How to become a Business Analyst

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Business Analyst? What Business Analysts do? Degrees for Business Analysts, Steps to become Business Analyst and much more.

According to Forbes, Business Analyst is one of the most searched job roles in America right now. Business analysts are the fix-it people of the corporate world. They are the bridging gap between the business and IT departments. As such they are required to work with managers, IT teams, and relevant stakeholders to develop systems, improve business processes like productivity, output, distribution, etc. and provide technological solutions that drive the company forward.

What does a Business Analyst do ?

Technical team members rely heavily on business analysts to interpret their tasks in terms and can quickly act upon. Analysts convert technical jargon into more user-friendly terms for management and non-technical stakeholders.

A Business analyst focuses on four main types of analysis:

  • Strategic planning: they identify the changing needs of the company

  • Business Model Analysis: they define policies and market approaches for the company

  • Process Design: they standardize the workflow of the company

  • Systems Analysis: they interpret requirements for the IT department


Steps for becoming a Business Analyst

1

Earn An Undergraduate Degree

One of the prerequisites to becoming a business analyst is a bachelor’s degree mainly in accounting, finance, or business administration. This is the first step towards your goal. 

2

Equip Yourself With Computer Courses

One of the essentials of becoming a Business analyst is to know some computer programming. Different BA roles require different technical proficiency levels. The more computer skills you have the better chances you have over other candidates.

3

Get An Internship Or A Job

You can gain hands-on experience with summer internships and strengthen your network and contacts so that when you apply for jobs after completion of your studies, it doesn’t become an uphill task to get a job as a business analyst.

4

Get Certified

Business analysts can gain critical supplementary knowledge by achieving a respected certification. You can enroll in the prestigious International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) certification. IIBA is the globally recognized trade association and governing body for the business analyst industry. A credible certification will help you climb the career ladders at a quicker rate. 

5

Enroll In A Master’s Degree

After a few years when you have a much better grasp of the niche, field, and industry you want to continue working for, it would be the right time to pursue a master’s degree focusing specifically on the exact career path. Once you complete your master’s degree program, you will emerge as a highly qualified and sought after candidate who has both advanced level education and real-time work experience. 


Business Analyst Salaries

Business Analyst

Business Analyst Degree Levels

Certificate

Certificates offer students preparation for specific jobs and act as stepping stones to college degrees. Certificate in business analytics provide complete exposure to data analytics concepts, techniques, and state-of-the-art tools used in the process of data-driven business decision-making. This course provides knowledge about analytical models and decision-support tools and applies them to large data sets in the areas of marketing, operations, product and technology innovations, financial services, human resources management.

While the prerequisite for a business analyst remains to be a bachelor’s degree, anybody can pursue a career in business analysis with a certification. For fresh graduates with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, an entry-level certification will help them bag a job in the industry. Software professionals looking for new career paths can move from their current jobs to become a business analyst and can get enrolled in certification courses. Software professionals already possess some of the skills like analysis and data mining skills. A certification will help them advance their careers. Certification can take anywhere between six months to one year to be completed depending on the course and the concentrations. 

Business Analytics
  • Statistical skills to analyze data sets

  • Business decisions in a scientific manner

Objectives

To derive organized and logical data from a large data set

Business Fundamentals
  • Management responsibilities

  • Disciplines within the field of business

  • Core business knowledge 

Objectives

Allows students to gain detailed knowledge in business without having to pursue MBA

Marketing
  • Technical skills to deal marketing issues

  • Support of effective business decision-making

  • Business decisions in application manner

Objectives

Enables students to make decisions based on the analysis of dynamic market situations 

Bachelors

Business analytics includes tools and applications that are used to gather and interpret data from numerous resources, create reports, and deliver a solution to various business-related issues. This degree also helps students learn how to combine and make use of statistics, data science, and computer engineering, while also developing analytical and mathematical skills. For entry-level jobs as a business analyst, a bachelor’s degree in business administration or other related degree is a must. Bachelor’s degree program will include classes like accounting, business law, business communication, and other specialized classes like accounting management and marketing. A bachelor’s degree program in business administration typically takes 4 years to complete. 

Descriptive Analytics
  • Analyse historic data

  • Predictions about business decisions

  • JMP statistical and data visualization

Objectives
  • Analytics Consulting

  • Business Intelligence

  • Business Strategy

Predictive Analytics
  • Techniques of predictive modeling

  • Covers multivariate and other techniques

  • Variety of practical business applications.

