Business Intelligence Developers are an integral part of most data-driven companies and have the power to turn vast amounts of data into actionable insights that inform business growth.

What do BI Developers actually do?

Essentially, business intelligence developers will take all forms of company data, whether that’s sales figures, customer behaviour or market trends, and re-work it to provide decision-makers with the insights they need to grow.

BI will create incredible visual data dashboards to help key stakeholders understand the data in a more digestible way. Essentially, a BI developer’s job is all about data storytelling.

Be inspired by the hottest tech roles and get actionable tips to help you launch a career in tech on our career inspiration hub.

Skills you need to become a BI Developer

Your role will be to make sense of large amounts of data and turn it into something tangible, and there is a set of core skills you’ll need. Our very own BI Developer, Dan Renwick, has provided some top tips for anyone looking to get into this field below.

  1. Learn SQL

Having a knowledge of SQL (Structured Query Language) is key for being successful in the world of BI. SQL is essentially how you would interact with a database and get what you need from it. For all manner of data roles, it is arguably the best tool you can have on your CV, so make sure it is at the top of your list!

  1. Learn a coding language

A basic knowledge of a coding language will get you far in interviews. Python is a versatile programming language that will allow you to interact with your SQL queries and help you automate lots of tasks.

  1. Learn cloud computing

Cloud computing is now the default for business intelligence and having an understanding of it will really help you stand out in interviews. The most well known cloud platforms include GCP (Google Cloud Platform), AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Microsoft Azure.

  1. Learn how to use a data visualisation tool

If you want to create beautiful data dashboards that wow stakeholders, data visualisation tools will be your best friend. Microsoft Power BI, Google Data Studio and Tableau are all very popular tools, so be sure to check them out.

  1. Sharpen your spreadsheet skills

Don’t forget about spreadsheets. They may have been around for years but that doesn’t mean they are any less useful when it comes to organising data. Excel is the one tool that all stakeholders will be familiar with and using this platform really helps key stakeholders and users interact with your reports.

  1. Understand your customer

A BI developer’s role is to help key people across the business better understand the data that’s available to them. Therefore, it is important that you understand stakeholder requirements and work closely with them to present your findings in a way that will be useful and easily understood.

What qualifications do I need to get into BI?

Like all careers in tech, there is no set route to get into BI. Our BI Developer, Dan, studied physics at university so doesn’t have a traditional tech background. Dan argues that conventional computer science degrees, whilst useful, aren’t mandatory for the role. However, there are some key qualifications that can help you stand out and advance your technical skills.

Become a BI Developer with BCS

If you’re looking to get into a career in BI and data, we have plenty of certifications to help you stand out against the competition and gain the necessary skills for the role.


Fast track your career in data with a digital apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are a great opportunity to earn-and-learn and our Data Analyst and Data Technician apprenticeships are great options if you want to get into BI.

For you

Be part of something bigger, join BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Many training providers offer these digital apprenticeships, and they provide a great starting point to a career in these fields. They start from the basics and work their way up, touching on the fundamentals of AI and machine learning. Being embedded within an actual role with an employer gives great work/business context to what could otherwise be quite theory-based when learnt outside of a place of work.

Certifications for IT Professionals

For already established professionals, or those looking to learn or transition into a career in Data/Business Intelligence, we offer Practitioner and Professional level certifications as part of our Business Analysis certifications:

  • The Practitioner Certificate in Data Management Essentials is a good starting point for learning how data is used and managed within an organisation. It also provides an understanding of what makes a ‘good’ data team, what skills are required and what roles they are specific to.
  • The Professional Certificate in Data Analysis covers key concepts such as Data Modelling, Normalisation, CRUD Matrices, Regression and Time-Series Forecasting. The topics covered in this certification give a broad understanding of some of the key themes and responsibilities of many Data/Business Intelligence roles.
  • The Professional Certificate in Stakeholder Engagement is a good certification to take on if you’d like to learn ‘what does good look like?’ from a stakeholder engagement viewpoint. The ‘people’ element of Data/Business Intelligence roles is often overlooked yet it really is what sets you apart from others in these roles.

Tips to help you become a Business Intelligence Developer

Complete a cloud provider qualification

Whilst these certifications aren’t mandatory for the role, they will strengthen your CV and enhance your credibility. Certifications from BI tool providers like Tableau Desktop Specialist, Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate. AWS and GCP also have tailored-made courses.

Develop a strong portfolio

Having a strong portfolio full of projects is a great way to prove your expertise to employers. Building a portfolio can also help you if you’re applying entry-level roles and don’t have any prior work experience.

Join a business intelligence community

Microsoft Power BI community and Tableau community are great choices if you’re looking to learn from experienced BI developers and get inspired. These communities have custom visuals to help inspire your reports, active forums where you can learn from other BI engineers, as well as networking opportunities. They’re completely free to join too!

Expand your knowledge

Tech is one of the fastest moving industries around, so it’s really important to make sure you’re up to date with the latest trends, new platforms and tools. You can pick up useful books on coding, and it’s always worth checking out online articles too. Medium has a great range of content written by data scientist and analysts about their projects.

Not yet a member of BCS?

To take full advantage of our courses you need to be a member of BCS. If you’ve not yet signed up, perhaps these six reasons will persuade you:

  1. For 60 years, BCS has been shaping the future of our industry.
  2. BCS has 1500+ mentors and mentees who regularly share their knowledge and experience.
  3. 250,000 BCS professional certifications have been awarded across the industry.
  4. With 1000+ annual events and 150+ specialist interest groups, there’s plenty of opportunities to get involved with the community.
  5. Keep up to date with industry developments through the member magazine, ITNOW, and our industry reports.
  6. Membership fees start from just £20 per year for students and apprentices.

Join BCS if you care about your professional development and want to help us to make IT good for society

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