What is the Career Path of Business Intelligence? Top Careers

As markets in significant business industries become more competitive every year, businesses need to make the best decisions to ensure future success.

By analysing data, they can make more informed decisions with numbers supporting them. This way, they do not have to worry about wasting money on assets, tools, or employees that will not benefit the organisation. 

This is where business intelligence careers come into play. 

In this article, we will discuss business intelligence, give you a list of top data careers, and show you why you should consider this career path.

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is the process of analysing data and delivering actionable insights to help executives and managers make better business decisions. 

As part of the business intelligence process, workers collect data, analyse it, and create actionable reports. The end goal of BI is to help businesses increase revenue, achieve higher efficiency, and become more competitive.  

In order to attain, analyse, and summarise the data, businesses need BI software, IT systems, and, most importantly, professionals who can read the data. 

Business intelligence career paths

There are several careers within business intelligence. These include, but are not limited to: 

Market research analyst

Market research analysts gather and analyse data about competitors and consumers. They study consumer preferences so businesses can offer the best products and services. 

They also study other factors, such as business conditions to ensure the company maintains a competitive advantage in the market. 

Some of their day-to-day tasks include collecting and assimilating data, identifying trends, and creating visually appealing reports. Market research analysts often specialise in either qualitative or quantitative research. 

Financial analyst

A financial analyst tracks a company’s financial performance against a plan, analysing its condition within the market. They create forecasts and help financial managers make strategic financial decisions to increase revenue. 

Some of their daily duties include looking at the company’s financial data, creating economic models based on results, developing financial plans, and reporting to organisational leaders. 

Computer systems analyst

Computer systems analysts create diagrams that help developers and software architects build computer systems. They are responsible for studying a company’s current computer systems, cloud computing and data storage systems and designing improvements for them. 

Doing so helps the company have more efficient operations to achieve better customer service and increased profits. 

Some of their daily tasks include running system checks, liaising with vendors, troubleshooting software, analysing computer data, and creating reports. 

Operations research analyst

Operations research analysts work in business, logistics, and healthcare industries. They are responsible for helping companies create more streamlined operations, supply chains, marketing, and pricing model processes. 

They review operations and sales data, speak with customers about their experiences, and gather employee input. 

Some of their day-to-day duties include reporting to leaders, collecting data, conducting assessments, identifying appropriate solutions, and more. 

Why pursue a career in business intelligence?

As you can see, business intelligence offers a wide range of career opportunities that are all very lucrative. 

According to Indeed, these are the average salaries of careers within business intelligence: 

Aside from the good pay, business intelligence careers also have an excellent career outlook locally and internationally. According to Business Tech, data professionals are in high demand in South Africa. Companies need business intelligence professionals with high levels of skill: 

  • Excellent analytical skills, so they can read data analytics effectively. 
  • Technical skills, so they thoroughly understand database design and architecture. 
  • Problem-solving skills, so they can solve issues such as funding shortages, technology needs, and managerial problems. 
  • Time-management skills, so they can divide their tasks appropriately and finish company and client projects on time. 
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills so they can share their findings in an easily understandable way. 
  • And more

Furthermore, business intelligence jobs are also in high demand overseas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of operations research analysts is projected to grow by 23% from 2021–2031. 

Furthermore, the employment of financial analysts is also expected to grow by 9% over the same period. 

This makes a career in business intelligence an excellent option for people planning to work in South Africa or abroad. 

How to start a career in business intelligence

Most business intelligence careers require a bachelor’s degree from a postsecondary institution. A bachelor’s degree in business administration is usually a good option, depending on the type of BI career you want to pursue.

This degree will take you three years to complete. Inside, you will learn the necessary skills and knowledge to attain entry-level data analyst jobs. 

Once you attain an entry-level position, you can build your practical skills in the industry and work your way up into higher-paid roles. 

Alternatively, if you have worked in the industry for a while and already have a bachelor’s degree, you can decide to earn a master’s or doctoral degree. These degrees look excellent on your resume and could help advance your career into leadership or executive positions. 

Discover why upskilling through education is essential

Learn about business intelligence with REGENT 

If you are interested in looking more into a BI career but you are not ready to make a three-year commitment to study for a degree, we have the perfect course for you. 

REGENT offers an Introduction to Data Analysis short course that will give you an overview of what a career in data involves and whether it is the right fit for you. 

You will learn to analyse consumer behavioural insights, measure data, and identify business opportunities using business intelligence tools.

After this course, you will know whether a business intelligence analyst career is something you want to pursue moving forward.


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