How Do I Become a Business Intelligence Specialist?

D. Nelson

A business intelligence specialist is an expert at using information technology (IT) to improve a business's data functions. To become a business intelligence specialist, you should earn at least an undergraduate degree in a field such as computer science. While it may not be necessary to earn a graduate degree, this credential can certainly be useful. Once you are a full time member of a workforce, it's important that you get as much management experience as possible. You also should get much IT experience designing and implementing business software and systems.

Business intelligency specialists should be adept at using information technology to improve a company's data functions.
Business intelligency specialists should be adept at using information technology to improve a company's data functions.

Business intelligence describes all of the data professionals use to make informed business decisions. Intelligence normally is stored digitally in data warehouses. A business intelligence specialist might help a business to set up and manage data warehouses. He or she also might assist in the design and implementation of business intelligence systems.

To become a business intelligence specialist, you should have a strong understanding of both business management and IT practices. Aspiring specialists should concentrate in computer science, though they should be sure to take courses that enable them to apply these lessons to business contexts. Express to your faculty adviser that you are interested in business intelligence, and he or she should help you to choose the right courses.

A person who would like to be a business intelligence specialist can benefit from a graduate program. Many students take advantage of internship opportunities. Internships provide students with great references and experience. They also are effective hands-on training opportunities.

Another benefit of graduate programs is that they enable students to network with colleagues. Friends you make while studying business IT can later become leads to jobs. Some programs even place students in jobs after graduation. Corporate recruiters visit college campuses to meet promising students.

An individual who wants to become a business intelligence specialist should plan on getting years of experience in both management and IT. Many aspiring business intelligence specialists engage in continuous professional development. In other words, they might join professional organizations and attend courses and seminars. Business intelligence specialists also seek out new skills and earn certificates to demonstrate proficiency.

In most cases, business intelligence specialists generally work as consultants. In other words, professionals hire specialists to help them design and implement business intelligence systems. Consultants may either work independently or for firms. An individual who wants to practice independently should develop a reputation for consulting and have clients write references and testimonials. Individuals seeking employment at consultant firms should compose resumes and cover letters once they have met job requirements.

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