Dec 01, 20238 mins
From BI analysts and BI developers to BI architects and BI directors, business intelligence pros are in high demand. Here are the certifications and certificates that can give your career an edge.
As data becomes increasingly vital to business success, business intelligence (BI) continues to grow in importance. And with a strong BI strategy and team, organizations can perform the kinds of analysis necessary to help users make better data-driven business decisions.
BI encompasses numerous roles. BI analysts, with an average salary of $73,705 according to PayScale, provide application analysis and data modeling design for centralized data warehouses, and extract data from databases and data warehouses for reporting, among other tasks. BI developers, with an average salary of $86,190, work with databases and software to develop and fine-tune IT solutions. BI architects, earning on average $114,798, analyze and implement BI for their organizations, with responsibilities that range from determining platforms to building and maintaining data warehouses. And BI directors, on an average salary of $128,148, lead design and development activities related to the enterprise data warehouse.
In its 3Q 2023 IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index report, research firm Foote Partners notes that the average pay premium for tech certifications was down 0.7%. In general, Foote Partners’ statistics show that while organizations will pay a premium for certifications, they’re more willing to pay for non-certified skills, especially in areas like prescriptive analytics, AI skills, and generative AI skills. Over the last two years, the average value of IT certifications has fallen more than 1%, while the value of noncertified skills has risen by a similar amount. The median pay premium for noncertified skills is now more than 9.5% above base salary, while that for IT certifications is 6.5%.
Certifications are not required to work in BI, but they may provide an edge by showing employers you have the right skillset. Below is our guide to some of the most sought-after BI certifications.
Top 10 business intelligence certifications and certificates
- Google Business Intelligence Professional Certificate
- Certified Business Intelligence Professional
- IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate
- Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate
- QlikView Business Analyst Sense Business Analyst
- SAP Certified Application Associate: SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.3
- SAS Certified Specialist: Visual Business Analytics
- Tableau Certified Data Analyst
- Tableau Desktop Specialist
- Tableau Server Certified Associate
Google Business Intelligence Professional Certificate
This certificate consists of a three-course series: Foundations of Business Intelligence, The Path to Insights: Data Models and Pipelines, and Decisions, Decisions: Dashboards and Reports. Intended for people with some experience with analytical principles, it focuses on teaching students and improving their knowledge with extracting, transforming, and analyzing data to meet organizational goals, and creating dashboards and designing data visualization graphs and charts. The courses are online and Google estimates students can complete them in less than two months at 10 hours a week.
Fee: Free for 7 days, then $49 a month
Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP)
The CBIP certification program is intended for senior-level personnel in the information systems and technology industry with a focus on data management and business analytics. The cert demonstrates that you’re up-to-date with BI technologies and are knowledgeable about best practices, solutions, and emerging trends. It also has four specialty areas to choose from: leadership and management, business analytics, data analysis and design, and data integration, and requires passing three mandatory multiple-choice exams — your choice of the Information Systems Core or Business Core Exam, the Data Foundations Exam, plus at least one specialty exam (Business Analytics, Data Integration, Data Analysis and Design, or Leadership and Management). Each applicant is given 90 minutes to complete each 110-question exam. The initial certification is valid for four years and must be renewed every three years thereafter. Recertification requires proof of 120 credit hours of continuous education earned since the last renewal, and an annual fee of $125 every year after the first.
Organization: Transforming Data With Intelligence (TDWI)
Exam fee: $325 per exam for TDWI members and $350 per exam for non-TDWI members
IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate
The IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate is a beginner-level credential to demonstrate proficiency in creating charts and plots in Excel, and working with IBM Cognos Analytics and Tableau to build dashboards for visualizing data. The certificate doesn’t require prior programming or statistical skills. Candidates work with a variety of data sources, project scenarios, and data analysis tools, including Excel, SQL, Python, and Cognos Analytics. The certificate also requires nine online courses completed on your own schedule, culminating with a capstone project designed to showcase data analyst skills.
Fee: A subscription of $59 per month
Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate
The Microsoft Certified Power BI Data Analyst Associate certification equips candidates with a fundamental understanding of data repositories and data processes, both on-premises and in the cloud. They become subject matter experts who can design and build scalable data models, clean and transform data, and provide business value via data visualizations. The certification is intended for data and business intelligence (BI) professionals who use Power BI to develop reports and dashboards that visualize data in the cloud or on premises. The certification also requires passing the Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst exam, which measures a candidate’s ability to prepare, visualize, and analyze data, as well as deploy and maintain assets.
Exam fee: $165
Qlik Sense Business Analyst
The Qlik Sense Business Analyst certification demonstrates your ability to identify requirements, design applications, prepare and load data, and develop applications. Candidates must have practical experience developing production-quality applications in Qlik Sense, experience creating dimensions, measures, and objects for the master library, understand UX and design best practices, and have experience building visualizations. The certification also requires passing a 50-question, multiple-choice exam in two hours.
Exam fee: $250
SAP Certified Application Associate: SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.3
This certification demonstrates you have the skills and knowledge to design for, deploy, and run SAP’s BI platform, and that you can configure and manage servers in an SAP Business Intelligence platform deployment, as well as design and deploy an SAP Business Intelligence platform system. SAP recommends candidates combine hands-on experience and education courses to prepare for the required multiple-choice exam delivered by Pearson VUE.
Exam fee: $543 for six attempts or $217 for a single attempt
SAS Certified Specialist: Visual Business Analytics Specialist
The SAS Certified Specialist: Visual Business Analytics certification is intended for analysts who use Visual Analytics to analyze data and design reports. It validates your skill in using SAS Visual Analytics to add and manipulate data items, analyze data, and design and share reports. It requires a passing score of at least 67% on the SAS Visual Analytics Using SAS Viya exam administered by SAS and Pearson VUE. The exam consists of 50 to 55 multiple-choice and short-answer questions, and the certification expires after five years.
Exam fee: $180
Tableau Certified Data Analyst
This is for individuals with six or more months of experience who wish to demonstrate their ability to help stakeholders make business decisions by understanding the business problem, identifying data to explore for analysis, and delivering actionable insights. There are no required prerequisites for the exam, which consists of 30 multiple-choice questions and one hands-on lab with 10-11 tasks. The certification is valid for two years.
Exam fee: $250; $25 reschedule fee
Tableau Desktop Specialist
The Tableau Desktop Specialist certification is for people with three or more months of Tableau experience who wish to demonstrate their understanding of advanced functionality of Tableau and application of visual best practices. There are no required prerequisites for the exam consisting of 45 multiple-choice questions. The certification doesn’t expire.
Exam fee: $100; $25 reschedule fee
Tableau Server Certified Associate
The Tableau Server Certified Associate certification is for those with six or more months of experience with Tableau Server who wish to demonstrate their architectural knowledge and platform integration expertise. There are no required prerequisites for the exam made up of 55 multiple-choice questions. The certification is valid for two years.
Organization: TableauExam fee: $250; $25 reschedule fee
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