The modern business collects and generates enormous amounts of data about its sales, expenses, personnel, customers, competitors and more. Despite investments that many companies are making in their analytics capabilities, much of the data generated within firms goes unused, as much as 73% of all data, according to one Forrester study.
But for people who have advanced training in gathering, understanding and harnessing that data, a career in business intelligence can be a long and fruitful one. That’s why so many people, whether they have a background in business or one in statistics, are considering pursuing master’s degrees in business intelligence.
A combination of many challenging disciplines, business intelligence involves using technology and computing power to collect and analyze data in order to inform better decision-making within companies. Jobs are available for business intelligence experts in all sorts of organizations, even some that aren’t businesses at all but rather nonprofits, educational institutions and even government bodies.
Let’s learn more about salaries that are possible after completing a master’s degree in this field.
Business Intelligence Education
Every program is a bit different, and some students may prefer to pursue a specialized education that focuses on one or more areas of the broader economy, such as sports management, healthcare or finance. But generally, most business intelligence graduate programs will have a few broad course areas in common.
Here are some typical courses business intelligence students are likely to encounter:
- Decisions Support Systems Modeling
- Business Analytics for Business Intelligence
- Process Simulation and Analysis
- Predictive Analytics
- Data Mining
- Python Programming
- R Statistical Programming
- Business, Ethics and Society
- Data Visual Analysis and Visualization
- Strategic Marketing
- Leadership and Organizational Behavior
- Business Statistics
- Communications and Content Strategies
Master’s in Business Intelligence Salary
To understand what salaries are possible with a master’s degree in business intelligence, we must first outline some of the most common applicable job titles. Of course, there’s business intelligence analyst, but others include business operations specialist, data analyst or even data scientist.
Some roles we trend toward the very technical, and students with a thorough education in programming and statistics will be better-suited for jobs like that, while learners whose degree programs were more steeped in management or communications will probably find other roles more satisfying.
Business intelligence analyst, business operations specialist
The most applicable job title listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is the federal government’s final word on occupational and salary statistics, is business operations specialist, which the agency distinguishes from jobs like financial analyst, budget analyst or operations research analyst. These jobs are largely available within private industry, higher education and the federal government, according to BLS data, and a typical master’s-educated wage should be near six figures, though the overall average is lower.
Average salary: $70,530
In late February 2020, Indeed, one of the world’s leading job boards, listed nearly 800 open jobs for business intelligence analysts across the United States. While many were located in major cities like Seattle, Chicago and New York, postings were also listed in smaller cities like Cincinnati and Charlotte. Most jobs that listed salary figures were upwards of $70,000.
Average salary: $75,000
Glassdoor, which aggregates salary figures, job postings and company reviews, indicated that thousands of business intelligence analyst jobs had been posted in the U.S. around February 2020, and they were available in every corner of the U.S.
Average salary: $93,000
Compensation data warehouse Payscale indicates that late-career business intelligence analysts can expect to earn about 30% more than entry-level counterparts, and the site lists an average annual salary for the job below $70,000, but people with master’s degrees will usually command higher salaries.
Average salary: $67,921
Employment and staffing marketplace Ziprecruiter listed thousands of openings for business intelligence analysts across the U.S., including in technology hubs like Seattle and Silicon Valley but also in heartland cities like Madison, Wisconsin. Among jobs where salaries were published, $80,000 set the low end of the range.
Average salary: $100,000
Job Demand for Master’s in Business Intelligence
Pretty much every computer- or data-related job is expected to see rapid growth over the next several years, and it’s no different for business operations specialists, a job the BLS expects will expand by 8.8% nationally, compared to just 5% for all occupations across the economy. This is on the lower end for similar jobs; statisticians, for instance, are expected to see a growth rate of 31% through 2028.
Still, many states will see very dramatic growth for business operations specialists through 2026.
Business operations specialist job opening growth, 2016-2026
|Texas||15.2%||District of Columbia||5.1%|
All but one state (Alaska) is expected to see business operations specialist jobs grow through 2026, with Utah at the high end with a 24.4% growth rate, and Maine the slowest positive growth rate, just 2%.
While some states certainly will be better for others when it comes to jobs for business intelligence analysts, these roles should become much more common over the next several years, and for people with graduate training in the tools and practices relevant to the field, salaries should continue scaling over the next several years.
- Salary and job opening data from Indeed, Glassdoor, Payscale and Ziprecruiter was accessed in February 2020.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Business Operations Specialists, All Other. (2019.) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/2018/may/oes131199.htm
- ProjectionsCentral.com, Long-Term Occupational Projections, 2016-2026. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- Inc.com, Up to 73 Percent of Company Data Goes Unused for Analytics. Here’s How to Put It to Work. (Undated.) Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/jeff-barrett/misusing-data-could-be-costing-your-business-heres-how.html