With enough motivation and analytical thinking, there’s a way you can get into the business intelligence world, even if you don’t have a background in IT, engineering, math, or physics.
Start with the basics
Learn basics of analysis and data preparation concepts through MS Excel. MS Excel is a prototype to any BI tool, it will help you understand what data is and how to work with it. It’s a base tool for clients as well – they use it before BI tools, and their requirements will be based on their experience with Excel.
For example, get to know:
- Pivot tables
- Power query – connect, transform, combine, load
- Functions for data analysis – e.g., lookup, index match
👨🎓 You can finduseful courses on nearly any topic on:
Continue with the data modeling foundations
BI world is built on models – they let you structure data according to the analysis needs. No tool will work well if the data model is not good. Try Power BI to learn the basic principles of data modeling– it’s simple and free of charge.
💽 Online data source swill come in handy for practicing. Check out these:
Skill up by learning data visualization tools
They will help you create meaningful data stories and present data in a way others (e.g., the business side) understand, thus, they help you unleash the value in data.
Here comes Power BI again – you can try out various visualization types by creating dashboards:
- Build up your visualization skills by learning basic visualization and UX principles.
- Find inspiration in dashboard galleries.
- Learn use case for various chart types.
🎨 For UX, in addition to Coursera and Udemy, we suggest checking out also: 🔗 Baltijas datoru akadēmija
🎨 Here you'll find some useful data visualization guideline examples (they might serve you as an inspiration)
🎨 Here are some nice links for color theory (that will come in handy when working on dashboards and visualizations):
Build a portfolio
It would be good to have a portfolio. Create it using real data. Most workplaces will ask for your portfolio. Even if it isn’t mandatory, it will definitely be a bonus to have one.
Here’s how you can make it happen:
- Use free online datasets
- Take part in guided projects
- Take part in online visualization challenges/competitions
📊 You can participate in public dashboard creating challenges (it helps choose a dataset to work on, improve your skills, and gain knowledge from other participants who visualized the same data). Here are two examples:
🔗 MicroStrategy (new challenges coming up every quarter)
🎨 For inspiration on how the dashboards might look, check out these links:
Bring your skills to the next level by learning to code
It is our communication language used daily. Even if you won’t code, you’ll at least know what’s reasonable to ask a developer to do.
- SQL – as must
- Python – a huge bonus to have
- R – nice to have
🧑💻 🧑💻Practice writing in SQL, Python, or another programming language here:
🤝 There are some really cool programs/initiatives/courses in Latvia you can join:
Improve your soft skills
They’ll come in handy not only for communication within the team but also in understanding what the client wants and explaining what you suggest.
- Effective communication
- Creative thinking
- Negotiation skills
- Time management
- Emotional intelligence
Follow the industry news
Be it data communities and events or following hashtags and industry people on LinkedIn – these will help you keep up with trends.