Saturday, January 26, 2013

So You Want To Be A BI Analyst...Then Get Social!

The advent of the internet started a revolution!  A revolution of thought.  A revolution of community.  A revolution of technology! A revolution of jobhunting?  Yes, job hunting!

When I was hunting for my very first job, I learned my very first lesson in job's who you know and how you know them.  A friend of mine in my AP Physics class said that he would put in a good word for me at a place I had applied to, and so he did.  An interview later I got the job, baking cookies in the mall.  Since then, the formula hasn't changed much and with the socialness... of social networking websites and other tools, if you want to be a business intelligence analyst then it’s time to get social!

"Find me that job...and you'll get a cracker...or a large marsupial."

If you’re looking for any kind of business intelligence (BI) position, then now is the time to get your analytics hat on and start applying. The national average salary right now for a business analyst according to is $90,797.[1]

So where do you start on your journey to be a BI analyst?  Well, to answer this question, I'll tell you a story.  Back in the late 90's there was a man by the name of Reid Hoffman who was studying at Stanford and had this great idea of connecting working professionals to each other in a kind of social network.  He pitched his idea to some venture capitalists and they gave him some sound advice, which happens to be the answer to the question, "go get a job first."[2]

Getting a job is key to understanding the realms of a business and how your keen intellect and education can be applied as a BI analyst. 
#Due_to_copyright/trademark_and_the_fact_I_don't_want_to_get_ sued_a_Goo..Gugle_search_indicated_that_this_was_a_nonlicensed_logo

Hoffman did just that and after a few years of saving his money he formed a small website in 2002 called LinkedIn.  Speaking of LinkedIn, a social networking site that any business intelligence analyst should be on, there are over 2,634 business intelligence analyst groups to network with and many of these groups have more than 5,000 members. That's over 13,700,000 opportunities to connect to other BI analysts and learn from them.

Another non-trademarked picture
Another social networking site you should be on is Facebook and if you are searching for a job, then you should join BranchOut.

BranchOut is one of the fastest growing professional social networks growing on Facebook.  The founder of BranchOut started this company in 2010 and within two years had raised more than $18M and listed more than 3 million jobs.[3]

BranchOut will connect you to other Facebook users that are employed in any position you are searching for, including BI analysts. 

The next step in your BI journey is understanding what web analytics is and what it can do for you.  Web analytics has been defined as the "measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage."[4]

Web analytics is broken into various subgroups like social web analytics, mobile analytics, and multi-channel analytics to name a few.  To assist you in your education, starting a blog or a website and then using a tool like Google Analytics which is free, can be a good start.  Google Analytics gives various categories which you can use to track site visits, conversion rates, bounce rates, etc. 

With Google Analytics you can then break down these figures and produce various self-made dashboards and reports.  These will assist you in your BI analyst role in seeing trends and patterns which can help or hinder your website.

There are many other tools that you can use in your BI Analyst education like SiteCatalyst, WebTrends, Omniture, and CoreMetrics to name a few.  As one analyst said, "If you want to pick the right tool for your company you’ll have to actually try a couple in real life on your real site before you can decide which one is optimal for you."[5]

And last but not in the least in your analyst education, it might be a good idea to take a few classes from your local university where the instructors have real-life experience in the world of analytics as well as keep up on analytics news reading articles from Techcrunch and Occam's Razor.  Do all of these and you're well on your way to entering the world of the BI Analyst.  

[1] (2013, 01 26). Salary Calculator. Retrieved from

[2] Lee, E. (2009, June 2). LinkedIn's startup story: Connecting the business world. Retrieved from CNN Money:

[3] Rao, L. (2011, May 11). Exclusive:BranchOut Raises $18M For Facebook-Focused Professional Network. Retrieved from TechCrunch: 

[4] Web Analytics Association. (2008, 09 22). Standards: Overview: Web Analytics Definitions 20080922. Retrieved 01 12, 2012, from Digital Analytics Association:

[5] Kaushik, A. (2007, April 30). Web Analytics Tools Comparison: A Recomendation. Retrieved from Occam's Razor:


  1. Great practical advice on how to become a BI, thank you!

  2. I hadn't thought about the social aspect of business analytics. This article was very informative.

  3. Good post Rob. Building right contacts through social media has become an important part in job hunting process and you did a good job in covering some of the ways one can make their job search more effective.

  4. Nice post. I think being social on the web if you are involved in anything to do with the digital realm at all is a good idea. When I was working on my undergrad in graphic design I was required by my professor to be on 3 different social media sites. Since then, I have found it incredibly useful in my work. It not only helped me connect to people, it helped me understand the world I am working in. I design for the web and for social media on occasion. Knowing what to design, and what others are designing for their pages really went a long way to helping my clients with what they need. Just knowing what each social media site does and how it functions helps. Thanks for a great post.