How to carve out a successful career in business intelligence & analytics


It doesn’t take an oracle to see that forward-thinking businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on data and analytics to function.

And if you’re looking for a career with great promise, you may consider carving out a path in the business intelligence and analytics space.

Why Business Intelligence?

It doesn’t take much to see that the importance of data and analytics has swelled considerably over the years. Data-driven business decisions are the norm and businesses that have access to the right data, from the right sources, at the right time can make better strategic choices about both the present and the future.

If you’re a “numbers person” who is looking for a career field that’s relevant, growing, and guaranteed to give you job opportunities, earning potential, and variety, the business intelligence field may be the perfect fit.

There are lots of different niches and job titles underneath the business intelligence heading, but the role of business intelligence analyst is usually a solid landing spot for those interested in the field.

“Business intelligence analysts help a company put the data it already collects to use in order to increase the company’s efficiency and maximize profits,” Discover Data Science explains. “They comb through large amounts of data by querying databases effectively, and then produce reports and identify trends to generate actionable business insights. Business intelligence analysts must have a range of skills in big data, especially data analysis, as well as keen business understanding.”

As a business intelligence analyst, you’ll be required to carefully evaluate data, look for tendencies, and then discuss your results and suggestions with key stakeholders and decision makers. The job requires dexterity in multiple areas.

The Skills and Characteristics You’ll Need

A perfect formula or recipe doesn’t exist. However, there are business intelligence skillsthat will increase your chances of finding success in the field. They include:

Technical Proficiency

You’re going to need numerous back-end business intelligence skills to thrive. Common technical skills you’ll find useful include database design and data architecture, data security and privacy, data visualisation, the ability to handle all variants of SQL, and a firm grasp on data mining and analytics.

People Skills

It’s not all technical, however, In many business intelligence positions – particularly those of leadership – you’ll be required to present and communicate data to others within and outside of the organization. While you don’t have to be the world’s best public speaker, you do need the ability to relay ideas and persuade people to act.


On the business side of things, it’s helpful if you have a knack for problem-solving and critical thinking. You’ll encounter situations that can’t be diagnosed in a manual or course. Having the ability to think for yourself will allow you to come up with solutions that benefit your employers and clients.



Finally, patience is a must-have attribute. Working with data all day long for weeks, months, and years on end can feel tiring and repetitive. Being able to stay focused during these periods will help you keep a level of sanity that’s needed in the position.

Getting Started in the Industry

The business intelligence field is growing by the day, which means new opportunities and positions are opening up on a regular basis. However, it’s not as easy as waltzing into the door of a major corporation and asking for a job. You’ll need to groom yourself into an attractive candidate.

Education is always important. Today, there are actually a many different business intelligence related degrees. Many universities offer undergraduate degree programs in Business Intelligence and Analytics Management. There are also several programs at the graduate level that specialize in areas like financial decision making, data warehousing, and social network analytics. But there’s more to getting your foot in the door than passing the right courses and having a diploma in hand.

“There are numerousbusiness intelligenceeducational opportunities,” consultant William McKnight mentions. “However, I’m not sure if education alone, unless it is extensive and possibly involves certification, will get you into business intelligence.”

Certifications are a big deal in this industry. They’re the mark of a well-prepared and experienced professional who is capable of handling very specific responsibilities. Some common business intelligence certifications include the Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP) and the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP).

But more than anything else, getting started in this industry is about who you know. If you’re serious about working in business intelligence, you have to network. You also must be willing to accept a low-paying job, entry-level position or even an internship to get your foot in the door. Sacrifice is the name of the game.

If you want a career in business intelligence, you can go out and get it. It takes hard work, but the rewards are clear.