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 titles in America right now.
Business analysts are the fix-it people of the corporate world. They bridge the gap between the business and IT departments in large companies. As such, they are required to work with managers, IT teams, and relevant stakeholders to develop systems, improve business processes and provide technological solutions that drive the company forward.
What does a Business Analyst do ?
Business analysts serve as translators between more technically minded employees and more business-focused employees. They can explain required tasks to the technical teams in ways that they understand and decode technical jargon for management when providing progress updates.
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
Earn An Undergraduate Degree
One of the first steps on the path toward becoming a business analyst is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Typically, those interested in a career as a business analyst will study subjects related to business, such as accounting, finance, or business administration.
Equip Yourself With Computer Courses
Business analysts typically find themselves positioned between management and more technical teams in a company, serving as the go-between or translator for them. This means that business analysts need to understand computers and software as well as they understand the world of business.
Earning a concentration in something like management information systems or taking other computer classes like programming can help future business analysts build sufficient computer skills.
Get An Internship Or A Job
You can gain hands-on experience with summer internships and strengthen your network of contacts. When you apply for jobs after completion of your studies, you can leverage your network to find opportunities and use the experience you’ve earned to make yourself more marketable to employers.
Business analysts can gain critical supplementary knowledge by achieving a respected certification. One option is the prestigious International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) certification.
IIBA is the globally recognized trade association and governing body for the business analyst industry. Earning a certification can be a great way to acquire new skills and advance your career.
Enroll In A Master’s Degree Program
Once you’ve gained some experience in the world of business, a master’s degree will give you the opportunity to specialize in a specific field or industry. You can select a degree program that will help you learn the precise skills that you need to succeed in your chosen niche.
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 Degree Levels
Certificates help students gain skills required for specific jobs and act as stepping stones to college degrees. A certificate in business analytics provides 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 is typically a bachelor’s degree, anybody can pursue a career in business analysis with a certificate. For fresh graduates with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, an entry-level certification will help them land a job in the industry.
Software professionals looking for new career paths can move from their current jobs to become business analysts 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.
Statistical skills to analyze data sets
Business decisions in a scientific manner
To derive organized and logical data from a large data set
Disciplines within the field of business
Core business knowledge
Allows students to gain detailed knowledge in business without having to pursue MBA
Technical skills to deal marketing issues
Support of effective business decision-making
Business decisions in application manner
Enables students to make decisions based on the analysis of dynamic market situations
Business analytics includes tools and applications that are used to gather and interpret data from numerous sources, 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 degrees is a must. Bachelor’s degree programs 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 four years to complete.
Analyse historic data
Predictions about business decisions
JMP statistical and data visualization
Techniques of predictive modeling
Covers multivariate and other techniques
Variety of practical business applications.
Business analytics in organizations
Apply basic business analytics tools
Communicate with analytics professionals
A master’s degree in analytics typically takes two years to complete. A master’s degree will offer further specialization and help you get jobs in higher positions such as management analysts, operations research analysts, marketing analysts, data scientists, and other big data jobs.
A master’s in business analytics is intended to prepare students to understand and use data science to resolve business challenges, giving them the skill set needed for careers in a wide range of industries such as management consulting, financial services, technology, and healthcare.
Auditing methods, budgeting, cost analysis
Financial reporting and tax preparation
Analyse and apply appropriate methods for financial reporting using domestic as well as international regulations and laws
Analysis of economic variables
Understanding of microeconomics
Efficient use of resources
Investigative questioning techniques
Foundations of Data and Decision Methods
Presentation and Visualization of Data
Optimization and Risk Assessment
Use statistical, analytical techniques and consult stakeholders to produce a logical and effective data analytics initiative
Doctoral courses in Business Analytics focus on research methods and big data interpretation. 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
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
Research Design and Implementation Planning
Comprehensive business in a structured way
Analyse about entrepreneurial activities
Methods of handling business risks
Conduct a feasibility analysis to determine the worthiness of a potential new business idea.
Careers for business analysts
There are many careers and concentrations available for people who want to become business analysts. Let’s take a look at five of the most common ones:
Aptly named, one of the most common entry-level jobs for people who study business analysis is business analyst.
Business analysts work between technical teams and business-focused teams, translating needs into actions while decoding technical jargon. This ensures that management can better understand the more technical operations of a business.
The main job of a business analyst is to improve a company’s overall operation by streamlining processes, improving products and services, and finding more efficient ways to do things.
A business analyst’s job description typically includes tasks like:
- Creating a detailed business analysis, outlining problems, opportunities, and solutions
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Planning and monitoring
- Variance analysis
- Defining business requirements and reporting them back to stakeholders
Entry-level business analysts earn an average salary of just over $60,000 per year. As you gain experience, you can choose a specialization. Specializing can help increase your earning potential.
Business process analyst
The role of a Business Process Analyst was once nearly identical to that of a business analyst. However, it has evolved in recent years.
The primary focus of a business process analyst is, unsurprisingly, on business processes.
Every business has a standard way of doing things and processes that they follow. These processes might be codified or documented, but they are often passed from one employee to another and not written down anywhere.
Business process analysts identify the different processes that a company uses. They document these processes and come up with standard operating procedures.
They also identify potential improvements in outdated or inefficient processes. For example, they may find opportunities to automate simple tasks or a way to apply technology in a manner that was not used before.
The average business process analyst makes about $85,000 per year. This role is often the first step on the career path for people who want to move on to other jobs that involve process analysis.
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 to accomplish tasks.
While project managers must understand both the business and technical side of things, soft skills are among the most important in a project manager’s arsenal. They will be responsible for leading a business through a change and motivating employees to work toward it.
Many people dislike major shifts and changes, so project managers have to communicate the benefits of the projects they lead and keep everything moving forward.
The average project manager earns $110,000 per year, making this a lucrative field to work in.
Working as a management consultant can be an exciting career path for those who want to be constantly challenged by finding solutions to new problems on a daily basis.
When a company has issues or wants to identify opportunities to improve its operations or processes, it can bring in a consultant. The consultant will analyze the business, identify its strong points, and look for opportunities to improve. This involves a lot of research, learning about the company’s goals, its needs, and how it does business.
Most management consultants work for consulting firms. Businesses looking to improve hire those consulting firms. This means that you may wind up working with dozens of businesses over the course of a single year. You’ll gain a lot of experience in different fields very quickly and constantly encounter new and exciting challenges.
The median management consultant earns about $83,610 per year. Many consultants choose to specialize in certain industries, like healthcare or manufacturing. Those with a specialty and lots of experience can often command higher salaries.
Modern businesses, especially large ones, are highly complex and ever-changing. There are dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of moving parts that all interact and need to work smoothly to keep the company running.
A business architect is responsible for understanding the structure of an organization and how each part interacts with others. They help to align the business’s goals and decisions with the structure of the company, reorganizing things as needed to achieve those goals.
If you like to look at the big picture but also have an eye for detail, a career as a business architect might be right for you. While the role can be difficult, you’ll be well compensated. The median business architect earns a bit more than $127,000 per year.
Essential 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: A business analyst works as the link between the management and the tech team. They collect information, present it 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. So, it’s 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 pursuing a business analyst role.
A career as a business analyst is great for those who have an eye for detail and like to make organizations work more efficiently.
If you study to become a business analyst, you’ll have the freedom to specialize in a specific industry or to work in multiple industries, meaning you’ll constantly face new challenges and situations.
If you’re interested in becoming a business analyst but need some help paying for school, check out our list of the best student loans.