How to Become a Business Intelligence Developer

BI 1

Markets are constantly growing and changing and this constant growth and change have made it necessary to create valuable information from data. Every existing company has its past and present status recorded in bits of data and since businesses are now aware of the value derivable from these bits, Business Intelligence has begun to grow as a high in-demand career path. It is no longer enough to collect and store data, instead, data is now gathered for more profitable actions.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to technologies, applications, and processes put in place to collect, integrate, analyse and present business information. It also refers to systems that optimize business decisions and drive success through the combination of technology, business processes, data, and analytics. Business Intelligence uses software and application services to transform data into useful information that can inform an organisation’s business decisions.

Furthermore, Business Intelligence often refers to a range of tools that provide rapid, easy access to information about a business’ current state, based on data that is available. It provides a way for business stakeholders to examine data to help understand trends and derive insights by restructuring the effort needed to search, merge and query the necessary data to make comprehensive business decisions.

Business Intelligence Developer

Who is a Business Intelligence Developer?

Business Intelligence Developers are engineers that use all the features of Business Intelligence tools to get the data that companies need, the most important being discovering areas of revenue loss and identifying where advancements can be made to save money for the business or increase its profits.

Responsibilities of a Business Intelligence Developer

Formulating business requirements for Business Intelligence tools: Business Intelligence is always tied to the industry that it is being used. This means that Business Intelligence tools differ from one organisation to another. It is the responsibility of the Business Intelligence Developer to draw out the requirements of the Business Intelligence tools in the industry they work.

Business Intelligence Developers translate business needs to technical ones: This means that as a Business Intelligence Developer, you will be responsible for articulating tasks that cover a user interface and reporting capabilities. You will describe whether a user interface must be an interactive dashboard with a drag & drop interface, or a set of fill-in fields with data properties, whether a system needs data visualizations and how a user will interact with it as well.

Leading Business Intelligence software development, deployment, and maintenance: As a Business Intelligence Developer, you must perform a technical lead role for the team of software developers. A Business Intelligence developer makes tactical decisions on the developed software. They are also responsible for testing and debugging during the pre-launch and post-launch stages.

Report curation: A Business Intelligence Developer is responsible for controlling how users query data and how reporting works.

Data warehouse design: The architectural style of the data storage unit does not directly affect business development. However,  the Business Intelligence Developer may be part of the designing process.

Data and meta-data documentation: A Business Intelligence Developer can be involved in the process of storing data and meta-data.This is useful during the development process.

Technical document creation: A Business Intelligence Developer creates a document that guides users on the usage of the Business Intelligence interface.

Meeting between Business Intelligence Developers

Skills of a Business Intelligence Developer

Programming Skills: Knowledge of SQL Programming is the basic requirement to perform analytical reporting and business intelligence. This skill is required to fetch the data in Business Intelligence reports from Relational database and to perform the data validation from Data Warehouse. Using SQL, you can compare the values which are coming in Business Intelligence reports against different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Business Acumen: An essential skill for a Business Intelligence Developer is the ability to understand and communicate effectively in areas that are specific to the industry and organization they are analysing. You need a solid foundation and substantial knowledge of your industry as well as your organization’s business model, strategy and objectives, its key issues and its competitors. Having a solid business acumen helps you follow a top-down approach to translating your organization’s strategy into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). You can do this for executive, management or operational levels to support strategic, tactical or day-to-day decision-making.

Communication Skills: A Business Intelligence needs to be able to describe the data, explain their analysis of that data, and then offer possible solutions. You must be able to use PowerPoint, handle group presentations, interviews to secure information, present graphical data, draw consensus on research priorities, facilitate group discussion, write summaries, do technical writing, and pitch proposals. Other communication skills like teamwork, listening, conveying complex information in understandable terms, and leadership are also very important.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills are essential to define a business’s problems correctly. You need to dig deeper and start determining what is causing it. As a Business Intelligence Developer, you need to come up with clear suggestions or solutions to help your company make better business decisions. You must be able to identify problem areas, determine the factors that contribute to the problems, weigh alternative solutions, assess stakeholders’ perception of the problem, estimate the cost for solving the problems, and propose solutions. In doing all this, you must also be creative in your decision making, carryout adequate research, lead brainstorming sessions, and manage projects.

Debugging and Troubleshooting Skills: At every stage of designing, developing, and maintaining, strong troubleshooting skills are a necessity. Working with data is complex and if we speak about business data, there is a certain degree of complexity connected with security issues, data access, permissions, updates, and maintenance of the whole platform. The testing phase is all about finding bugs in the system. But fundamentally, a Business Intelligence Developer will fix issues bound to queries and data representation.

Educational Requirements for Business Intelligence Developers

To become a Business Intelligence Developer, you must obtain a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or programming. Thankfully, there are many schools offering degrees in Computer Science. Below are some institutions offering top quality degrees in the field.

Plymouth University in the United Kingdom offers a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science for international students and charges a tuition fee of £13,800. The duration of the program is 3 years full-time plus optional placement. The degree promises technical skills in computational theory, software development on a variety of devices and platforms, database development, computer hardware and networking. In addition to the technical content, you will acquire an awareness of social, legal and ethical aspects of the IT industry. The university has a similar degree, a BSc (Hons) in Computing and Software Development. It offers this degree for the same tuition.