Objectives
  • Optimization Consulting

  • Predictive Analysis

  • Statistical Analysis

Business Analytics
  • Business analytics in organizations

  • Apply basic business analytics tools 

  • Communicate with analytics professionals

Objectives
  • Business Strategy

  • Data Analytics

  • Data Mining

Masters

A master’s degree in analytics typically takes 2 years to complete. A master’s degree will offer further specialization and help you bag jobs in higher positions like that of management analysts, operations research analysts, marketing analysts, data scientists, and other big data jobs. Master’s in business analytics degree is intended to prepare students to understand and use data science to resolve business challenges, giving the skillset needed for professions in a wide range of industries such as management consulting, financial services, technology, and healthcare.

Accounting Finance
  • Auditing methods, budgeting, cost analysis

  • Financial reporting and tax preparation

Objectives

Analyse and apply appropriate methods for financial reporting using domestic as well as international regulations and laws

Applied Economics
  • Analysis of economic variables

  • Understanding of microeconomics

  • Efficient use of resources

Objectives
  • Data collection

  • Data processing

  • Investigative questioning techniques

Data Analytics
  • Foundations of Data and Decision Methods 

  • Presentation and Visualization of Data

  • Optimization and Risk Assessment

Objectives

Use statistical, analytical techniques and consult stakeholders to produce a logical and effective data analytics initiative

Doctorate

Doctor in Business Analytics courses focuses on research methods and big data interpretation. This method helps applicants to analyze business representations and organizations. The programs include supply chain analysis, data structures, structural equation modeling etc. This research-based education gives applicants an opening to hone their critical-thinking, research and self-discipline skills.

Advanced Prescriptive Analytics
  • Checks business needs and gives solutions

  • Optimizations of business outcomes 

Objectives

Establishes a comprehensive description of the business process to be modeled, including defining the business objective and the variables

Data Mining and Predictive Analytics
  • A systematic process for pattern recognition 

  • Recovery of data by statistical techniques

Objectives
  • Correlation Analysis

  • Regression Analysis

Research Design and Implementation Planning
  • Comprehensive business in a structured way

  • Analyse about entrepreneurial activities

  • Methods of handling business risks

Objectives

Conduct a feasibility analysis to determine the worthiness of a potential new business idea.


Job concentrations for Business Analyst 

Business Analyst:

Well, the most common and the most expected role is that of a business analyst. It is an entry-level job. As a business analyst, you will act as the link between the management and the tech team, you will analyze the underlying problems and provide technical solutions for the same.

Project Manager:

The role of a project manager and a business analyst is closely linked. In some companies, the positions are handled by one person while in other companies these are two different roles. While business analysts are responsible for identifying and analyzing business problems, project managers develop detailed plans and coordinate resources to deliver identified problems.

Business Process Analyst:

The role of a Business Process Analyst was once nearly identical with that of a business analyst. It has however evolved in recent years. The primary focus is on business processes- their identification, categorization, and how they can be improved. As a process analyst, they optimize inefficient and outdated approaches often through automation. Most process analysts begin their careers as business analysts before moving onto process analysis.

Stand out skills for a Business Analyst

Having the following skills can help you stand out as a business analyst:

Technical Skills: One of the main responsibilities of a BA is to provide technical solutions. Hence, having technical knowledge is a must. More and more business analysts are increasing their technical proficiency with the knowledge of computer programming, big data mining, database management, and systems engineering.

Critical thinking and Business Knowledge: Business Analysts must be able to understand the roles of different individuals and departments and how these departments interact and depend on each other. This business knowledge will help them to successfully analyze data points and build strategic plans for the future. Critical thinking is another very important skill for a business analyst. Listening to stakeholders and asking the right questions to determine needs will help them evaluate those needs to ensure they address the underlying problems.

Good Communication Skills: Business analyst works as the link between the management and the tech team. They collect information, present to wide-ranging stakeholders, translate and negotiate between parties. Hence, it is imperative for a BA to have an excellent hold over their verbal and written communication skills.

Organizational Skills: A business analyst has a lot on their table at any given point in time. They pour over volumes of data on a daily basis. Hence it is important that they know to prioritize their task and be efficient with time and resource allocation. Having good organizational skills will help them complete their jobs on or before time. 

Interpersonal Skills: It is a known fact that the management and the tech team are always at loggerheads. Disagreements always occur over prioritizing steps forward. Changes cannot be made without the teams coming to a mutual conclusion. As a link between the management and the tech team, it is the responsibility of the BA to keep them on the same page and get the job done. Without excellent interpersonal skills, it wouldn’t be possible. Hence, interpersonal skills are of utmost importance if you are considering to pursue a business analyst role.