How Long Does it Take to Learn Power BI?

Do you aspire to become a Data Analyst and master the use of Power BI? The software can be learned in as short as four weeks, depending on your prior knowledge and experience with data and business intelligence concepts.

Key Insights

  • Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence software that transforms data from varied sources into reports, visualizations, and interactive dashboards.
  • Power BI is a crucial tool for data interpretation and future predictions within an organization as it relies on machine learning to locate data patterns and predict "what-if" scenarios.
  • It generally takes four to six weeks to learn the basics of Power BI, with the process involving seven specific stages, including installing, integrating data sources, handling data, creating basic visualizations, using DAX functions, making dashboards and reports, and publishing data findings.
  • Prior experience with other Microsoft products, creating data visualizations, and working with DAX can speed up the learning process.
  • Power BI offers different packages at varying price points - Power BI Desktop (free), Power BI Pro ($9.99/user/month), and Power BI Premium ($20/user/month).
  • Noble Desktop offers a comprehensive Power BI Bootcamp and a Data Analytics Certificate course for in-depth training in Power BI and related tools.

Like many aspiring Data Analysts, you may want to learn Power BI but worry that it will take too much time. Although the speed at which you learn Power BI depends on your prior experience working with data and business intelligence concepts and your proficiency with spreadsheets, most experts estimate that you can learn the basics of this software in as little as four weeks. It may take a bit longer to master more complex Power BI concepts and features. Of course, this depends on several factors. Keep reading to find out how you can learn Power BI and find some resources to help speed the process along.

What is Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a group of BI (business intelligence) services and products that converts data from various sources into reports, visualizations, and interactive dashboards. This allows users to share data insights with others who work at their organization or to embed them onto a website or application. Power BI offers effective business solutions with each of its individual elements and provides users with even more capabilities when these components work together.

One of the main benefits of working with Power BI is that it can integrate with other Microsoft services and products and third-party platforms. Users can connect Power BI to Excel, Teams, SharePoint, and Exchange, among others. Whether your data is stored in an on-premises data warehouse, a cloud-based warehouse, or an Excel spreadsheet, Power BI can easily connect to these data sources, provide visualizations based on the data they contain, and offer insights that you can then share with other stakeholders. There are several Power BI products, each of which has different uses; Power BI Desktop creates reports, Power BI Services publishes the reports, and the Power BI mobile app provides users with a way to view each dashboard or report.

Read more about what Power BI is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Power BI?

Power BI is a valuable tool for illustrating what’s happening within an organization in the present. It also has applications for helping to anticipate what may transpire in the future. Because it relies on machine learning capabilities, Power BI can locate patterns in data, then draw from these patterns to predict various “what-if” scenarios. Based on these predictions, Power BI users can create forecasts and work to prepare for different demand patterns that may emerge. They can then communicate this information through data visualizations, which impart key data findings to stakeholders to make more educated business predictions.

Power BI is a go-to for those who work with data because it can be used to input huge stores of data that would be a struggle for other platforms to process. Because this intelligence suite is cloud-based, it provides users with regularly updated algorithms and intelligence capabilities. Those who use Power BI can personalize their experience by creating dashboards that allow them to quickly and easily access necessary data. In addition, it’s possible to create alerts in Power BI, which provide users with up-to-date measurements. Best of all, because this platform can integrate with other business management tools, such as Office 365, SharePoint, SAP, Google Analytics, and Hadoop, it remains a hugely popular tool for those working with data across platforms. 

Average Time it Takes to Learn Power BI

Experts estimate that it takes approximately four to six weeks for most people to learn the basics of Power BI. This number depends on several factors, like the learning type you select, the amount of time you have available to study, the prerequisite skills and training you bring to the table, and your overall learning speed. 

The following is a breakdown of the seven stages of learning how to work with Power BI, as well as an estimate of how long it will take to learn each step, spanning a five-week window:

  1. Installing and setting up Power BI should take less than a day.
  2. Loading and integrating disparate data sources takes approximately two to four days.
  3. Preparing and handling data requires three to five days for most users.
  4. Learning how to create basic data visualizations requires about five to seven days.
  5. Becoming proficient with essential DAX functions is estimated to take approximately two weeks.
  6. Understanding how to make dashboards and reports takes most people three days.
  7. Publishing data findings is a skill most people learn in one day.

Other Factors

The speed at which you learn any new skill varies depending on several components. Learning Power BI is no different. How quickly you become proficient in Power BI will likely depend on several factors, such as whether you have prior experience working with other Microsoft products, if you have a background in analyzing or visualizing data, and any training you’ve had with DAX expressions:

Familiarity with Microsoft Products

One of the perks of working with Power BI is that it integrates with third-party platforms and other Microsoft products, making it easy for users to pull data from various sources. Because Power BI is part of the Microsoft family, it can connect to Teams, Exchange, SharePoint, and Excel. Those with experience working with other Microsoft products may find it easier to learn Power BI.

