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Learn business intelligence with online courses and programs

Business intelligence enables companies to use technology and data for problem-solving. Learn skills for careers in business intelligence and explore how enrolling in a business intelligence course can help you make better business decisions.

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence is the study and management of data using various technologies and strategies to make well-informed business decisions.1 2 Professionals in this field rely on predictive analytics, which are insights created by applying data science in various degrees of complexity, in their daily work. The tools of business intelligence have applications outside of business as well, ranging from urban planning to fighting forest fires, making business intelligence a transferable skill. 

Some key skills and tools to learn for someone looking into careers in business intelligence include application suites like Microsoft’s Power BI or Tableau, which allow a data analyst to take data from various sources and turn it into visualizations; data warehousing, which is the management of large amounts of data used for business analysis; and data management solutions, which entails managing various data management platforms using manual and automated controls.

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Business intelligence course curriculum

An intro to business intelligence course or business intelligence tutorial is likely to focus on managing and interpreting data and may culminate with the awarding of a certificate. To become a business intelligence analyst is to take the tools of a data scientist and use them to inform and empower business decision-makers as they engage in problem-solving. A strong understanding of data analytics, business acumen, and specific industry knowledge, may be necessary for a business intelligence analyst, depending on the position.

For some careers in business intelligence, the fundamentals of math and data science may suffice. For other business intelligence careers, the ability to perform statistical analysis and apply advanced data science techniques may be required. Similarly, some roles require knowledge of one or more coding languages while others do not. Public speaking, communication, and project management skills may be required for those presenting data and visualizations to decision-makers.3

A bachelor’s degree in computer or data science may help students learn some of the technical skills commonly used in the field. In a master’s in data science program, students further expand their knowledge base, paying close attention to real-life applications and trends in the field. Some programs even allow for specialization.  

Business intelligence jobs

There are a wide variety of careers in business intelligence—enough to provide a unique fit for even the most diverse skills, levels of experience, and interests. Some divisions within a company that may require a business intelligence analyst, business intelligence developer, or business intelligence manager include operations, planning, product development, and strategic management. And since data science has applications in every industry, it’s possible to become a business intelligence analyst in a variety of settings ranging from big cities to rural areas. 

Become a business intelligence analyst

Business intelligence careers take many forms. Some people who have careers in business intelligence are much more like data scientists than others. Their jobs may range from data management to machine learning, which entails developing algorithms that use historical data to anticipate trends, opportunities, set-backs, etc.4 Others may be more involved with the business side of things, interacting with decision-makers regularly and engaging in real-world problem-solving, as opposed to strictly data-related problem-solving, such as improving the algorithms used to create predictive analytics. However, some positions are a mix of both providing predictive analytics to decision-makers and using predictive analytics to inform real-world problem-solving with decision-makers.

Software like Microsoft’s Power BI has made creating predictive analytics more accessible to individuals who don’t have a graduate certificate in data science by allowing them to create visualizations from various data sources.5 As a result, to become a business intelligence analyst one may follow the route of taking an online business intelligence course supplemented by online tutorials or analytics boot camps rather than getting a degree. Still, others begin their professional journey completing a bachelor’s degree program and later earning a master’s degree in a relevant field of study or one that aligns with their interests and preferred industry. 

Although some jobs are more demanding than others and require more education, ultimately, in the same way data can be used to make numerous business decisions, data can also create room for several business intelligence careers.