Business Intelligence (BI) - the process of using technology to extract actionable intelligence from organizational data - is one of the most sought-after skills in the modern workforce. In order to improve offerings, reduce costs or otherwise gain a competitive edge, organizations are amassing huge data caches and driving record demand for BI analysts to interpret this wealth of information. Professionals with degrees in business intelligence will be well-positioned to capitalize on this trend.
The following certificates and online degree programs in business intelligence feature coursework in marketable skills such as data mining, machine learning, data visualization, BI programming and more.
This page will break down the most important considerations when choosing a business intelligence program, including:
- the classes you should look for in the curriculum of a business intelligence degree
- various levels of BI programs with data like cost, length & admission requirements
- careers and salaries you can achieve with a college degree in business intelligence
- answers to the most frequently asked questions from prospective BI students
Popular Business Intelligence Classes
The skills you will learn during the program are the most important factor when choosing a business intelligence degree. Here are some marketable hard skills, soft skills and certifications that employers want, and which you should look for when choosing a business intelligence program.
Hard skills are the tools, techniques and platforms you will use on the job. Look for these hard skills in a business intelligence degree:
- Data Mining: Data mining is the sorting of massive data sets to identify patterns that can be used to predict future business trends and power smarter decision-making.
- Popular BI Platforms: Learning how to use the leading business intelligence programs will increase the value of your BI degree and boost your job prospects. Sought-after business intelligence platforms include SAS, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Qlik, IBM Cognos and Tibco.
- Advanced Statistics: As the mathematical discipline that covers the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data, statistics is a vital skill for BI analysts and data scientists.
- Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning: AI and ML are making a big splash in the business intelligence world; a key reason for this is their effectiveness in constructing predictive analytics models.
- Data Visualization: Making your BI findings clear to decision makers by the use of charts, graphs and other illustrations, a.k.a., data visualization, is a key competency to look for in a business intelligence degree program.
- Big Data Analysis Tools: Technologies used to extract actionable intelligence from big data sets are in high demand across all industries. Marketable big data platforms include MongoDB, Cassandra, Apache Spark and Hadoop.
- Business Intelligence Programming: Some BI and data analytics roles require coding expertise; marketable languages to look for in a business intelligence degree program include Python, R, SQL, Java and Scala.
- Finance and Economics: In a field like this where business intersects technology, it's smart to attend finance and economics courses that will increase your business acumen.
Soft skills are the communication and interpersonal skills that will benefit graduates in the field. Marketable soft skills to look for in a business intelligence degree program include:
- Presentation & Public Speaking: How well you present your findings to bosses, colleagues and clients is an integral part of business intelligence. Beyond the aforementioned BI platforms which can assist with presentations, general speaking skills as well as expertise in slideshow tools like Microsoft PowerPoint are key.
- Critical Thinking & Problem Solving: The ability to think deep and creatively lets BI analysts recognize the patterns, connections, and trends in the data they analyze, making this a key soft skill set in any business intelligence training program.
- Organization & Multitasking: Business intelligence professionals are often running multiple high-level analyses simultaneously, making vital the ability to keep their priorities clear and projects progressing.
Some business intelligence degrees include exam prep for sought-after industry certifications. These are some valuable certificates to look for in a BI or data analytics program:
- Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP): Offered by the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP), the CBIP is designed for experienced BI professionals (typically 5+ years) and is among the most marketable business intelligence certificates. This cert covers BI skills in areas like data analysis and design, business analytics, team leadership, and data integration, and is available in 2 levels: Associate/Practitioner and Mastery.
- Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate: Microsoft’s popular credential for its Power BI suite validates your ability to prepare and model business data, visualize and present data, analyze data, and deploy and manage BI projects. Training and certification in Power BI will make a valuable addition to your business intelligence degree program.
- Qlik Sense Business Analyst Certification: Analysts with this Qlik credential have the skills and experience to identify business intelligence opportunities in Qlik Sense, design and develop BI applications, prepare and load data models, and build data visualizations.
- SAP Certified Application Associate - SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.2: This SAP certification validates the expertise to administer SAP’s popular business intelligence platform, including supporting users and groups, accessing corporate data through the platform's web portal, and designing and deploying scalable BI solutions.
- Tableau Certified Data Analyst: Tableau data analyst certification proves the ability to make impactful decisions by understanding the business problem, identifying the key data to analyze, and delivering actionable insights.
Top-Rated Business Intelligence Degrees
These online degree programs in business intelligence and data analytics best reflect the skills and credentials that employers demand.
Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics
Capella's bachelor's degree in data analytics will prepare you for a variety of job roles such as data analyst, database manager and business intelligence developer. Core curriculum in this online program includes valuable IT domains like cyber security, programming, networking and project management, and how to apply these skills to achieve data-driven business goals. This degree features courses from SAS Institute (developers of the industry-leading Statistical Analysis System software suite) which prepare students for the SAS Certified Base Programmer certification exam.
- Includes certification prep for:
- SAS Certified Base Programmer
- CompTIA A+ and Network+
- Data Governance and Information Security
- Integrate & Analyze Data from Multiple Sources
- Data Extraction, Transformation & Loading (ETL)
- Data Interpretation & Statistical Analysis in SAS
- Big Data Delivery Strategies and Creative Reporting
- Data Distribution in Cloud and Virtual Environments
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - Data Analysis
SNHU's online bachelor's degree in computer science with the data analysis concentration covers the necessary skills and platforms to manage the vast data stores of the modern enterprise. Graduates from this program will be prepared for job roles such as business intelligence analyst, database administrator and big data specialist.
