Knowing how to properly collect and interpret data can have a significant impact on a business’ success. A BI analyst reviews data to produce finance and market intelligence reports. These reports are used to highlight patterns and trends in a given market that may influence a company’s operations and future goals.
To properly access and analyze data, it’s important to have the right combination of professional experience, technical skills and education. A degree in business analytics can teach you how to create business advantages across markets and industries by deriving value from data analysis. With the flexibility to learn on your own schedule, an online program can help you develop the technical and quantitative skills needed to be competitive in the growing field of business analytics.
The job description for a business intelligence analyst
A typical day for a BI analyst includes collecting data, analyzing it and sharing it with the right audience. These components can break down into more detailed tasks, all of which allow you to positively impact a company’s overall performance. The process on any given data collection project may flow like this:
- Collect business intelligence data from sources which may include industry reports, public information, field reports or purchased findings. This may mean updating your knowledge about relevant technology trends or emerging markets in your industry, in addition to gathering data related to the customers and the market.
- Store the data in your company’s computer database, which may require regular updates. You may also need to establish operational procedures to utilize the database and provide technical support or software maintenance for any unique programs.
- Analyze the data to identify any trends that could impact your business’ strategies.
- Utilize the results of the analysis to support recommendations for action to improve or even grow the company.
- Prepare analytical reports to summarize findings and share with the appropriate company stakeholders through established communication processes.
Throughout this process, you’ll need to work with a variety of people, both internally and externally, to stay aware of trends in your own business and the industry at large. You’ll also need to manage the flow of information so data is analyzed, summarized and routed to the proper stakeholders in a timely manner.
Business intelligence analyst salary and career outlook
According to data compiled by the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), employment in the field that includes business intelligence analysts is projected to grow much faster than average, with 13,500 projected job openings from 2021 to 2031.
A bachelor’s degree is typically required to begin a career as a BI analyst, although graduates of a master’s degree in a field such as business analytics may gain a competitive advantage due to their knowledge of advanced skills and practices, making them potentially more qualified for higher-level positions.
The skills needed to become a BI analyst
The skills needed to be successful in this position include thinking critically, interpreting data and actively listening to clearly understand problems. Business intelligence analysts must be able to fully comprehend the data to organize it, analyze it and present it meaningfully to others. Some of the most important skills hiring managers look for in candidates include:
- Creative problem-solving.
- Critical thinking.
- Data mining and visualization.
- Marketing and predictive analytics.
- Machine learning.
Degrees that prepare you for a career as a business intelligence analyst
Understanding how data can influence business decisions and goals is essential to be successful in a career as a BI analyst. Arizona State University offers two online programs through the W. P. Carey School of Business focused on equipping you with the knowledge and skills needed to enter or move ahead in this field.
Available ASU Online programs include:
- Bachelor of Science in business data analytics: This undergraduate program prepares you to create and manage big data initiatives, as well as associated business processes to facilitate large-scale business data analytics in organizations. Coursework covers topics ranging from data warehousing and dimensional modeling to big data analytics methods and predictive analytics.
- Master of Science in business analytics: This graduate program fosters an environment of global thinking, preparing you to work with big data and the impact it can have on all facets of business. You'll learn to derive value from data and modeling, lead data-driven analyses and create a critical business advantage.
Both programs conclude with a hands-on applied project, giving you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge and skills, and put what you’ve learned to the test in a real-world environment.