The University of Limerick in Ireland offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems. The tuition for international students is £16,465. The program aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills to become a successful and effective computer professional. The duration of the program is 4 years full-time.

The University of New Brunswick in Canada offers a Bachelor of Computer Science degree. The tuition for international students is $8,073. The degree promises to help enlarge your world-view and give you the background and qualifications needed to pursue rewarding careers in computing. The degree will teach you the fundamentals of computer science, including how to design and build software, how to develop effective ways to solve problems, and how to create new and better ways of using computers.

BI 3

Stages of Career Development

After gaining considerable experience as a Business Intelligence Developer, you can get a position as any of the following:

  • Analyst (BI)
  • Project Manager (BI)
  • Developer (BI)
  • SQL Server (BI)
  • Administrator (BI)
  • Manager (BI)
  • Consultant (BI)

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for all database administrators will grow by 11% from 2016 to 2026. This is faster than average when compared to all occupations. The reason for this projected increase was companies’ rising need for assistance in organizing data in a manner that is easy for analysts to review and understand.

Typical Employers of Business Intelligence Developers

The businesses that employ this set of Developers are involved in:

  • Computer systems design and related services
  • Information
  • Finance and insurance
  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • Manufacturing


The national average salary for a Business Intelligence Developer is £44,934 per year in the United Kingdom. (

The average salary is $101,515 per year in the United States. (

The average salary is $73,662 per year in Canada. (

The average salary is ₦340,000 per month in Nigeria. The entry-level salary is ₦58,000 per month and the senior level salary is ₦578,000 per month.

Careers similar to Business Intelligence Development

Database Administrator: Database administrators oversee company databases that store their business data. Since information storage is vital to many companies, database administrators tend to be highly trained in computer systems. As a Database Administrator, you ensure that your organization’s databases are operational, searchable and secure. Database administrators oversee storing, organizing, presenting, using and analysing data and database management software. Whatever the information storage needs of a company are, a database administrator strives to meet them. This includes setting up new computer databases or integrating data from old systems to new systems.

Computer Systems Manager: Computer Systems Managers are trained in computer systems management technology. They work at a strategic and supervisory level, taking responsibility for the application of technology for their employer’s company. Computer Systems Managers train staff, troubleshoot, and install and maintain hardware and software for a multi-user computer system. A Computer Systems Manager is relied upon to keep things working seamlessly and improve the way an organization makes use of technology.

Other similar careers are Enterprise Architecture, Data Science, Software Development.

Business Intelligence

Postgraduate options

MSc Business Intelligence Analytics from The University of Law Business School in London. The tuition for international students is £17,000. The duration of the program is 12-18 months full-time. The program promises to help you develop an understanding of the new tools available to apply correct statistical techniques for decision making. You will also learn the required skills to communicate your findings in ways that non-data scientists will understand.

MSc. in Business Intelligence & Analytics from École Supérieure de Commerce de Clermont (ESC Clermont) Business School in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The tuition is EUR 11,500. The program duration is 16-18 months. The language of Insturction is English. The programme allows students to explore and master the analytical techniques. It equally helps to understand software tools, information systems and applications that are employed to translate data and information into tangible outcomes.

Master of Science in Business Intelligence & Analytics from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, USA. The tuition for international students is $1,023 per credit. The duration of the program is 2 years with the option of part-time or full-time. The program promises to equip you with the foundation you need to effectively extract and evaluate data for decision-making purposes. This expertise will allow you to distinguish yourself in the evolving field of business analytics. You will also be able to develop in-depth knowledge, as well as critical business skills.

Professional Certifications for Business Intelligence Developers

Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP): The certification is designed for senior-level personnel in the information systems and technology industry. It focuses on data management and business analytics. It demonstrates your current knowledge with Business Intelligence technologies and your conversance with its best practices. The certification requires that you have two or more years of full-time experience in computer information systems, data modelling, data planning, data definitions, metadata systems development, enterprise resource planning, systems analysis, application development and programming, or information technology management. The initial certification is valid for four years. You will be able to renew thereafter. To recertify,  you will present proof of 120 credit hours of continuing education since the last renewal.   The price of the exam is $400 and an annual fee of $125 is paid to the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) each year after the first.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: BI Reporting: The certification demonstrates your expertise in analysing data with both Power BI and Excel. It proves your knowledge of data analysis, data visualization, modelling, dashboards, and direct connectivity to data sources in Excel and Power BI. The certification serves as a first step toward the higher-level Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Data Management and Analytics certification. The certification requires passing one of two exams and does not require renewal. The price of each exam is $165.

Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite 11g Certified Implementation Specialist: The certification is designed for mid-level implementation team members and it demonstrates your skills in many areas including installing Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, building the BI Server metadata repository, building BI dashboards, constructing ad hoc queries, defining security settings, and configuring and managing cache files. The certification does not expire, meaning you do not have to renew it. The price of the exam is $245.

Next steps…

Should you be considering a career in Business Intelligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for further guidance. Let’s help you build a great future. Click here to send an email now.


Table of Contents

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Scroll to Top