BI Analyst Job Description

Skilled in data analysis and programming, business intelligence (BI) analysts help companies use the data they collect to understand trends, solve business problems, and monitor metrics. They assist with determining the data the company needs, structuring it in an appropriate format, analyzing the data using queries, and creating reports and visualizations for company decision-makers. They work in a typical office environment in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, engineering, healthcare, finance, and technology firms. While they usually have regular work hours, BI analysts work overtime when needed to assist management.

 

BI Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

While a BI analyst’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:

Research Market Trends

BI analysts stay current with what competitors and their own companies do in the industry. They research and analyze market trends using the internet, news, and business publications, and they sometimes interview stakeholders and professional organizations to get more information directly.

Determine Business Information Needs

Working with management, BI analysts discuss which information the company collects from its customers and suppliers and which information would help managers make better financial, customer service, and marketing decisions. This process can also involve determining the right approach for presenting data to management and which analytical tools offer the most potential.

Assist with Data Collection and Modeling

A big part of a BI analyst’s job is determining what information the company needs to collect to answer its business questions. BI analysts also work with databases to put the collected data into a meaningful structure and format for later analysis. This task involves considering business requirements, relationships between data, and benefits and limitations of database technologies.

Analyze and Interpret Data

Armed with an understanding of the business’s needs and having used an appropriate method for data collection and modeling, BI analysts run complex queries on the company’s databases to sort and filter data. They then analyze and interpret the results to look for patterns and determine if the findings answer the business’s questions and are accurate.

Create Reports and Data Visualizations

Using their findings from performing research and analyzing data, BI analysts create written reports management can use to monitor the company’s metrics and make decisions. They also use computer programming languages to create data visualizations in the form of charts and web dashboard applications that help the company track trends.

 

BI Analyst Skills and Qualifications

Skilled at transforming relevant data to help with business decision-making, BI analysts usually have a technical bachelor’s degree and work experience in programming and data analysis. Common skills employers look for when hiring BI analysts include the following:

  • Database knowledge – querying databases requires an understanding of database structures, query languages, and relationships between entities
  • Data analysis – BI analysts use analytical techniques to inspect and sort data into a useful format and to create reports and visualizations that help solve business problems
  • Coding – whether writing database queries using languages like R or building websites with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to display visualizations, BI analysts are fluent in programming languages and have some software development knowledge
  • Problem-solving skills – strong problem-solving skills help BI analysts decide how to take available data and use analytical techniques to answer business questions and make informed decisions
  • Communication skills – communicating findings with management and writing clear, comprehensive reports showing results from their data analyses require strong communication skills

 

Tools of the Trade

BI analysts often use these tools for their work:

  • Database systems software (MongoDB, SQL Server, Teradata)
  • BI software (Tableau, Sisense, NetSuite, SalesForce)
  • Development software (Microsoft Visual Studio, R Studio)

 

BI Analyst Education and Training

BI analysts can find entry-level work with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, business analytics, or a similar technical or business field. These programs teach the basics of programming, database management, computer hardware, statistics, data analysis techniques, and business information systems. To stand out to employers, some BI analysts further their education with a master’s degree in business analytics or data science. These programs cover topics such as data-driven decision-making, statistical computing, data visualization, and data management.

 

BI Analyst Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places BI analysts in its general group for computer occupations that it does not classify separately. Workers in this group make a median wage of about $88,500 annually. BI analysts in the 10th percentile earn about $46,200, and the highest earners make over $139,000 a year. Full-time BI analyst jobs often come with benefit packages that provide paid time off and retirement and insurance plans.

Employment growth for BI analysts through 2026 is expected at a 9-percent rate, which the BLS considers average. Since employers prefer candidates with graduate degrees, earning a master’s or doctoral degree related to business analytics, data analysis, or computer science can improve an aspiring BI analyst’s prospects.

 

Helpful Resources

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a BI analyst, check out these helpful career resources:

Big Data, Analytics, Business Intelligence & Visualization Experts Community – this LinkedIn group keeps its 237,000-plus members current with developments in big data and business intelligence and provides a place to discuss and learn

Successful Business Intelligence: Unlock the Value of BI & Big Data – this book offers BI professionals guidance on querying data, presenting information, and using their findings to help their companies get the best return on investment. It also serves as a technical guide and offers advice on data analysis techniques and tools

Business Intelligence Guidebook: From Data Integration to Analytics – author Rich Sherman has worked in business intelligence for more than two decades. His technical guide walks BI analysts through the process of developing a business case, defining requirements, designing data, using BI tools, and managing projects

 

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