- Create and Manage Structured Database Environments
- Use Data Analysis to Meet Organizational Goals
- Advanced Statistics for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)
- Wield Emerging Tech in Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to Analyze Big Data for Actionable Intelligence
Business Intelligence Degree Levels
College degrees in business intelligence and data analytics come in multiple levels, the 3 most common being associate, bachelor’s, and master’s. The ideal BI degree for you will depend on multiple factors, including your current level of education, career goals, and the time and money you wish to invest in training.
Here are the most popular types of business intelligence programs along with the cost, duration, and admission requirements for each:
Associate Degree in Business Intelligence
Associate degrees in business intelligence or data analytics usually take 2 years to complete as a full-time student. Typical admission requirements for a BI associate degree are a high-school diploma or passing grade on the GED.
The average net price (after financial aid has been applied) for an associate degree in business intelligence is $8,147, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Positions you can pursue with a business intelligence associate degree include entry-level data analyst and junior business analyst.
Bachelor’s Degree in Business Intelligence
It usually takes 4 years to complete a BI bachelor’s as a full-time student. Typical admission requirements for a bachelor of business administration (BBA) or bachelor of science (BS) in business intelligence are a high-school diploma or GED. Some business intelligence bachelor's programs require a certain highschool GPA or SAT score; these requirements vary by school.
The average net price (after financial aid) for a bachelor's degree in business intelligence is $22,060, according to current data from the NCES.
Career paths you can pursue upon earning a business intelligence bachelor’s degree include business intelligence engineer, BI analyst, data scientist, and customer experience analyst.
Master’s Degree in Business Intelligence
Business intelligence master’s programs can usually be completed within 2 years as a full time student. Common admission requirements for a master of science (MS) or master of business administration (MBA) in business intelligence include a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study. Some BI Master’s programs also require a certain score on the GRE or GMAT exam.
The average net price (after financial aid) for a masters degree in business intelligence is $19,919, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Jobs you can pursue upon earning a business intelligence master’s degree include senior business analyst, business intelligence manager, and machine learning engineer.
BI Degree Programs Online
Compare accredited online degrees in business intelligence, data analytics and related fields of study.
Google Data Analytics Pro Certificate
- Includes Certification Preparation for:
- Google Data Analytics Professional
- Learn to use Popular Data Analytics Tools inc. Tableau, SQL, R Programming, Spreadsheets & Slideshows
- Clean, Organize and Analyze Complex Data Sets
- Data Visualization & Stakeholder Presentation
- Constructive Questioning and Structured Thinking
Bachelor's in Computer Science - Data Analysis
- Gain the Skills and Credentials to Pursue Sought-After Careers in Data Analytics
- Create and Manage Structured Databases
- Analyze Data to Meet Organizational Goals
- Advanced Statistics for STEM Disciplines
- Use Emerging Tech in Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to Analyze Big Data
Master of Science in IT - Analytics
- Use analytics, statistics & forecasting to drive smarter decisions
- Identify relevant data and sources to solve complex business problems
- Address global, ethical, legal & cultural factors in data analytics
- Create effective data visualizations and stakeholder presentations
- Must have a bachelor's degree to apply. GRE / GMAT not required.
Master's in Technology Management
- Prepare to Lead IT Personnel and Wield Emerging Technologies to Achieve Business Goals
- Choose from courses like:
- Business Intelligence and Data Analytics
- Cyber Security Threats & Vulnerabilities
- Managing Diverse Organizations in a Flat World
- Cloud Computing and Virtualization
- Computer Systems Analysis
- Cryptography & Network Security
- Must have a bachelor's degree to apply. GRE / GMAT not required
Business Intelligence Boot Camps
Business intelligence boot camps are accelerated training programs that cover the essential skills to become a data analyst or BI professional. Because of their rapid pace and the fact that they often require some baseline knowledge, BI boot camps are an ideal option for those who already have experience in a related field.
Data Analytics Boot Camp
Gain the expertise to become a business intelligence analyst in just 24 weeks. Learn the data analytics skills that employers demand via engaging online content and live, instructor-led virtual classes.
- Essential data science skills inc. Tableau, Excel, Machine Learning & Statistics
- Career Services inc. Interview Prep, Portfolio Review, 1:1 Coaching and Resume Support
Schools offering this program:
Frequently Asked Questions
Business and IT insiders answer common questions from people considering a degree program in business intelligence.
What is business intelligence?
Business Intelligence or BI is the process of extracting actionable intelligence from business data. This information is typically gathered, analyzed and presented using high-tech software.
Do you need a degree for business intelligence?
Yes, most jobs in business intelligence require applicants to possess a college degree. The most common education requirement for business intelligence roles is a bachelor’s degree, while more advanced BI roles may require a master’s or MBA.
What degree is needed to become a BI analyst?
The college majors you should focus on to become a business intelligence analyst include data analytics, business intelligence, computer science, data science, and advanced statistics.
What can you do with a business intelligence degree?
Earning an accredited college degree in business intelligence can open up a range of career opportunities. Here are some popular jobs for BI graduates along with the typical education level and average salary for each role.
|Job Title||Typical Education Level||Average Salary|
|Junior Data Analyst||Associate Degree||$57,000|
|Business Analyst||Bachelor’s Degree||$74,000|
|Data Scientist||Bachelor’s Degree||$75,000|
|Data Engineer||Bachelor’s Degree||$117,000|
|Senior Data Analyst||Bachelor’s or Master’s||$133,000|
|Data Warehouse Architect||Master’s Degree||$122,000|
Source for salary data: Indeed.com