Companies have discovered the power of Big Data, and they’re harnessing it to forecast trends and make major business decisions. But before executives can make sound, data-driven decisions, they call on someone who can interpret, analyze, and visualize that Big Data, translating it into an easy-to-understand presentation of information. Enter: The business intelligence pro.
“While Business Intelligence has been around for a long time, it has grown exponentially in recent years thanks to the proliferation of data and the growing ability to analyze it,” says Rob Croll, the director of Full Sail’s Business Intelligence master of science degree program.
Full Sail’s fast-paced, 12-month online Business Intelligence program prepares students for opportunities in a variety of industries, as more and more businesses see the value in making data-informed decisions. (Grad Thaddeus E. Ray, for example, works with metadata at Warner-Elektra-Atlantic, the distribution/manufacturing arm of Warner Music Group; and Chuck McGinnis is a professional data analyst for the United States military.)
“We view our Business Intelligence program as a business degree, not a technical one,” Croll says. “We want our grads to be the bridge between the tech-y people who gather and scrub the data and the C-suite people who need that data analyzed and explained.”
Here are some of the traits and skills you need to bring to the table – or in this case, the online classroom – to succeed in the Business Intelligence program:
Before entering the Business Intelligence program: Experience working in a data-related field is a plus, but it’s not necessary. That said, you absolutely should be comfortable working with numbers and data. The field involves some creativity, but data is the primary focus. Some of the best Business Intelligence students come from some type of quantitative background, such as computer science, finance, or statistics – and many students also come to the program from the military or a healthcare-related field.
Full Sail’s Business Intelligence program is more business-oriented than technical, Croll says, so if you’re looking to gain high-level technical skills, this program may not be right for you.
Be Ready For: Students can expect to spend 30-40 hours per week on coursework, which covers data visualization, data mining, analytics, and more. For your final project, you’ll create a data-informed solution plan for a real company, with written and verbal components.
“Students [with prior data experience] will get is a broader understanding of the various elements of business intelligence, while students without experience will get an overview of how organizations can use data to make decisions,” Croll says. “All students will learn how to identify a business problem and then find and analyze the data to solve it.”
The most successful Business Intelligence students are practical, motivated, self-starters who can ask for help when they need it and have a good handle on time management, which is one of the most important skills to master while at Full Sail. The accelerated track means you get a master’s degree in one year instead of the typical two. It’s a huge benefit – you’ll graduate with a head start in the industry – but it requires commitment and organization.
More Keys to Success: Great Business Intelligence students will understand that this is an industry that requires lifelong learning, Croll says. Students have access to online books and materials, and can tap into Full Sail’s Career Development department for more career help while they’re enrolled in the program, and even after graduation as well.
More questions? Check out the Business Intelligence degree page here or call an admissions representative at 800.226.7625.