What Is a Business Intelligence Developer and How To Become One

Updated June 24, 2022

A business intelligence (BI) developer uses data analytics and technology to share valuable business information with decision-makers in their company. They create and maintain company software tools used to guide business strategies. BI developers exist in many industries, though they all need a certain set of skills and specific training to be successful. In this article, we explain what a business intelligence developer is, what a business intelligence developer does and how to become one.

What is a business intelligence developer?

A business intelligence developer is an engineer who uses business intelligence software to interpret and display data for an organization. Often, they create tools or troubleshoot current methods to improve the company's research process.

Companies need business intelligence developers because they compile and simplify valuable information. Business intelligence developers often act as technology specialists and help repair or restore computer programs used for intelligence. Business intelligence developers also participate in long-term intelligence projects and collaborate with other data engineers in the business.

Related: Business Administration vs. Business Management: What's the Difference?

What does a business intelligence developer do?

Business intelligence developers have the following responsibilities:

  • Creating and updating BI solutions

  • Designing technical queries

  • Developing exact search requests

  • Translating data into simple business terms and formats for use in other departments

  • Working with business analysts and other developers to curate data

  • Creating visual documents to help present data

  • Documenting processes for future use

  • Troubleshooting business intelligence modeling issues and developing solutions

  • Backing up and securely storing data

Related: Business Intelligence: Definition and Tools

How to become a business intelligence developer

Becoming a business intelligence developer requires specific education, experiences and qualifications. Consider the following to advance your career:

Earn a degree.

Most employers require at least a bachelor's degree in one of the following: information technology, business intelligence, computer science, mathematics or software development. Take courses in business, management, information technology and other business or math-related topics. In some cases, earning a master's degree in one of these fields can help you earn a BI position faster or qualify for a higher-ranking job.

While earning a degree, it can be helpful to complete one or more internships. Seek an internship at a company or industry that interests you to develop clearer career prospects. Completing an internship can also help you build connections that may be useful in the future.

Develop BI skills.

BI developers need a mix of soft skills, like communication and problem-solving, and hard skills, such as experience with certain programs and techniques. Familiarize yourself with tools and computer software commonly used by BI developers:

  • JavaScript

  • VB

  • C#

  • HTML

  • Microsoft SQL

  • Microsoft Power BI

  • Oracle BI

  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse

Get experience.

Gain experience by serving in an entry-level position where you can learn from supervisors and experienced coworkers. You could start as a data entry clerk, data analyst or even a junior developer before pursuing a BI developer job. You may want to find a job with a company that offers growth opportunities to naturally move into a BI developer role. You'll likely need at least two to three years of entry-level experience before you can start applying for BI positions.

Make connections.

Network with other business intelligence developers and business intelligence analysts to learn more about the role and what you need to succeed. Developing relationships with other professionals in this field also allows you to gain valuable references should you need them when you're applying for jobs. You can connect with professionals at your current company or attend networking events to expand your network.

While connecting with others, consider searching for a mentor. The right mentor can offer valuable advice to help you advance your career and grow as a professional. Try to find a mentor within your industry to develop a strong, long-lasting relationship.

Read more: How To Find a Mentor

Further your professional development.

The tools and methods that BI developers use constantly evolve as technology advances. Continue learning about your field by focusing on your professional development through reading books, attending lectures and staying up to date with the latest business intelligence methods and technologies. Join social media groups for business intelligence professionals, and take note of what they are doing. Staying current helps you continue to grow as a BI developer and remain a competitive candidate.

Related: How To Utilize the Different Types of Intelligence at Work

Skills of a business intelligence developer

While different companies require various skills, there are a few that help all business intelligence developers be successful. The following are the common skills of a business intelligence developer:

Technical skills

Much of a BI developer's job involves technical analysis. Technical skills include knowledge of computer software and different programs essential to the job. Technical skills include SQL, coding languages and analysis programs, like Tableau.


A great business intelligence developer is great at simply explaining complicated concepts to those outside their field. Excellent communication skills are especially valuable when explaining complex topics to business members in other departments. The information you present often influences important decisions that affect the company.

Public speaking

After collecting data, a business intelligence developer presents the information to a group of decision-makers within the company. To effectively explain the data, they need to be prepared to speak in front of audiences and answer questions.


A business intelligence developer troubleshoots technology and finds solutions for the problems they identified. For example, if they notice data not recording, they might develop a new tool or query to expedite the process.

Attention to detail

When analyzing data, a business intelligence developer needs to identify telling details about the business. Detail-orientation includes noticing trends in the data that influence customer retention and sales revenue. A BI developer's analysis is crucial because they use statistics and mathematical evidence to explain their findings.


A business intelligence developer works with several other engineers and computer specialists. They should be able to collaborate with others to generate comprehensive results from large data sets.


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