Which industries are most in need of business intelligence analysts? And do I need specific knowledge of an industry...
to get the attention of hiring managers?
You can really make a case for any industry needing BI analysts -- the importance of data analysis runs across all industries when companies are looking to make intelligent business decisions. At any given time, the industries that are doing well financially and growing and/or experiencing significant changes, are more likely to be hiring business intelligence analysts.
Currently, we see technology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, retail and consumer packaged goods companies doing the most hiring in the BI and analytics space. However, you can find BI analyst roles in every industry. I would recommend working in an area that you really enjoy and for which you have at least a basic, fundamental knowledge of how that industry operates.
I don't think deeper knowledge is important early in one's career, but industry experience becomes more and more important as you move up. For junior to mid-level business intelligence analysts, strong communication and presentation skills -- along with an analytical bent and the ability to learn quickly -- are more important than in-depth knowledge of the field. As you progress in your career and move closer to the executive level, we do see companies require more and more knowledge of their specific area of business. Obviously, at the more senior levels, you're interacting with company leaders and business executives who will expect BI and IT managers to be well versed in how their particular industry works.
The longer you work in a specific field, the better you should understand it. At that point, you will tend to have more interactions with senior leaders in multiple areas of the business, and also should be able to pick up on market trends and various business processes for the industry in which you're working. Additionally, attending trade shows, seminars and internal training opportunities should help to strengthen your overall knowledge of the business.
Demand for BI analysts is booming
BI professionals need strong communication, business skills
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