Empower your career as a Business Intelligence Analyst

  • Richard Thelwell
  • January 15, 2016

business-intelligence-analyst-careerBusiness Analytics is hot. In businesses large and small, executives are turning to analytics to drive marketing insights and performance improvements. And fairly obviously, in many cases this then sparks a requirement for Business Intelligence Analysts to carry out those analytics. So if Business Analytics is hot, the demand for Business Intelligence Analysts is just as hot.

The good news for any would-be Business Intelligence Analyst: with a little effort, most computer-literate people with a quantitative methods background can rise to the challenge. Full-time postgraduate degrees in analytics can help—and these days, many universities offer them—but they’re not mandatory.

So if you’d like to move your career path in the direction of becoming a Business Intelligence Analyst, it’s not necessary to give up the day job.

Look closely at the Business Analytics training and education that’s on offer, and there are courses available to suit most budgets, skill levels, and timescales.

Becoming a Business Intelligence Analyst: university-level education

Just because you don’t want to quit the day job and study at Master’s level for a year, you shouldn’t give up on sources of formal university-based education.

A little research will soon reveal if any universities which are local to you run courses on a part-time basis—and with Business Analytics currently a hot topic among education-seekers, you could well be in luck.

A range of part-time university courses are available for business intelligence analysts

Another option is distance learning, perhaps supplemented by occasional visits to your universities of choice. So cast the net wider, and look to see what’s on offer at universities more broadly—because for a course that’s 100% distance learning, without the need to attend at all, your university of choice may not even be within the same country.

And don’t forget entire universities that are 100% focused on distance learning, either, without a traditional physical presence. Here in the UK, for instance, there’s the Open University—but there are equivalents overseas, especially in the United States.

Becoming a Business Intelligence Analyst: commercial providers

There’s no shortage of commercial training providers. The advantage of such providers is that they are very focused on the specific skills that learners need; the disadvantage is that the courses that they offer can be oriented around particular software products, rather than building a broader skill set.

But if it’s specific software skills that you’re looking for, then commercial training providers can be a good bet—not least because their offerings are often more affordable than university-based training.

Niche business analytics software providers offer such courses, but so too do the major ERP and business analytics vendors—names such as Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP.

In particular, it can be worth taking a look at Microsoft’s Virtual Academy, which is free, and perhaps easiest of all to fit into a busy schedule, as the training is 100% online, and self-paced.

Becoming a Business Intelligence Analyst: the MOOC alternative

The MOOC alternative? What’s a ‘MOOC’? Well, if that’s the question that you’ve just asked yourself, then you’re one of the diminishing number of people who aren’t tuning into the vast potential of Massively Open Online Courses, offered by providers such as Coursera and edX.

Running courses developed by—and in association with—leading global universities (and in edX’s case, from Microsoft, as well), MOOCs offer highly-focused courses usually packaged into four- or eight-week nuggets. Moreover, such courses can combine to build ‘specialisations’—and there is no shortage of MOOC-based Business Analytics specialisations.

Online courses can be a great way to enhance your analytics skills

And the beauty of a MOOC-based course is that it combines the advantages of all the other options—fully-accredited education from reputable leading universities, coupled to on-line distance learning, and affordability.

Perhaps better still, MOOCs have a business model that balances affordability with certificated options for those wanting accredited certificates. In other words, while many courses can be undertaken free, a certificate is available if you’re prepared to pay a modest amount, typically around $50 or £30.

Becoming a Business Intelligence Analyst: just do it!

Roll it all together, and becoming a Business Intelligence Analyst needn’t remain a daydream.

Employment opportunities for Business Intelligence Analysts are strong, skills in Business Analytics are very much in demand, and—with Business Analytics technology rapidly re-writing the art of the possible—there’s never been a better time to make the move.

And as we’ve just seen, there are multiple options when it comes to acquiring the relevant skills.

So what’s stopping you?

To learn more about Business Intelligence and the solutions available, download our free complete guide below.