If you’re interested in becoming a business intelligence analyst, or advancing in the field, you’re undoubtedly interested in business intelligence analyst salaries—whether you’re a college grad or a longtime analyst.
If you’re like me, however, talking about salaries makes you uncomfortable. Or maybe you don’t know whether a potential employer will pay what you want to ask for. Or maybe you’re just no good at haggling.
When I got into content marketing, salary negotiations seemed like something I’d never have the chance to do. I was switching career fields after about a decade, for one. To my untutored mind, this meant I was good for indentured servitude, the French Foreign Legion, or entertainment blogging. Also? The thought of negotiating seemed presumptuous. Raised with a steely devotion to manners, discussing prices seemed untoward.
If you’re hesitant to talk prices, like me, instead look at things this way: You’re part of the marketplace. Your skills, and potential, have a price, whether you’re comfortable talking about them, or not. Also, chances are that what you have to offer is valuable. So price your skills accordingly.
Whatever the reason for your hesitation to talk money, don’t let it keep you from getting what your time, knowledge, and skills are worth.
Business intelligence analyst salaries
Salary negotiations are uncertain, unpleasant, and they can end in awkward rejection. They’re basically the professional world’s equivalent of asking for a first date. But, as with dating, if you can’t handle that opening gambit, nothing else will happen.
So? Be ready. Be confident. Be knowledgeable about business intelligence analyst salaries. Know the average, the median, and the locations where they make the most. (And keep in mind that, negotiating your salary is easier than trying to convince someone you’re a catch.)
Also, if talking salaries makes you uncomfortable, look at it this way: Salaries are data points. Your job is to understand data, so a well-informed salary negotiation is, in a sense, due diligence on your part.
To that end, read on to see what sort of salary a business intelligence analyst can expect.
Business intelligence analyst salaries: Just the facts, ma’am
How much does the average business intelligence analyst make? Here are a few figures:
- Indeed.com puts the average business intelligence analyst salary at $80,867
- Glassdoor puts it at $71,715
- Comparably puts it at $110,000
- Recruiter.com says you can expect to earn between $70,000 to $90,000
If you use $80,000 for the Recruiter.com figure, the average of those averages is $85,645 a year.
Remember, though, that average is based on the salaries at all experience levels. A rookie business intelligence analyst should expect to make a lot less. I interviewed Rohit Keserwani, a business intelligence analyst with Equifax, who notes that a beginner’s salary will range between $20,000 to $35,000 a year, “based on the level of hard and soft skills.”
How BI analyst salaries compare to the national median
Where does a business intelligence analyst salary put you, compared with other professions? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the most recent national median income is $56,516.
As for business intelligence analysts’ median incomes:
How BI analyst salaries vary based on location
Business intelligence analyst salaries are comparatively lucrative. How lucrative they are, however, differs by where you are.
According to recruiter.com, the highest average business intelligence analyst salaries are in Oregon ($82,290), and the lowest are in Louisiana ($44,320). Other states on the higher end include:
- Washington: $79,970
- California: $74,300
- Minnesota: $71,800
- Maine (who knew?): $71,080
Remember, though, that cost of living can change the value of that salary. When I was job hunting, I used CNN’s cost of living calculator to determine where my money would go the farthest.
If you’re willing to live somewhere quiet, you could end up with a better standard of living, even for less money. For example, the cost of living calculator says that $79,970 salary in Seattle is equal to about $63,000 in Portland, Maine. All of a sudden, $63,000 in Portland sounds pretty good, if you don’t mind snow and five dollar lobster.
Soft skills to boost your BI analyst salary
If you’re looking for a higher salary as a business intelligence analyst, there are skills that can increase your earning potential. The good news is that many don’t require a graduate degree.
As with any job, employers value good soft skills. Ben Scandlen, of sales and marketing analytics platform RainKing, cites communications abilities as important. He also emphasizes the need for creative, innovative thinking.
Equifax’s Keserwani agrees about the importance of communications skills. “Communication skills and stakeholder management skills are the ones I look for most when hiring BI analysts,” he says, and adds that those skills can net an applicant an increase of up to 40%. Keserwani also says creative thinking, especially when paired with a service orientation, are important.
Business skills to boost your BI analyst salary
The technical, technological abilities are definitely important, but it’s their applications that can often make your salary higher.
Knowing your industry and role are also important for a BI analyst. Keserwani notes that BI analysts will often focus on computer wizardry, where businesses are interested in domain knowledge. Scandlen corroborates Keserwani’s opinion about vertical-specific knowledge:
“If you know you want to be a BI analyst, look for a specific area, and establish yourself as an expert.”
A business intelligence analyst who knows marketing, or supply chain, for instance, is worth more than one with purely academic knowledge. “The work you do as a business intelligence analyst can get complicated quickly: The data for consumer marketing can be different from B2B marketing.”
In other words, the more specialized your business knowledge, the better.
Scandlen says that Excel expertise is a “minimum” requirement if you’re looking to be more advanced. SQL is another handy language.
Download free versions of business intelligence software, and start playing around with those. Thanks to the increasing focus on self-service business intelligence software, BI programs have never been easier to use.
Some vendors, such as Microsoft, also offer free versions of their business intelligence software. Experimenting with different free programs can help show you the range of what you can do with the right tool.
Knowledge of specific tools can also make your resume stand out. Remember to check the program’s community forums—you’ll probably find a lot of helpful information about how to navigate the programs.
What’s next for your business intelligence analyst career?
If you’re interested in other strategies to improve your salary, check out these articles from the Capterra business intelligence blog:
- 5 Big Data Certifications That Can Take Your Career To The Next Level
- Is A Certified Business Intelligence Professional Certification Really Worth $1,200?
- 6 Business Intelligence Analyst Productivity Hacks To Improve Workflow
Are you a BI analyst who was able to net a higher salary with a key skill? Maybe one that I didn’t think to include? If so, let me know in the comments below!
Looking for Business Intelligence software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Business Intelligence software solutions.