Business Intelligence Analyst Careers


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$70,960 /yr

$34.12 /hr

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Business intelligence analysts see the big picture of a business. They analyze production, logistics, operations, sales, IT, and other business functions; identify opportunities for improvement; and develop plans for implementation. Their ultimate function is to help companies become more profitable, solve key problems, and make stronger decisions.

What is a Business Intelligence Analyst?

A large part of a business intelligence analyst’s job involves using database tools to analyze and assess data collected from client businesses. They may gather data by talking directly to workers, consolidating various company data from different sources, and analyzing processes on the floor. In the database, the analyst may use statistical modeling and analysis packages, simulation tools, and more in order to pinpoint places where a company can streamline and improve.

A business intelligence analyst may be involved in all aspects of an organization, including production and manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, pricing, sales and marketing strategy, technical operations, or HR.

Often, business problems do not have just one possible solution—and a business intelligence analyst’s job involves weighing the cost and benefit ratios of multiple solutions in order to arrive at one or two options to recommend to management staff.

Business Intelligence Analyst Training

Because of the specialized nature of the job, many companies prefer to hire business intelligence analysts from within—this assures the analyst will have a strong background in that particular company’s processes and industry. However, it’s also possible to land a job in this field from outside. Here are the degrees that will most help you do that.

Bachelor’s degree. Most business intelligence analyst positions require a more advanced degree, but a Bachelor’s is a prerequisite. Some entry-level positions are available for those with a Bachelor’s degree, however, particularly those in areas such as management science, operations research, or a technical field such as math, computer science, or engineering. 

Master’s degree. Most higher-level positions and even mid-level positions require a Master’s degree or above. This job requires an intense amount of quantitative analysis; because of this, a background in mathematics or statistics can be helpful. A technical background that includes database software and analysis can also be valuable in this field.

Technical certifications. Business intelligence analysis can be a highly technical field, and certifications in technical areas can also help your qualification for this career. For instance, Microsoft offers the MCSE Business Intelligence Solutions Expert certification; there’s also the ICCP certification for various specializations. Some companies may require separate certifications in specific programming languages or technical skills, to meet their individual needs.

Professional certifications. There are a handful of professional organizations, such as the Data Warehousing Institute, offering credentials such as the Certified Business Intelligence Professional. This particular certification program allows you to focus in one of four different specialties at the Mastery level; with other levels for those of varying amounts of experience.

Business Intelligence Analyst Salary

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median yearly income for people in this profession was around $70,960 as of 2010. Those in the bottom range earned approximately $39,920, while those at the top earned over $122,750.

Job Outlook for Business Intelligence Analysts

Opportunities in this profession are expected to grow by about 15% over the coming decade—about average when compared with economic growth as a whole. The Occupational Outlook Handbook anticipates greater demand for professionals in the field as companies demand more cost savings, efficiency, and performance—and as global economic competition becomes tighter.

Business Intelligence Analysts and Online Degrees

This industry is fairly friendly to accredited online colleges. This is particularly true if you are seeking to earn a new qualification to advance into a BI role within the company you already work for. In these cases, an online degree allows you to study without compromising a full-time role.

In addition, many of the technical and other certifications available for business intelligence analysts are earned almost exclusively online—so the industry is used to seeing online credentials.  


For Further Research

Occupational Outlook Handbook:

Operations Research Analysts





Where to Look for Business Intelligence Analyst Jobs