Top Business Intelligence
Careers: 2021 List
Data science and data analytics are at the core of business intelligence. This is a field that involves data mining, reporting, benchmarking, querying, statistical analysis, descriptive analytics, and data visualization. All of this is done to help companies, governments, and individuals make better economic and financial decisions.
Keep reading if you want to learn more about pursuing a career in business intelligence. You can learn more about traditional and modern business intelligence models and the professionals who use them. Take a look below at the best business intelligence careers in 2021.
Why Pursue a Business Intelligence Career?
You should pursue a business intelligence career because there are many different pathways, each of which is lucrative. You can become a business intelligence analyst or move into a broader field and become an accountant or financial manager. You can branch into three core career channels.
The first of those would be to become a BI developer, where the emphasis is on showcasing your technical skills. The second potential channel is to become a BI manager, where the greatest emphasis will be on leadership and soft skills like communication. The third is BI engineer, which focuses on the creation of BI tools.
There are also options to pursue a career as a budget analyst, operations research analyst, or facilities manager. There are multiple avenues of career growth for those who have business intelligence skills.
What Industries Are Hiring Business Intelligence Professionals?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 32 percent of business and financial management analysts work in professional, scientific, and technical services. 17 percent work in government services, and another 15 percent are self-employed. These statistics show just how wide-reaching business analysts are.
Different industries deal with unique challenges, processes, and key performance indicators. However, almost any industry can benefit from a professional with business intelligence skills. All businesses need intelligence tools that will help improve the overall quality of their operations.
Highest-Paying Business Intelligence Careers at a Glance
All information in the table below is sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Each job growth percentage refers to the projected increase in opportunities between 2019 and 2029. Take a look at the best BI career paths in 2021.
|Job Title||Min. Education||Job Outlook||Median Pay|
|Financial Manager||Bachelor’s Degree||15%||$134,180|
|Facilities Manager||Bachelor’s Degree||6%||$98,890|
|Management Analyst||Bachelor’s Degree||11%||$87,660|
|Operations Research Analyst||Bachelor’s Degree||25%||$86,200|
|Financial Analyst||Bachelor’s Degree||5%||$83,660|
|Budget Analyst||Bachelor’s Degree||3%||$78,970|
|Cost Estimator||Bachelor’s Degree||-1%||$66,610|
|Market Research Analyst||Bachelor’s Degree||18%||$65,810|
The Best Business Intelligence Careers in 2021
The business intelligence jobs listed below cover a very broad spectrum of work, which is a reflection of business intelligence in 2021. While some of the careers might initially appear different, they all have one common denominator.
These jobs involve the gathering or consumption of data, the subsequent analysis of that data, and the use of that analysis to make more informed decisions. These decisions can be at a company level or in a personal capacity. Read below to learn more about top business intelligence careers.
The key areas of competency for a financial manager include financial reporting, budget management, accounting, and some financial analysis. Working knowledge of things like SAP Financial Accounting and Controlling, risk management, risk control, and budgeting will sharply increase your earning potential while working in this field.
Financial Manager Responsibilities
- Drafts budget reports and statements
- Performs financial analysis for firms and organizations
- Manages client accounts
- Acts as an expert on all budget matters
An economist, whether working for a firm or in a private capacity, conducts data analysis, research analysis, policy analysis, econometrics, and statistical analysis. Beyond that, the best-paid economists are expected to be competent with things like data modeling, SAS, R programming, forecasting, and policy development within an organization.
- Provides economic advice to private and public sector organizations
- Researches tax rates
- Researches health statistics
- Gathers and analyzes economic data
Facilities managers are expected to be competent with project coordination, project management, contractor management, and budget management. At the heart of a facilities manager’s job is the monitoring of business processes to ensure that outcomes are met. If you are interested in a leadership position, this is a great career for you.
Facilities Manager Responsibilities
- Drafts and implements maintenance solutions
- Prevents organizational disaster through regular inspections on operations
- Supervises operations
- Tracks a wide range of budget activity across various departments
To perform the tasks required of you in this job, you should have a sound knowledge of data analysis, process improvement, Microsoft Office, and project management. If you want to get ahead in the field, program and performance management skills are important. Management analysts work on strategic planning, budget management, and proposal writing.
Management Analyst Responsibilities
- Performs organizational studies and evaluations
- Prepares instructions for organizational staff
- Drafts manuals on operations and procedure
- Ensures efficiency and accuracy in business operations
Operations Research Analyst
Beyond business analysis, the primary skills in this line of work revolve around data modeling and simulation. You are also expected to learn Python for big data. An operations research analyst will also often be called upon to conduct some project management, data modeling, and statistical analysis.
Operations Research Analyst Responsibilities
- Researches the full operations of an organization or company
- Examines both the positive and negative trends within the processes of an organization
- Provides operational feedback to management and relevant departments
- Drafts and implements operational solutions
The skillset of a financial analyst should include financial analysis, data analysis, financial modeling, and financial reporting. A financial analyst is also expected to be competent with things like business planning, econometrics, portfolio management, quality assurance and control, and business strategy. This is a vital business intelligence career.
