How to Become a BI Developer

Business intelligence is a growing field for those who are experts in the data and software field. There is a growing need for Business intelligence experts who have an ability to work in a variety of tech-based environments.

What is a Business Intelligence (BI) Developer?

These people work as BI developers and their primary area is working with software and databases. With “Big Data” growing bigger every day, BI developers are going to be needed on a higher level in the near future in a variety of tech roles.

Career Outlook

It is expected that the need for people in the BI field will increase exponentially as AI and other forms of intelligence increases. They will be needed in both the public and the private sector to ensure security and operations so that the level of risk is low. Additionally, Business Intelligence people will need to possess the following skills.

  • Testing and coding
  • Debugging and Design
  • Tools Implementation
  • AI Analysis

Where will BI Experts Work?

BI professionals will likely work in a number of environments including big corporations, big banks, smaller banking or money institutions, government agencies, and private industry.

They will be responsible for a wide variety of tasks, meaning that the position will be highly coveted in a few years by corporate executives.

Projected Salaries for BI Specialists

If you aspire to work in the Business Intelligence industry, you can increase your chances of making a high salary. Compared to most positions in the business world, it pays very well. Some fields pay more than others, but you should have no trouble finding work in this lucrative field.

The latest salaries of a BI Developer from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that Business Intelligence analysts is around $80,000 per year. Please notice that the title on the BLS government website calls this position a Management Analyst. But the responsibilities and requirements are the same except for the higher technology emphasis of the Business Intelligence professional.

National salaries for Business Intelligence Developers were $95,026 based on over 2 million employees from the past and present working in this field. This is equal to around $50 per hour, on average and a monthly salary of $7,919.

Glass Door shows the average salary around $80,000 at the low end.

Many times, someone with a degree in the field of Management Analysis or Business Management may serve as a BI, provided they have the other coursework that a company expects them to have.

They may serve in the more general capacity of Management Analyst while still providing support as a BI developer. This will depend upon the requirements of a corporation or organization as to the title that you are given. But the responsibilities are a crossover between the tech field and business analysis.

Salaries can be higher in those situations where both a Management Analyst and a Business Intelligence specialist is required.

How to Become a Business Intelligence Specialist

BI developers usually hold a bachelor’s degree in a computer science-related field as a minimum requirement. Some will even go onto get a master’s in computer science.. This is because a BI specialist has to use technology including coding, debugging, and digital analysis to make conclusions about certain situations.

In addition, you may need to take courses in Management Information Systems in order to qualify for some positions in corporate business or IT firms and tech companies.

Graduate degrees such as an MBA are sometimes required, especially if you will be serving as the business manager as well as an IT consultant or BI Expert Analyst.

You should do your homework and find out what the requirements are for the job or positions you aspire to before starting your educational program.

In general, the courses below illustrate the types of coursework you will be required to take to qualify for certification as a Business Intelligence Analyst.

  • Financial Decision-making
  • Data Warehousing and Management
  • Data Analytics and Machine Learning
  • Social Network Analytics
  • Web Mining
  • Risk Management
  • Cognitive Computing

The above courses were taken from a popular BI school and are listed as some of the core courses.

Day in the Life of a BI Developer or Analyst

A day in the life of a BI developer is an interesting one and requires that the BI specialist use all of the skills they have gathered from school and hands-on training and experience. They may be responsible for coding and programming new applications, managing business intelligence data, and distributing information to the right sources. They must be adept at internet security and know how to troubleshoot potential problems.

In essence, the Business Intelligence manager or developer is responsible for using the data to make some of the most important decisions in a company. In other words, they are literally the “intelligence of a business.” It’s possible this position also robot-proofs your income because you are doing something that cannot be handed over to machines.

BI careers can span several different departments and where you might be utilized will depend a great deal on the needs of the corporation or organization for which you are employed.

You can also work as an independent contractor so that you are not responsible to only one company but instead work as a data analyst or business intelligence analyst for a variety of clients as the need arises. Often BI independent contractors can make even more money than those employed by a particular corporation. This depends on the need and the value that is placed on the position.

Licensure, Certifications, and Continuing Education

BI developers can get their certification by taking an assessment that is offered by the Certified Business Intelligence Professionals organization (CBIP). This is offered at the end of your course requirements. You can inquire within your college program and they can direct you to when the next assessment is.

Continuing education is expected and encouraged due to the way technology changes so rapidly today. You must keep up with the latest AI, machine learning, and standards in the business world to be competitive.

People who choose to work in the interesting but challenging field of Business Intelligence should possess the following traits to succeed:

  • Strong analytical thinking skills- The daily tasks of a BI Developer require the person to be able to analyze data quickly but deeply as well as to apply deductive reasoning to solve problems.
  • Business skills- Business Intelligence experts often have an equal mix between business skills and IT abilities so that they can apply these skills to a variety of both business and technical applications and situations.
  • Communications skills (verbal and written)- BI Developers have to communicate with people (as well as machines) throughout the day. They have to work with others in a positive way to ensure the best results, so their communications skills must be good.
  • Strong leadership skills- BI Developers and Business Managers are both leaders in their role. There may be only one BI person in an entire corporation who is responsible to lead a team of IT or business experts. They are the analysts of a company and the company depends on them to lead others to success in acquiring and utilizing data to help the company or clients.
  • Great organizational skills- BI Developers must have a sense of organization both with technological tools and real-world tools. Being able to locate what is needed quickly is a necessary requirement.


If you decide to enter the field of BI (Business Intelligence), you can see a rewarding salary, lots of benefits regarding recognition in your field, and further opportunities within a short time. Focus on polishing your skills in both FinTech and IT, because many banks and financial institutions will want to hire BI Developers and managers in the near future.

The salary is lucrative, the work is challenging, and you’ll be working on the cutting edge of future technology.