What Is a Business Intelligence Analyst and How Do You Become One?


The more a business grows, the more its data can provide valuable insight into its customers and business development. So, if you enjoy analyzing data and searching for ways to use that data to improve a business, you might want a career as a business intelligence analyst.

Working as a business intelligence analyst means you’ll use data and help businesses make better decisions and help them become more efficient in achieving their goals. In this article, you’ll learn what is a business intelligence analyst, including how to become one, the necessary skills, and how much they make.

What Is a Business Intelligence Analyst?


Business intelligence analysts, also known as BI analysts, can analyze data and recommend strategies for a company. They also use data to help businesses make well-informed decisions. BI analysts are proficient in computer programming languages, technologies, and systems. 

Their main goals are to increase productivity and improve workforce efficiency, market positioning, and customer experience with accurate insights.

Business intelligence analysts analyze large amounts of data by examining databases and then produce reports to generate business insights. As such, BI analysts must have a wide range of analytical and business skills that help them in data analysis.

Additionally, the information that business intelligence analysts provide is helpful for companies to determine market trends and stay on top of their competitors. Once they compile the necessary information, BI analysts share it with the adequate departments.

What Does a Business Intelligence Analyst Do?


A business intelligence analyst is responsible for many things. Most importantly, they are responsible for analyzing data to identify if there are gaps in any areas and how they can help to improve the company’s productivity.

Using data modeling and data analysis techniques, a business intelligence analyst determines market trends and data patterns, allowing managers and departments to make smart decisions.

Apart from examining data analysis and organizational databases, other daily activities of a business intelligence analyst include communicating and collaborating with stakeholders by giving presentations or writing reports to share the information gained from data.

However, the duties of a business intelligence analyst vary based on several factors, such as the company they work for or their industry. Typically, the primary responsibilities of a BI analyst include:

  • Analyzing business processes
  • Compiling and analyzing organizational data, such as financial, expenditure, employment, and revenue reports
  • Reviewing and validating customer data
  • Reviewing and analyzing competitor data
  • Compiling data about problems and recommending solutions to increase the performance of systems and efficiency of processes
  • Evaluating the efficacy of strategies
  • Generating the performance of the company by doing a cost-benefit analysis on projects
  • Developing procedures and strategies for the analysis and collection of data
  • Identifying business strategies and processes to help improve the company’s efficiency

How Do You Become a Business Intelligence Analyst?


Becoming a business intelligence analyst is not easy, and there are a few steps to follow.

Step 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree

The first step in becoming a business intelligence analyst is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Common majors include computer science, data science, business administration, economics, statistics, and other related fields that give you insight into business processes.

No matter which field you choose, you should focus on courses related to statistics, data analysis, technology, database design, and data visualization, as these are beneficial for your role in the future.

Step 2: Complete an internship

Most bachelor’s degree programs offer internship programs in the field of business or other specific industries. Suppose you want to become a business intelligence analyst. In that case, you should consider completing an internship program because this can help you gain work experience, so you can qualify for any position you want.

For starters, an internship in the financial industry would be beneficial since it will equip you with the necessary information about the inner workings of a business. These internship experiences will give you a better understanding of the types of projects that a business intelligence analyst deals with daily.

Step 3: Obtain professional certifications

You should also consider getting certified if you want to highlight your skills in certain areas. Some employers require specific certifications to work as a business intelligence analyst.

For example, you can opt for the Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP) certification, Microsoft’s: Data Analyst Associate certification, business administration certification, and computer programming certifications. You can also get certified in computer languages, such as SAS.

Step 4: Pursue an advanced degree

Many business intelligence analyst graduates want to pursue a master’s degree. The most common degree is a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Still, you could also get a master’s degree in information technology or a related industry in which you want to specialize.

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It’s important to note that a master’s isn’t usually required if you have professional certifications and sufficient work experience, but it does open more career opportunities.

Step 5: Search for business intelligence analyst positions

After acquiring the necessary education, certifications, and experience, you are ready to start looking for job positions as a business intelligence analyst. It’s essential to review the job description of the place you’re interested in, as this can tell you more about the qualifications and skills that you need to apply.

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

Becoming a business intelligence analyst can take you a minimum of four years. Throughout this period, you must complete at least your bachelor’s degree and an internship to gain entry-level experience. However, depending on your specialization, it may take longer if you want to obtain a master’s degree, gain more work experience, and get professionally certified.

What skills do you need?

To be a successful business intelligence analyst, you must possess hard and soft skills. You must analyze and understand data and have excellent communication and problem-solving skills. Additionally, you’re expected to be detail-oriented and have good presentation and time-management skills.

Some other skills may include:

  • Leadership abilities
  • Ability to brainstorm and collaborate with team members
  • Ability to work within a diverse workforce
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Proficient in ETL (extract, transform, load)
  • Excel and SQL
  • Database design
  • Data mining and analytics
  • Cloud computing

Business Intelligence Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

A job as a business intelligence analyst is one of the best roles in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field. That said, this is a job that pays well.

According to PayScale, a business intelligence analyst’s annual salary ranges between $48,701 and $93,243, or $66,645 per year. However, the salary depends on the company’s size, location, specialization, or experience level.

Regarding job outlook, the job market for business intelligence analysts is estimated to increase by 14% from 2020 to 2030, with around 99,400 openings projected each year. More and more organizations are looking for ways to stand out from the competition. Since BI analysts can provide necessary insights, such organizations always have opportunities to get employed.


A business intelligence analyst is a significant factor in a company’s development. They use their skills to gather and analyze data, find patterns that could potentially improve a company’s practices, and share those findings with their team or clients. If you are into business and like to see growth and at the same time you are good with numbers, a career in this field may be for you. In addition, the job market is currently thriving, and the salary is always a bonus, so you know you’ll have plenty of career opportunities working as a business intelligence analyst.

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