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Learn Power BI online

Where there’s data, there’s a story. And Microsoft’s Power BI enables users to pull structured and unstructured data from multiple sources and transform it into visualizations that can tell a unique story and provide valuable insight.

What is Power BI?

Microsoft’s Power BI is an application suite that allows users to import data in various forms from many sources and transform that data into a variety of visualizations, making business information easier to communicate and business decisions easier to make.Footnote 1 The many applications of Power BI make it a popular choice for those involved in business intelligence, the field in which professionals use various strategies and technologies to manage and analyze data.Footnote 2 For example, with Power BI, an analyst can take data from social media, customer reviews and purchase histories, and transform that information into visualizations that can help a company figure out which of its products are bestsellers and which are duds.Footnote 3

Power BI lets users import both structured data, which is data that conforms to a predefined data model or format, and unstructured data, which is data in its raw form.Footnote 4 That gives Power BI the ability to simultaneously work with structured data like product names and times of day, and unstructured data, like video. Using both types of data in this way, Power BI can allow a store to track how quickly stock of certain items sell out and even study how soon into a shopping trip someone picks up a particular product. Data sources for Power BI can range from data stored on the cloud, on-premise (meaning in a server in a private facility), scraped off the internet, from programs like Excel or Google Sheets, and more, extending the many possible applications of Power BI.Footnote 5

Power BI’s three components allow access to the suite using a variety of avenues. Power BI Desktop and Power BI Mobile allow access to Power BI on either desktop or mobile devices. Power BI Service, a software as a service (SaaS), allows users to interact with the visualizations created by Power BI on the cloud.Footnote 6

Power BI is powerful enough that it even allows users to browse visualizations using natural language, meaning that someone can type a question into Power BI using the same phrasing one would use when speaking to a person. Power BI can then search through its library of visualizations and data to see what answers can be found. 

Regardless of the industry, workers can find many uses for this tool. And for those interested in unlocking these opportunities, an online Power BI course is one way to get started learning.

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Learning Power BI and DAX

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence platform for data modeling. As a result, there’s ample opportunity to take a Power BI training course online. A Power BI online course can empower users to navigate real-time Power BI dashboards to sort through and present data from multiple sources, giving businesses a better handle on their customers, operations, and future. With a knowledge of Data Analysis Expressions (DAX), a formula expression language used by Power BI, users can study their data in greater depth, allowing them to go far beyond Power BI basics.Footnote 7

A Power BI online course can help learners achieve proficiency in Power BI and DAX that helps to create real value for a business, not just gather the numbers. Whether it's simple Excel files, working with a SQL server, or a complicated collection of on-premises data and cloud data, Power BI can sort it all out. Prior to pursuing a Power BI online course, professionals may earn bachelor’s degrees in the computing field. Others choose to learn Power BI after completing a master’s degree program to add to their arsenal of advanced skills. Depending on the school and the program, some master’s degrees may cover Power BI basics.

Power BI courses and certifications online

Learning Power BI basics doesn’t have to take long, especially if you have prior knowledge of spreadsheet software and business intelligence. A self-guided Power BI online course can take just a few weeks depending on how many hours are dedicated to study. 

A Power BI certificate can show hiring managers a dedication to study and a willingness to invest time, money, and energy into learning Power BI and expanding your skills. With the help of a Power BI certificate, and enough experience, Power BI developer jobs may become more accessible, and with that accessibility comes the possibility of earning a competitive Power BI analyst salary.

Explore Power BI jobs

In addition to Power BI developer jobs, potential avenues of employment for someone who wants to learn Microsoft Power BI include becoming a data scientist, product manager, or business analyst. Data science is transforming the world by allowing businesses and organizations to make more informed decisions at a faster pace, so a Power BI training course can enable professionals to engage in endeavors as diverse as urban planning to fighting forest fires. 

How to become a Power BI developer

A Power BI online course can be the route a learner takes to become more competitive for Power BI jobs, but more specialized training may also be necessary depending on the role. Power BI developer jobs, meaning positions held by someone with mastery of Power BI, make use of power query, which is used to transform and prepare data; the role of data warehouses, which are systems that enable and support analytics performed as part of business intelligence; task automation using software such as Microsoft Power Automate, formerly known as Microsoft Flow; and self-service analytics, which are reports that analysts perform without the aid of technical support, something made much easier by Power BI.Footnote 8

Those with an interest in Power BI and big data, may want to pursue a boot camp, a bachelor’s degree in computer or data science, or a master’s in data science degree program, many of which are available online.

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