With data increasingly vital to business success, business intelligence (BI) continues to grow in importance. With a strong BI strategy and team, organizations can perform the kinds of analysis necessary to help users make data-driven business decisions.
BI encompasses numerous roles. BI analysts, with an average salary of $71,493 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 $83,091, work with databases and software to develop and fine-tune IT solutions. BI architects, with an average salary of $113,263, analyze and implement BI for their organizations, with responsibilities that range from determining platforms to building and maintaining data warehouses. BI directors, with an average salary of $127,169 per year, lead design and development activities related to the enterprise data warehouse.
In its quarterly IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index report released in May, research firm Foote Partners notes that the average pay premium for tech certifications was down 1.2% in the first quarter of 2022 following two consecutive periods of growth. Data and database certifications were among the only ones to buck the general trend: They were up 4.6% annually.
Certifications are not required to work in BI, but they may help you get an edge by proving to employers that you have the right skillset. Below is our guide to some of the most sought-after BI certifications.
Top 9 business intelligence certifications
- Certified Business Intelligence Professional
- IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate
- Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate
- QlikView 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
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 are up-to-date with BI technologies and are knowledgeable about best practices, solutions, and emerging trends. The certification has four specialty areas to choose from: leadership and management, business analytics, data analysis and design, and data integration. The certification requires passing two mandatory exams — your choice of the IS Core or Business Core Exam and the Data Foundations Exam — plus at least one specialty exam. The exams are multiple-choice. 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 continuing 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 non0-TDWI members
IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate
The IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate is a beginner-level credential that demonstrates proficiency in creating charts and plots in Excel and working with IBM Cognos Analytics to build dashboards for visualizing data. The certificate does not require prior programming or statistical skills. Candidates work with a variety of data sources, project scenarios, and data analysis tools, including Excel, SQL, Python, Jupyter Notebooks, and Cognos Analytics. The certificate requires nine online courses completed on your own schedule, culminating with a capstone project designed to showcase data analyst skills.
Fee: A subscription of $39 per month
Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate
The Microsoft Certified Power BI Data Analyst Associate certification validates candidates have a fundamental understanding of data repositories and data processes, both on-premises and in the cloud. They are subject matter experts that can design and build scalable data models, clean and transform data, and provide business value via data visualizations. The certification is intended for data professionals and business intelligence (BI) professionals who use Power BI to develop reports and dashboards that visualize data, whether in the cloud or on premises. The certification requires passing the Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst exam. The exam measures the candidate’s ability to prepare data, visualize data, analyze data, and deploy and maintain assets.
Exam fee: $165
QlikView Business Analyst
The QlikView Business Analyst certification demonstrates your knowledge of interface design of QlikView applications and is recommended for roles involved in the analysis, design, and layout of the QlikView application user interface. Candidates must have a basic knowledge of BI, reporting, and data analysis, as well as experience working with QlikView to design applications. The certification requires passing a multiple-choice exam delivered by Pearson VUE via a Pearson VUE Test Center or in your home/office using online proctoring. The certification does not expire, though Qlik releases new exams for every major release, so old certifications do “age out.”
Exam fee: $250
SAP Certified Application Associate: SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.3
The SAP Certified Application Associate: SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform certification demonstrates you have the skills and knowledge to design for, deploy, and run SAP’s BI platform. This certification shows you can configure and manage servers in an SAP Business Intelligence platform deployment, and 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: $536 for six attempts or $214 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 on the SAS Visual Analytics Using SAS Viya exam administered by SAS and Pearson VUE. The exam consists of 50-55 multiple-choice and short-answer questions. The certification expires after five years.
Exam fee: $180
Tableau Certified Data Analyst
The Tableau Certified Data Analyst certification is for individuals with six or more months of experience who wish to demonstrate their ability to enable stakeholders to 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. The exam 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 individuals 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. The exam consists of 45 multiple-choice questions. The certification does not expire.
Exam fee: $100; $25 reschedule fee
Tableau Server Certified Associate
The Tableau Server Certified Associate certification is for individuals 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. The exam consists of 55 multiple-choice questions. The certification is valid for two years.
Exam fee: $250; $25 reschedule fee