Firstly, welcome to our newest career blog. In this post, we will focus on how to become a business intelligence analyst.
How to become a business intelligence analyst
What does a Business Intelligence Analyst do?
A Business Intelligence (BI) Analyst analyses data used in a business. This data and the interpretation or analysis thereof is usually used for decision making. The role of a BI Analyst should however not be confused with that of a Data Scientist. The biggest difference between the two roles would be related to the kind of data used. The data analysed by a Business Intelligence involves processes and strategies to provide data analysis of business information. This then provided historical, present and predictive views of business operations. The BI analyst, therefore, uses more structured data, while a data scientist would work with both structured and unstructured data similar to data mining.
Within our current digital age, where so many systems, devices and gadgets are connected, there is more data available than ever before. The BI Analyst, therefore, has to find intelligence within this data. They also have to provide an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses based on this data. The role of a BI Analyst is however crucial in providing decision-makers within the business with solid data and an in-depth analysis thereof.
Common functions of business intelligence technologies also include the following:
- online analytical processing,
- data mining,
- process mining,
- complex event processing,
- business performance management,
- text mining,
- predictive analytics and
- prescriptive analytics.
As can be seen above, the tasks of a business intelligence analyst can be very varied. Analysis, problem solving and communication would probably be seen as the most used skills.
So what does a day in the life of a business intelligence analyst look like?
The average day in the life of a business intelligence analyst is quite structured and routined. Mostly a BI Analyst would spend their day working at a computer whether within the office or remotely.
A Business Intelligence Analyst will most likely have a 40-hours or more working week.
A BI Analyst will do the following within this function:
- Analyze market strategies
- Analyze technology trends.
- Collect business intelligence data from industry reports, public information, field reports, or purchased sources.
- Communicate with customers, competitors, suppliers, professional organizations, or others to stay abreast of industry or business trends.
- Generate standard or custom reports summarizing business, financial, or economic data for review by executives, managers, clients, and other stakeholders.
- Identify and analyze industry or geographic trends.
- Maintain or update business intelligence tools, databases, dashboards, systems, or methods.
- Maintain a library of documents, templates, or other reusable knowledge assets.
- Manage the flow of business intelligence information to users.
- Synthesize current business intelligence or trend data.
Skills and Responsibilities of a business intelligence analyst
As a Business Intelligence Analyst predominantly works with data, the following skills are important.
- Firstly, strong technical skills
- Analytical skills
- Communication skills
- Good knowledge and the ability to work with specific software (like Sisense, Looker, Yellowfin, Tableau, SAP Crystal Reports, Domo, Microsoft Power BI, Qlik Sense, IBM Cognos Analytics, Google Analytics etc)
- Understanding problem-solving, and
- Lastly, an understanding of team management
According to the Association for Computing Machinery, a bachelor’s degree in computer science is the academic program that best prepares business intelligence analysts for their duties.
A masters degree in business administration (MBA) is however usually preferred for a role in this field. However, a person with the right experience and professional certifications will also be considered. Alternatively, a master’s degree in information technology or the industry you would like to enter would also be helpful.
Salary expectations for a business intelligence analyst
According to Glassdoor, the average base salary expectations for a Business Intelligence Analyst in the United Kingdom is £35 000 per year as of 9 December 2019. This was however only based on 59 salaries. However, CW Jobs estimated the average salary for business intelligence jobs at £57 500 from a sample size of 216.
Salaries will, however, vary according to experience, seniority and location. A senior business intelligence analysts at Microsoft, however, reported to earn up to £75 000 per year on Glassdoor.
Finding employment as a business intelligence analyst
Finally, once you start looking at job openings for business intelligence analysts, you will realise how many there are. Companies need people in this role for successful decision making. As a function of business administration, I can only see that more and more companies will see the value in this role.
To look for employment as a data scientist, also try these websites.
Also, keep an eye on our STEM career guides page for a more detailed look at different top jobs in the UK.
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