How to Get Started as a
Business Intelligence Analyst

Refine Your Skills and Remain Relevant

Learning about data science and business analytics can be overwhelming. If you want to become a business intelligence analyst, don’t let that stop you. You can quickly gain new skills through countless boot camps, online courses, and college degrees.

Studying business intelligence is a lucrative choice. If you love computer science, statistics, and people, this career is well-suited to you. This detailed guide can help you learn how to become a business intelligence analyst, what skills you need, and where to study.

What Is a Business Intelligence Analyst?

Business intelligence analysts are experts that convert company data into insights. These insights encourage higher profits and consumer engagement for businesses.

These professionals identify business trends through data mining, data analytics, and computer science, to name a few. The company’s stakeholders use this data to make important decisions.

Companies need business intelligence analysts to determine their strengths and weaknesses. They can create more effective marketing strategies and better consumer experiences using the data mined by experts.

How Does Business Intelligence Analysis Relate to Data Science?

Business intelligence analysts and data scientists are different in some ways but similar in others. In both professions, experts analyze data, work with databases, use data visualization tools, and create metrics. Both fields require exceptional communication skills and comprehensive data science knowledge.

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

It takes at least four years to become a business intelligence analyst. In those four years, you must complete your bachelor’s degree. You usually also have to complete an internship.

Where to Study Business Intelligence Analysis

Where you study depends on what your learning goals are. If you need to learn more about one specific topic, you can try taking an online course. However, if you are starting from scratch, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree.

You also need to consider the course fees, entry dates, and entry requirements before choosing an education path. You should also look at the degree and certificate options as well as curriculum offerings.

Check the comparison below on the different ways you can become a business intelligence analyst.

Business Intelligence Analysis Community College

If you want to study business intelligence analysis, a community college is a great place to start. You can get an associate degree in many different topics, including business, data science, and business analysis. In most cases, you can use your credits to get a bachelor’s degree later on.

Business Intelligence Analysis University

If you want to get an undergraduate degree, studying at a university is ideal. For business intelligence analysis, universities offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Having any of these degrees will help you secure internships, apprenticeships, and recognized jobs in the field.

Business Intelligence Analysis Coding Bootcamps

Coding boot camps are becoming a popular choice for students. Students who need knowledge in specific tech skills should attend a coding boot camp. For example, you can sign up for a program on Python for data science. Keep in mind that there are no specific coding boot camps for business intelligence analysis.

Business Intelligence Analysis Online Courses

Online courses are your best bet if you need to improve a specific area of your tech skills. If you can’t attend in-person classes, online courses can work for you too. Through an online course, you can work remotely and progress at your own pace. It’s an excellent option for students who have full-time jobs.

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

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

To become a business intelligence analyst, you need to earn an undergraduate degree and complete an internship. In some cases, you also have to gain professional certification. Read below to see each of the steps you need to take to work in business intelligence analysis.

Get a degree

Complete an undergraduate degree to start your career. Eligible bachelor’s degree programs are business analysis, economics, data science, computer science, and similar fields. These are all vital elements of study.

Complete an internship

Aside from your degree, you need work experience. Internships are an effective solution to this problem. Some degree programs include an internship, so you can get experience while you study.

Earn a professional certification

Earning a professional certificate is a great way to increase your chances of landing a job. The Microsoft Certified Solution Expert certification is a fantastic pick. You can also opt for TDWI’s Certified Business Intelligence Professional certification.

Apply for jobs

Once you have the education you need, you can apply for business analysis jobs. You can check job boards in your area or speak to a career counselor if you want extra help. With the right experience and certifications, you can get a job in the field.

Consider an advanced degree

Getting an advanced degree increases your chances of finding a well-paying job. An advanced degree includes a master’s or Ph.D. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, this can make up for it.

Entry-Level Business Intelligence Analyst Job Requirements

You need at least a bachelor’s degree to get an entry-level position as a business intelligence analyst. Every job is different, but a degree is usually the minimum. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for an entry-level business intelligence analyst is $67,339. This is a great starting salary, even for a tech field.

Business Intelligence Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not specifically list business intelligence analysts, but it does state that management analysts make an average of $87,660 per year. This is a similar job, so you can expect a similar average salary. The BLS also expects job opportunities to grow by 11 percent by 2029, which is much faster than average.

Example Business Intelligence Analyst Job Interview Questions

  • What is your data collecting process?
  • What applications do you use to collect data?
  • What is risk management, and what is the process you follow?
  • What advice would you give aspiring business intelligence analysts?
  • How would you explain the difference between a clustered and non-clustered index?
  • How do you approach identifying and organizing marketing trends?