Financial Analyst Responsibilities
- Offers advice on how a company can build its wealth
- Studies marketplace activity
- Studies consumer behavior
- Advises companies on how to make smart investments with other people’s money
This is a business intelligence analyst job that involves budgeting, budget management, and financial analysis. A budget analyst is expected to analyze data, use BI tools to manage contracts, perform financial analysis and reporting, and conduct database management. A budget analyst is a data analyst who mainly deals with financial information.
Budget Analyst Responsibilities
- Participates in budget development processes
- Reviews historic fund allocation within an organization
- Previews future budgets and planned fund allocation
- Assesses current company expenditure
To perform the required tasks in this field, you should have a sound knowledge of general ledger accounting, bookkeeping, financial reporting, and Microsoft Excel. If you want to excel in this position, you should be familiar with consulting management, inventory management, regulatory compliance, internal auditing, and enterprise resource planning.
- Performs financial calculations for firms and organizations
- Creates sales and cash flow reports
- Manages budgets and billing activities
- Keeps inventory
A cost estimator should have working knowledge on how to use blueprints, Microsoft Office, and data visualization. The best-paid cost estimators also exhibit competence with business analysis, product costing, procurement, and financial analysis. They should also be competent with general data science and data analysis.
Cost Estimator Responsibilities
- Produces cost estimates for specific projects
- Analyzes company processes, staffing, and material
- Discusses project changes with engineers, contractors, and clients
- Performs data science research on facets of the company that impact costs
Market Research Analyst
The skillset of a market research analyst includes Microsoft Office, data analysis, research analysis, market analysis, and market research. Beyond this foundational knowledge, the best practitioners in this field are also competent in SAS, competitive intelligence, SQL, statistical analysis, and competitive analysis.
Market Research Analyst Responsibilities
- Reviews data in large quantities
- Determines which products have the greatest demand on the market
- Studies consumer behavior
- Calculates how much consumers are willing to pay for a product or service
What Role Does Location Play in Business Intelligence Salaries?
Location can determine higher or lower salaries in business intelligence careers. This is because the cost of living differs between locations. Salaries by location can also be affected by differences in the demand and number of job opportunities.
If you want a business intelligence job in the United States, the best places to look for work are Washington and California, according to PayScale. PayScale reports that the average salary of a business intelligence analyst in Seattle is $81,134. This is higher than the overall average salary for BI analysts, which is only $69,635.
Common Entry-Level Jobs in Business Intelligence
Business intelligence developers and business intelligence analysts are two of the most common entry-level jobs in this field. The basic skills that a business intelligence developer is expected to have include knowledge of ETL, Tableau software, and Microsoft SQL Server.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is the standard requirement for a career in business intelligence. You also need substantial knowledge of Linux, machine learning, Oracle Business Intelligence, and Apache Hadoop. You should also be familiar with SAP systems like High Performance Analytic Appliance, Business Warehouse, and ABAP.
The skills required for jobs like the ones listed in this table are specific and technical. While the salaries in the table below are not as high as those previously listed, entry-level professionals in this field still earn above the national average.
|Job Title||Min. Education||Entry-Level Pay|
|Data Engineer||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science||$77,217|
|Business Intelligence Architect||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science||$75,942|
|Business Intelligence Developer||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science||$60,865|
|Business Intelligence Analyst||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science||$59,834|
|Accountant||Bachelor’s Degree in Business||$47,156|
What Education Is Required for a Career in Business Intelligence?
To pursue a career in business intelligence, you should have at least completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Finance, Data Science, or a similar tech or math topic. Mathematics and statistics will always be at the heart of business intelligence. It is difficult to implement business intelligence without those mathematical components.
The degree program you enroll for will largely depend on the career pathway that you wish to pursue. If you are interested in receiving a big data certification, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in any one of these fields may be a prerequisite. Business intelligence and big data certification should be considered an important part of your education track.
For some entry-level careers, you will only need an associate degree or diploma in the aforementioned fields, provided that you have the meaningful practical experience to back up your skills.
Can I Study Business Intelligence Online?
Yes. Examples of institutions that offer bachelor’s degrees in relevant business intelligence programs are the Penn State World Campus, Oregon State University, and St. Cloud State University. Studying online minimizes study costs and offers a more flexible schedule. This is especially helpful if you want to work while you study.
Common Personality Traits in Business Intelligence Professionals
The best business intelligence practitioners are well-organized and disciplined individuals. They also pay careful attention to detail. They can consume data and extract more from that data than the ordinary individual would. If you are good with problem-solving and are interested in working in data science and business, you should work in BI.
Is a Business Intelligence Job Good for Me?
Yes, a business intelligence job is good for you. As discussed earlier, business intelligence professionals are employed in multiple industries. The majority of these careers offer high salaries and job stability based on the job growth percentages from BLS. Almost all BI careers have job growth projections that are higher than average.
If you have analytic abilities and a sound work ethic, then this would be the perfect line of work for you. There is plenty of room in the market to absorb your skills and talents to make business decisions. You should pursue a business intelligence career in 2021.