How To Become A Business Intelligence Developer

Business intelligence (BI) developers are in high demand, as organizations are increasingly relying on data-driven insights to make strategic decisions. BI developers are responsible for designing, developing, and implementing data solutions that help organizations turn data into actionable insights. In this article, we'll explore the steps to become a business intelligence developer, including the education, skills, and experience required for this role.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field is typically required for a career as a business intelligence developer. Coursework in database management, data warehousing, data mining, and programming languages such as SQL, Java, and Python is especially relevant for this role. Some universities offer degree programs that are specifically designed for students who want to pursue a career in data analysis or business intelligence.

Step 2: Gain Experience with BI Technologies and Tools

To become a successful business intelligence developer, you need to have experience with various BI technologies and tools such as Tableau, Power BI, QlikView, and Oracle BI. These tools enable you to extract, analyze, and visualize data from different sources, and turn it into actionable insights. Many organizations offer training programs and certifications for these tools, which can help you gain the necessary skills and experience.

Step 3: Develop Strong Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills

Analytical and problem-solving skills are essential for a career as a business intelligence developer. You need to be able to analyze data from different sources, identify trends and patterns, and develop insights that can help organizations make strategic decisions. You also need to be able to solve complex problems related to data integration, data quality, and data security.

Step 4: Build Strong Programming Skills

Programming skills are also important for a career as a business intelligence developer. You need to be proficient in programming languages such as SQL, Java, and Python, which are commonly used for data analysis and data management. You also need to be familiar with data modeling techniques and database design principles, as well as data warehousing and ETL (extract, transform, load) processes.

Step 5: Gain Experience in Data Analysis and Reporting

To become a successful business intelligence developer, you need to have experience in data analysis and reporting. This includes the ability to create reports and dashboards that provide insights into key business metrics and KPIs. You also need to be able to communicate these insights effectively to business stakeholders and decision-makers.

Step 6: Consider Obtaining a Certification

Obtaining a certification in a relevant field can help you stand out from other job applicants and demonstrate your expertise in BI technologies and tools. Some popular certifications for business intelligence developers include the Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate, Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite 11g Certified Implementation Specialist, and Tableau Desktop Certified Associate.

Step 7: Build a Professional Network

Networking is an important part of any career, including a career as a business intelligence developer. You can join professional organizations such as the International Association of Business Intelligence Professionals (IABIP) or attend industry events to meet other professionals in the field. Building a professional network can help you learn about new opportunities, gain insights into industry trends, and connect with potential employers.

  • Education and Training

The first step to becoming a business intelligence developer is to pursue a degree in a related field such as computer science, information systems, or mathematics. Most employers require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a related field. Some may prefer a master's degree, especially for more senior positions.

Courses in statistics, data management, and programming languages like SQL, Python, and R are essential for this career path. Familiarity with data visualization tools like Tableau, Power BI, and QlikView is also valuable.

Many universities offer degree programs in data science, analytics, or business intelligence specifically. These programs provide students with a more comprehensive and specialized education in this field. Additionally, certification programs, online courses, and bootcamps can be helpful for developing specific skills and staying up-to-date with the latest technology and tools.

  • Gain Work Experience

After completing your education, gaining work experience is critical to building your skills and making yourself more marketable to potential employers. Look for entry-level positions in data analysis, database administration, or business intelligence. These positions can provide hands-on experience working with data and the technology used in business intelligence.

Working in related fields such as software development, data analytics, or database management can also be helpful in gaining relevant experience. Be open to different industries as many companies across various industries are investing in business intelligence.

Volunteering or working on personal projects that involve data analysis or visualization is also a great way to gain practical experience. Building your own portfolio of projects that demonstrate your skills and abilities can make you more attractive to potential employers.

  • Develop Technical Skills

Business intelligence developers require strong technical skills in database management, data analysis, and data visualization. Familiarity with programming languages like SQL, Python, and R is critical, as is experience with data visualization tools like Tableau, Power BI, and QlikView.

In addition to these technical skills, proficiency in project management, communication, and problem-solving are also essential. A good business intelligence developer needs to be able to work collaboratively with others, understand business needs and requirements, and be able to communicate insights and recommendations effectively.

Continuously updating your technical skills and knowledge is important in this rapidly-evolving field. Attend conferences, take online courses, and participate in training programs to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and tools.

  • Network

Networking is an essential part of any career, and business intelligence is no exception. Attending industry events, conferences, and meetups is an excellent way to meet others in the field, learn about the latest trends and technology, and potentially find job opportunities.

Joining professional organizations such as the Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), or the International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology (IACSIT) can also be beneficial. These organizations provide opportunities for professional development, networking, and learning.

  • Consider Certification

Certification is not required to become a business intelligence developer, but it can be beneficial in demonstrating your skills and knowledge to potential employers. Certifications like the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), the IBM Certified Developer - Cognos BI, or the Tableau Desktop Certified Professional are some examples of popular certifications in the field.

While certification can be expensive and time-consuming, it can be a worthwhile investment in your career, particularly if you are looking to differentiate yourself from other job candidates or demonstrate your expertise to potential clients.


Becoming a business intelligence developer requires a combination of technical expertise, education, and practical experience. Pursuing a degree in a related field, gaining work experience, developing technical skills, networking, and considering certification are all essential steps to building a successful career in this field.

The demand for skilled business intelligence developers is only expected to grow as businesses continue to generate vast amounts of data that need to be analyzed and interpreted to make informed decisions. By following the steps outlined above and continuously updating your skills and knowledge, you can position yourself for success in this dynamic and rewarding field.

It's also worth noting that becoming a business intelligence developer is just one of many career paths within the broader field of business intelligence. Other roles in this field include data analyst, data scientist, business analyst, and data architect, among others. Depending on your interests, skills, and career goals, one of these other paths may be a better fit for you.

Ultimately, the key to success in any career is a combination of hard work, dedication, and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt. By committing to ongoing learning and development, building your skills and experience, and networking with others in the field, you can build a fulfilling and successful career as a business intelligence developer.

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