What Does a Business Intelligence Analyst Do?

Business intelligence analysts analyze and compare data, find market trends, create reports, and assess implemented strategies.

Below is an in-depth glance at what business intelligence analysts do.

Mines and Analyzes Data

Business intelligence analysts collect essential data from financial reports, industry reports, or public information. They must analyze the data they find to determine what information is valuable and actionable to the business. To accurately and efficiently mine and analyze data, professionals need to learn data structures.

Develops Rules and Procedures

Business intelligence analysts must create rules and procedures for collecting and analyzing data. Doing this reduces the risk of error. It’s also much easier to weave out mistakes or drawbacks in strategies.

Communicates with Stakeholders

A business intelligence analyst must have strong communication skills. This is because they interact with many different people. Whether you’re explaining recent statistics to your manager or breaking down an entire year’s findings, you will communicate often.

Monitors Metrics and Revising Strategies

Business intelligence analysts should always check their metrics and analytics. This keeps them updated with trends and ensures their strategy is working. It is up to them to change the implemented strategies if needed.

Essential Business Intelligence Analyst Skills and Certifications

Essential Business Intelligence Analyst Skills and Certifications

To become a business intelligence analyst, you need technical skills. These skills include data mining, data modeling, data visualization, programming languages, and complementary skills. Personal certifications are also important if you want to stay in demand and gain a competitive edge.

Business Intelligence Analyst Skills

Data Mining

Data mining is turning raw data into useful information. This is a crucial skill for business intelligence analysts. A significant part of business intelligence relies on precise data mining for accurate results.

Data Modeling

Data modeling is the creation of data storage systems. Business intelligence analysts must create conceptual representations of data to explain their findings and solutions.

Data Visualization

Business intelligence analysts must learn data visualization to share data findings. This skill helps you understand how to create visual interpretations of data like infographics and pie charts.


Business intelligence analysts should prioritize learning Python and SQL programming languages. The more programming languages you understand, the more versatile you will be in the field.

Business Intelligence Analyst Certifications

Like the MCS and TDWI certifications discussed earlier, these certificate courses can help you move up in the field. Keep in mind that professional certifications are not necessary for business analysis. Instead, you can take specialized courses to help you learn new skills. Read below to learn more about these courses that can help you become a successful business intelligence analyst.

Advanced Business Analytics Specialization by Coursera

This online course trains students on SQL, interpreting data, representing data, and using statistics to forecast data. Each course includes a hands-on project. After completing the course and projects, students will receive a certificate. This is a good choice if you want to learn the basics of business analytics.

Data Warehousing for Business Intelligence by Coursera

This program teaches students how to use data warehousing. This includes data modeling, data visualization, and more. Through only five courses, you can learn everything you need to know. Students can complete this course online through Coursera and finish with a certificate.

BI Reporting Tools Training by Intellipaat

This course is one of the best ways to learn about business intelligence reporting tools. The comprehensive curriculum includes 780 hours of content. You will learn about tools like Tableau, Spotfire, Cognos, SSRS, and Hyperion. After completing the course and all the projects, you’ll receive the Intellipaat Course Completion Certificate.

Reasons to Become a Business Intelligence Analyst in 2021

As a business intelligence analyst, you’ll have the technical skills to choose from various job prospects. There’s a lot of room for personal development within the industry. You’ll constantly learn new programming languages, software, data science strategies, and data testing methods. You can also work on your teamwork and communication skills.

The range of job opportunities for business intelligence analysts is quite diverse. Professionals can work for a bank one year and a law firm the next. If you easily grow bored of working in just one environment, you’ll enjoy a career as a business intelligence analyst.

Business Intelligence Analyst FAQ

What do you need to become a business intelligence analyst?

To become a business intelligence analyst, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree. Your bachelor’s degree should be in business administration, data science, statistics, or similar subjects. You may also need to complete an internship.

What skills do I need to become a business intelligence analyst?

To become a business intelligence analyst, you must have tech skills. A few of these skills include data mining, data modeling, data visualization, and programming languages.

How long does it take to become a business intelligence analyst?

It will take a minimum of four years to become a business intelligence analyst. Within those four years, you need to achieve your bachelor’s degree and complete an internship.

What does a business intelligence analyst do?

A business intelligence analyst mines valuable data and converts the data into insights. Companies use these insights to drive higher profits and increased consumer engagement.

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