Prior Experience Creating Data Visualizations

Data visualization is a valuable tool for presenting complex information in a way that’s accessible to those who don’t come from a technical background. To convey raw data, it uses visual representations, such as histograms, maps, area charts, and scatter plots. Because many people are visual learners, presenting data visually to them is a great way to ensure audience members understand data findings and will remember them. Power BI users can create dozens of data visualizations and customize visualizations as needed. The more experience you have working with data visualizations or visual storytelling of any sort, the easier it likely will be to become proficient in Power BI.

General Understanding of Data Analytics

Power BI is one of many tools that perform data analytics. This is why having a background in analyzing data can come in handy when learning this software. Data analytics is a field that consists of different techniques for analyzing raw data to locate trends or patterns. The information gathered from the analytics process is then used by organizations to help them make predictions and more informed decisions. The basic data analytics process involves collecting data, organizing them, and performing different statistical analyses on these numbers.

Background Working with DAX

Data Analysis Expressions, also known as DAX, is a library of operators and functions that help create expressions and formulas in platforms such as Excel, Power BI, and Analysis Services. This programming language is used in Power BI to help create custom tables, measures, and calculated columns. DAX is a function language, which means the complete code is stored within a function. Because this language is used in Power BI, any experience working with DAX will expedite the time it takes to learn Power BI.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

Most users consider Power BI relatively easy to learn and estimate that it takes approximately four to six weeks to become familiar with its essential data visualization capabilities. The speed at which you learn Power BI will depend on different factors, such as your prior experience working with data or visualization software, your familiarity with basic mathematical concepts, and how you approach the learning process. As with most skills, studying Power BI in a structured environment, such as an in-person or live online course, can make learning much easier and faster than it would be in self-directed study.

If you want to begin learning Power BI, several prerequisites can help speed up the learning process. A background in data visualization, such as creating charts or graphs, is one such skill that can expedite the learning process. In addition, a basic familiarity with data modeling and how to pull data from sources such as the internet is another beneficial first step. Also, having a background working with spreadsheets such as those in Microsoft Excel is a common first step toward learning Power BI since Power BI can seamlessly integrate with Excel to facilitate data analysis and visualization.

If you are considering purchasing Power BI, several packages are available for different price points. Power BI Desktop is available as a free download, Power BI Pro is currently offered for $9.99/user/month, and Power BI Premium costs $20/user/month. In addition, a free Power BI trial is also available from Microsoft.

Read about how difficult it is to learn Power BI

Watch a Free Power BI Online Course

If you’re not ready to invest in a lengthy course, you can still start learning how to work with data for free online. In Noble Desktop’s free Data Science Webinar, you’ll receive instruction on core data science concepts, such as how professionals can use data science in the business sector and the different tools Data Scientists use when handling data. This 80-minute webinar is a great way to familiarize yourself with the field of data science and learn more about how professionals manage and analyze large volumes of data.

In addition to Noble Desktop’s business intelligence and data science resources, other top educational providers also offer free Power BI instruction. Udemy’s Power BI Quick Start is a free, two-hour course containing helpful video content on creating your own interactive Power BI dashboard. Students also receive instruction on creating full reports and publishing them on the Power BI service. Udemy also has another free Power BI course, Learn Power BI Fast, in which users learn how to create a professional Power BI report in under two hours. Participants also receive instruction and both basic and advanced data visualization concepts.

In addition, Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI is free from edX. This course teaches students how to use Microsoft Power BI in approximately four weeks. Certification is available for those who pay for the course, or students can elect to simply explore the free content. 

Read more about free Power BI videos and online tutorials

Learn Power BI with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop's Power BI Bootcamp is an excellent option if you want to learn more about using Power BI. This project-based course prepares students to use Power Query for data querying, Power BI’s data model for connecting to datasets, and its report view for designing interactive data visualizations and dashboards. Students work with different case studies to learn how to work with various Power BI capabilities and this tool’s DAX language for creating visualizations based on their data. All students have the option of a free retake for up to one year to revisit the material and gain additional practice.

Another excellent learning option for individuals who are interested in working with Power BI is Noble Desktop’s Data Analytics Certificate. This intensive course is offered in the in-person and live online format and provides participants with hands-on instruction with core data analytics and business intelligence tools and programs. Those enrolled complete real-world projects using Microsoft Excel, Python, SQL, and Tableau and have the option of also taking the Power BI Bootcamp free of charge. All students receive instruction from an expert instructor and one-on-one mentoring.

Key Insights

  • Microsoft Power BI is an interactive business intelligence and data visualization software commonly used in the business sector to help organizations make more informed data-driven decisions.
  • How quickly you learn Power BI will likely depend on several factors, such as if you have experience working with other Microsoft products, whether you are familiar with the field of data analytics, if you have a background in creating data visualizations, or if you already have trained with DAX.
  • Most people can learn to use Power BI in four to six weeks. However, it may take longer to acquire Power BI proficiency if you're new to working with data and other Microsoft products.
  • You can receive comprehensive Power BI training through an in-person or live online course with Noble Desktop.

How to Learn Power BI

Master Power BI with hands-on training. Power BI is a business intelligence tool made by Microsoft that is used to create dashboards and other data visualizations.

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