business man brushing up on his business intelligence skills

Business Intelligence Jobs: The Essential Skills You Need

Written on January 20, 2020 by Jason Horwood

Almost every business uses business intelligence (BI) these days, as it can help senior executives to make better business decisions through the analyses of data sets and software programmes.

Business intelligence is a process that is driven by technology and so those who are working in business intelligence jobs need to be proficient in a mix of hard skills such as computer programming, but they also need soft skills too.

As specialists in data recruitment, Agile Recruit is well versed in helping candidates achieve successful careers in business intelligence, and so know the relevant skills needed for BI.

Let’s take a closer look at the top five essential business intelligence skills that recruiters most often look for:

#1 SQL Programming

Structured Query Language, more commonly known as SQL, is a programming language used to manage data – which makes it useful for business intelligence. If you are looking for a career in business intelligence, then the more computer programming languages you know the better really, but SQL is a good start for beginners as it is the most commonly used (at the moment).

#2 Data Analysis

The key skill for anyone working in business intelligence is to be able to analyse data and software programmes correctly. Therefore, people looking to work in the field of BI need to have strong analytic skills in order to be able to make sense of large amounts of data. They must also be able to see connections within the data, and therefore make meaning out of any data they are presented with.

#3 Industry Knowledge

When it comes to having a successful career in business intelligence, it helps if you have some knowledge of the industry you are going to be working in: for example, if you are working for a retail company, you need to know the current trends in the retail industry. The more you understand about the sector you are working in, the better you will be able to understand the data you are analysing and offer useful solutions to managers.

#4 Problem Solving

Business Intelligence tasks do not stop at analysing data; you should also be able to offer solutions to managers based on the analysis of the data. Therefore, if you have good problem-solving skills, then you will be easily available to come up with clear suggestions to help the company make better business decisions.

#5 Good Communication Skills

The skills we have described above are all hard skills, but there are also soft skills that will come in useful as well – and communication is the most important of these. BI developers need to be able to describe where they have pulled the data from, how the data has been analysed, and what solutions they have come up with after this analysis. This involves being able to communicate sometimes very complex technical information to professionals who don’t have a background in BI, and so being able to communicate clearly and effectively is key.

There are also many other related skills which will vary based on the job you are applying for, and these include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Coaching
  • Coding
  • Coping with pressures around deadlines
  • Critical thinking
  • Data architecture
  • Data control
  • Data management
  • Data processing
  • Data visualisation
  • Debugging
  • Insightful
  • Leadership
  • Monitoring business trends
  • Multitasking
  • Organisational skills
  • Project management
  • Software knowledge

The list is pretty much endless!

If you are looking to add to your data visualisation team, or you are looking for your next data visualisation job, then please get in touch with the team at Agile Recruit. You can telephone our Manchester Office on 0161 416 6633 or Milton Keynes on 0203 800 1222. You can also email us at if you prefer.