What Is a Business Intelligence Developer?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Understand the role of a business intelligence developer and how you can get into this line of work.

[Featured Image] A business intelligence developer sits in a conference room with a laptop and discusses data with a colleague.

Business intelligence refers to collecting, analyzing, storing, and reporting on data to understand an organization's market, customers, and industry trends. Once understood, the information can increase the company’s efficiency and competitiveness. Within the business intelligence team, you might find several roles, one being the business intelligence developer. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field for business intelligence developers is expected to grow 25 percent from 2022 to 2023, which is much faster than average, making this a potentially lucrative job opportunity [1].

In this article, you’ll learn what a business intelligence developer does, your duties and responsibilities, and what it takes to become one. 

What does a business intelligence developer do?

A business intelligence (BI) developer supervises the interfaces and systems a business uses to store, display, and report on industry data the company has collected and analyzed. You'll also utilize data visualization tools and business intelligence software to ensure the collected data is easily understood and, therefore, more useful to the members of the company who make the decisions. 

Read more: What Is Business Intelligence? Benefits, Examples, and More

Where does a business intelligence developer work?

Within a business intelligence structure, you’ll find three layers. A BI developer will work in two: the third layer and the reporting layer. Take a look at what happens within the three layers:

  1. The data source layer: This layer involves collecting raw data from various sources. In this first stage, a data engineer works on the data to extract information that may become useful to the organization collecting it, but it is not yet organized.

  2. The warehouse layer: In this stage, businesses take the useful data, clean and organize it, and add it to a central database. This allows the business to search the data and make sense of it in the next layer.

  3. The reporting layer: As a business intelligence developer, you’ll likely work within this stage of the process. Here, your responsibilities could include creating interfaces and dashboards that help interpret the data so an organization can understand and use it effectively. 

Business intelligence developer duties and responsibilities

Your duties and responsibilities as a BI developer vary depending on where you work, the size of the company, and the type of data it is analyzing. However, in general, a BI developer is responsible for the following:

  • Formulating dashboards and reporting systems based on a business’s requirements  

  • Working to support the building of data pipelines by specifying technical requirements

  • Developing, testing, and maintaining dashboards and interfaces 

  • Designing database technical queries 

  • Troubleshooting BI tools

  • Developing effective workflows

  • Translating data into business terms, users can understand 

  • Creating data visualizations, such as graphs and charts, for easy presentation 

  • Working with other members of the BI team and the wider organization

  • Implementing AI tools to automate systems

Business intelligence developer skills

To be a successful business intelligence developer, you'll need a mix of technical and workplace skills. Technical skills represent the practical aspects of your role, while workplace skills contribute to how productive you are in a work environment. Some of the essential skills for this role include:

Technical skills

Workplace skills

The use of artificial intelligence in business intelligence

We use artificial intelligence (AI) in many areas of our lives and businesses, including in business intelligence. Business intelligence focuses on making informed, effective business decisions. It’s a human process, and AI can aid your BI team by improving BI tools and processes so you can make effective business decisions.

Furthermore, integrating AI into business intelligence can enhance the capabilities of BI tools, giving them the ability to learn and develop as they take in more data. Because of AI, the BI tools will be able to improve themselves, making your job as a business intelligence developer that much more productive.


Business intelligence jobs, including the position of business intelligence developer, can offer you a high salary. According to Glassdoor, the average annual base salary for a business intelligence developer in the US is $114,348 [2]. Keep in mind compensation may be influenced by factors like years of experience, industry, location, and education level.

How to become a business intelligence developer

On your path to becoming a business intelligence developer, you will likely begin your career in an entry-level position as a data analyst, data entry assistant, SQL developer, or junior developer. These positions will help you learn the skills and gain experience in the industry in preparation for your job as a BI developer. You generally need two to four years of experience before applying to become a business intelligence developer. 

Education and certifications

To become a business intelligence developer, employers typically expect you to have at least a bachelor's degree. You might consider pursuing some relevant majors: computer science, business, mathematics, information technology, or software development. 

According to Zippia, 69 percent of BI developers have a bachelor’s degree and 23 percent have a master’s [3]. 

In addition to a degree, it is helpful to work toward certifications to stand out against your competition when applying for jobs and to demonstrate your skills in certain areas. Certification also shows your commitment to learning and your willingness to stay ahead of the trends in business development. Examples to check out include:

In addition to certifications, you can also earn certificates, which can aid you in your journey to becoming a business intelligence developer. Examples of Professional Certificates on Coursera that may increase your BI developer job opportunities include:

Beyond degrees and certifications, as business intelligence is a fast-developing field, it’s important to show that you engage in professional development through self-study, such as reading up on current trends, networking, attending events and bootcamps, and taking online courses to brush up on your programming skills. 

Building a portfolio

A strong portfolio demonstrates to employers that you have the skills in business intelligence and software development. Even without professional experience, you can start building your portfolio through personal projects and coursework you complete as part of your degree and internships. A portfolio can help you stand out from other job applicants as it is hard evidence to back up your claims. 

Getting started on Coursera

Pursuing a career as a business intelligence developer begins with completing your degree. You can check out the Bachelor of Science in General Business, delivered by the University of North Texas, on Coursera. You may wish to progress to a master’s level course, such as a Master of Business Administration delivered by the University of Illinois online as well.

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-1.” Accessed June 28, 2024.

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