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Our Guide to Business Intelligence Analyst Jobs

While the value of business intelligence (BI) has been known for years, the exponential growth in data, increasing adoption of data-driven decision-making practices, and the growing sophistication of these practices resulting from advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning in recent years means that business intelligence professionals are playing a crucial role in the growth plans of the world’s leading companies. 

This has understandable implications for the business intelligence job market: the US Department of Labor’s O*NET OnLine, drawing on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, gives business intelligence analyst a “bright outlook” for the future, meaning over 8% growth and over 100,000 job openings by 2031. But what does a career as a business intelligence analyst look like and what do you need to break into this field? In this guide, we’ll break down exactly what business intelligence is, the kinds of positions companies are hiring for and the skills they expect candidates to have, and the ways you can start skilling up to launch yourself into the field.

What is business intelligence?

According to business intelligence software provider Tableau, business intelligence (BI)

“combines business analytics, data mining, data visualization, data tools and infrastructure, and best practices to help organizations make more data-driven decisions.”

Just what does this look like? Some use-cases of business intelligence include:

  • Deploying a machine learning algorithm to segment a customer base and optimize marketing spend with targeted advertising

  • Analyzing work processes and other business operations to detect and address inefficiencies

  • Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time to more quickly identify trends and inform strategic planning

What kinds of careers are there in business intelligence?

When it comes to working in business intelligence, there are two primary capacities: as a business intelligence analyst and as a business intelligence engineer. Here’s how they differ, further illustrated by a real-world job posting for each:

Business intelligence analyst

A business intelligence analyst is responsible for collecting, preparing, and analyzing data and then communicating insights through reports, dashboards, or other visualizations. To do so, they meet frequently with business stakeholders to understand information needs. 

Business intelligence analyst salary

In the US, the average salary for a business intelligence analyst is around $89,000.

Business intelligence analyst skills

To succeed as a business intelligence analyst, you need the following skillset:

  • Computer science and information technology: Microsoft Excel, SQL and Tableau, Python or R programming language, BI tools such as IBM’s Power BI

  • Mathematics: probability, statistics, data analysis and data modeling skills, and potentially linear algebra for machine learning

  • Data management: data pipeline management, data warehouse querying and other skills, cloud computing with AWS, and data visualization

  • Business: basic understanding of business fundamentals

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Business Intelligence Analyst – Orchard


  • Design, create, and continuously improve upon metrics, reports, dashboards, and analysis to help company stakeholders measure performance and make informed decisions

  • Closely collaborate with functional group leads throughout the reporting lifecycle, from initial scoping and requirement gathering to deployment of accurate and impactful dashboards

  • Deliver complex analyses and provide insights and recommendations to drive company performance by proactively making connections between Orchard's business areas and the various data produced

  • Dive into and deeply understand new data sources and their underlying data libraries to transform, integrate, and make them accessible for self-directed analysis by stakeholders to answer business questions


  • At least 1-4 years of experience in a business intelligence, data analytics, data science or financial analytics role

  • Proficient in SQL

  • Experience using business intelligence reporting tools (Looker preferred) to surface new data models and create measures on dashboards

  • Experience delivering end to end on a project

  • Demonstrated communication and interpersonal skills to work across diverse stakeholders and cross-functional teams

Business intelligence engineer

While a business intelligence analyst focuses on transforming data into business insights, a business intelligence engineer ensures smooth data operations so that analysis can proceed efficiently and effectively. Accordingly, their responsibilities include developing, implementing, and debugging data warehouses, data pipelines, BI tools, and other crucial business intelligence infrastructure. To do so, a BI analyst must meet frequently with analysts and other stakeholders to identify needs and pain-points.

Business intelligence engineer salary

In the US, the average salary for a business intelligence engineer is around $125,000.

Business intelligence engineer skills

While a business intelligence engineer requires the same basic skills as a business intelligence analyst, they must also possess a more advanced computer science and data management skill set in order to design, build, and ship data infrastructure. These skills include:

  • Computer science: coding with Python, advanced scripting with SQL, coding with Python, data visualization with Tableau or a similar software, experience with software development and data engineering

  • Data management: database management, data mining, data warehousing, advanced knowledge of cloud computing with AWS

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Business Intelligence Data Engineer – Barnes & Noble


  • Expand and optimize data and data pipeline architecture, and support cross functional teams in generating timely insights

  • Support software developers, database architects, data analysts, dashboard developers and data scientists on data initiatives and ensure optimal data delivery architecture is consistent throughout ongoing projects

  • Deploy new solutions and configurations to meet business and compliance requirements

  • Discover current technical standards and best practices (R&D)

  • Deploy security patches, updates, and configuration changes

  • Identify, design, and implement internal process improvements: automating manual processes, optimizing data delivery, re-designing infrastructure for greater scalability, optimal cost and performance

  • Work with multiple business stakeholders in defining the right data requirements to fulfill growing analytics / insights needs across the enterprise

  • Develop data pipelines using PySpark, Python and DB SQL in Databricks in Lakehouse architecture


  • 5+ years of experience in a data engineering environment with hands-on experience developing ADF (Azure Data Factory) pipelines for an enterprise solution

  • 3+ years of experience in writing code in Databricks using Python to transform, manipulate (ETL/ELT) data, along with managing objects in Notebooks, Data Lake, ADLS, Azure Synapse

  • Experience with writing complex SQL Queries, User Defined Function, Stored procedures and Materialized views

  • Working experience with Azure DevOps and Source controls

  • Experience working in a large retail enterprise and understanding of retail-based data and reporting models

  • Experience with reporting tools like PowerBI/Tableau/MicroStrategy

  • Strong analytical skills related to working with different types of datasets from wide variety of data sources

  • Experience with relational SQL and NoSQL databases

  • Experience with data pipeline and workflow management tools

As you can see when comparing each job description, while there is a core skill set shared by business intelligence analysts and business intelligence engineers and they often work together, the differences in the day-to-days and emphases of these positions is pretty striking. A business intelligence engineer, as any data engineer, will likely spend much more of their time working closely with and developing a variety of software, and so will require top-notch expertise in programming and other elements of computer science.

While the analyst will need to be conversant in these areas, their time will more frequently be spent developing inputs for these software and making sense of how the outputs can support business goals.

Your business intelligence career: how to get started?

Your path to a lucrative and stimulating business intelligence career starts with education Your education path to a business intelligence career can vary depending on where you are in your career.

If you are just finishing high school or have a GED, you might consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree program in: business analytics, data analytics, data science, computer science, applied mathematics, business, finance, or some other related field.

If you’re interested in business intelligence engineering, ensure your chosen course of study provides adequate instruction in data engineering and core computer science skills. You can find relevant information on these programs in the following articles:

If you already have a bachelor’s degree and are looking to break into business intelligence: consider bootcamps in business analytics, data analytics, and data science. Often, a bootcamp is all you need with a bachelor’s degree to successfully transition your career. Bootcamps provide comprehensive instruction and career services intended to help participants land an entry-level job. See our guides for more information:

Master’s degree programs in business analytics, data analytics, or data science.

With over two-thirds of data scientists holding master’s degrees by some estimates, it seems this graduate degree is quickly becoming a prerequisite for mid- and senior-level jobs in the data economy. For those who are looking to pursue a master’s degree but would like the flexibility to study online and remote from home or maybe even continue working while they study, online master’s programs are also a great option. To learn more, see the following guides:

If you’re interested in learning more about careers related to business intelligence careers, you can also check out our articles on the typical career paths for a: