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Need for business intelligence analysts spans industry spectrum

While technology, healthcare and retail companies are currently hiring more BI analysts than other types of organizations, careers expert Matt Mueller says jobs are available across the board.

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.

You can find BI analyst roles in every industry. I would recommend working in an industry that you really enjoy.

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.

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Which industries do you see hiring business intelligence analysts?
From what I've heard/read, I believe the healthcare industry is booming for BI analysts. I think as more hospitals move to a more data-driven world, they'll need analysts to handle it. 
Almost every business, right across the board. While there are obvious choices here, from manufacturing to pharmacology, I can't see many businesses that won't implement business intelligence to some degree in their day to day operations as well as any expansion.

Looking away from the obvious, consider almost any business with an eye to improved operations and customer satisfaction. Virtually every business will be impacted by the acquisition and utilization of consumer/business/operational data.