 2: Gain Job Experience

Most potential employers give preference to candidates with job experience. It is recommended that you gain some real-world experience before going for your dream job. To do this, you can apply for internships with companies that interest you.

Step 3: Get Professional Certifications

Getting a certification in the industry will boost your chances of landing better jobs. Employers place value on professional certifications because they validate your skills. These certifications can be earned anytime before applying for business intelligence analyst positions as they provide a competitive advantage.

Step 4: Get an Advanced Degree

After joining the field and starting your career, you can apply for advanced degrees. These degrees help to emphasize your skills as a professional and show employers that you are capable of performing your job effectively.

Best Schools and Education for a Business Intelligence Analyst Career

There are different educational paths for anyone looking to start a career as a business intelligence analyst. You can choose to earn a degree, enroll in a coding bootcamp, attend a vocational school, or join a community college. 

Business Intelligence Analyst Bootcamps

BI analyst bootcamps are designed to train students with the skills necessary to start a career and land a job soon after graduation. They typically last for three months to nine months, depending on the school you choose, and are more affordable than colleges. Some BI analyst bootcamps include Thinkful, Le Wagon, General Assembly, and Springboard.

Bootcamps offer various formats of learning, including online, in-person, full-time, part-time, and hands-on learning. Some bootcamps have all of these options available, while others only have a few. Coding bootcamps also offer career services, job guarantees, and job assistance to their students to ensure that they get jobs after completion of the program.

Vocational School

Vocational schools are also known as career schools, and they provide practical training for students to start a job or task in a specific field. It is best for people who are looking to start a new career, transition to a new career, or enhance their skills. 

Vocational schools only provide education for specific careers and do not offer unrelated academic courses, unlike the traditional education system. They also offer training for professionals who are already in a field to help enhance their skills. Vocational schools typically last for ten weeks to two years, depending on the course and other factors.

Community College

Community colleges offer two-year academic, technical, and vocational programs to students. Students who complete community colleges can transfer to colleges to earn bachelor’s degrees. They are more affordable and can help lower college costs. They also have a more flexible admission process.

Community colleges have smaller class sizes, and most of them do not require SAT scores. Students of community colleges can work while schooling, and the courses offered are more flexible to allow students to have lives outside the school. It allows part-time and full-time classes, depending on the schedule of the student.

Business Intelligence Analyst Degrees

To earn a degree as a business intelligence analyst, students will have to apply for programs in computer science, mathematics, economics, business, finance, and other related fields. The most common degree among business intelligence analysts is the bachelor’s degree. However, you can earn a master’s degree afterward to increase your chances in the job market.

Degrees are more expensive than any other option on this list, but they are still useful. They can be a good choice if you’re not yet sure about your specialization. For example, you can get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and decide to become a BI analyst later on.

The Most Important Business Intelligence Analyst Certifications

Certifications are necessary for career growth. They help to improve your skills and act as evidence to employers that you have the relevant knowledge needed to work efficiently. There are many certifications available to choose from, but some are more valued than others. Below are some of the most important business intelligence analyst certifications in the industry.

Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP)

This certification is awarded to senior-level professionals in the information and technology industry, with a focus on data management and business analytics. It shows that you are up to date on the latest BI trends, practices, and solutions. To earn this certification, you will need to have two years of full-time experience in the field.

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

This certification shows your skills in using data analysis to make informed business decisions. To earn this certification, you need to have a master’s degree and a minimum job experience of five years. Candidates without a master’s degree should have a bachelor’s degree and at least seven years of experience in data or analytics.

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)

This certification focuses on hands-on projects and tests experts on business analysis principles, tools, and essentials. This credential requires a bachelor's degree and three years of work experience. You can earn this certification after passing an exam from the Project Management Institute.

How to Prepare for Your Business Intelligence Analyst Job Interview

To prepare for a business analytics job interview, you need to have the necessary job requirements and skills. The job interviews typically cover key knowledge and technical and soft skills that a business intelligence analyst should have. Below are some interview practice questions to get you started.

Business Intelligence Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions

  • How would you define the role of a business intelligence analyst?
  • What is your educational background, and what fields do you have experience in?
  • Which programming languages are you familiar with?
  • Which BI tools have you used?
  • How do you see data gathering and analysis evolving in the next few years?

Should I Become a Business Intelligence Analyst in 2021?

Yes, you should become a business intelligence analyst in 2021. Business intelligence analysis is a good career to pursue, and it offers many job roles and opportunities. These professionals are in demand in various industries and tend to earn above-average salaries. It is a good career path if you have an interest in data analytics and project management.


Can You Become a Business Intelligence Analyst Without a Degree?
You can become a business intelligence analyst without a degree if you enroll in a coding bootcamp or take online classes. Coding bootcamps have become popular in recent years, and their graduates are highly valued by employers.
Is It Hard to Become a Business Intelligence Analyst?
No, it is not hard to become a business intelligence analyst. If you follow the necessary steps like getting an education and building relevant skills, you will be well on your way to a fulfilling career.
What Education Do You Need to Become a Business Intelligence Analyst?
To become a business intelligence analyst, you need to have a degree or training from a coding bootcamp. You should earn analytical skills, data skills, and communication skills.
Is Business Intelligence a Good Career?
Yes, business intelligence is a good career for anyone who wants to start a career in tech and has a background in mathematics. The demand for BI analysts is high, and the employment opportunity is expected to keep growing in years to come.
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