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Career Path: How to Become a Business Analyst

A successful Business Analyst serves as the go-between for a company and its clients and is adept at seeking solutions and anticipating issues. It is a career that continues to be in-demand as Business Analysts guide a business towards more successful operations, saving them time and money. They can also predict trends through research and analysis; keeping their clients ahead of the curve.

There are other occupations closely related to that of Business Analyst, including business consultants, requirements managers and system analysts, all of which have similar tasks to Bus...more

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Career Path: How to Become a Business Analyst

A successful Business Analyst serves as the go-between for a company and its clients and is adept at seeking solutions and anticipating issues. It is a career that continues to be in-demand as Business Analysts guide a business towards more successful operations, saving them time and money. They can also predict trends through research and analysis; keeping their clients ahead of the curve.

There are other occupations closely related to that of Business Analyst, including business consultants, requirements managers and system analysts, all of which have similar tasks to Business Analysts with only minimal amounts of role distinctions that vary based on the companies that employ them.

Business Analysts have a career that is made up of many components and can be influenced by different sectors. Daily they gather and analyze information, report their findings to the project manager and regularly liaise with clients. They must also document all aspects of their work and share these documents with users. It is a highly-communicative role, as Business Analysts also hold meetings and report their findings to managers, stakeholders and clients, being sure to use language that is adapted to these specific audiences.

Getting Through the Door

Business Analysts often find their way into this profession after discovering an interest in business and the desire to make a difference working for clients. Those who have studied business, computer science or related fields and have a knack for expressing themselves and their ideas may find this role a natural fit. Business Analysts are as tech-savvy as they are business-savvy, although that depends on what their company needs and being able to thrive as a member of a team is a must.

To get an entry-level position after college, it is ideal for Business Analysts to have a portfolio that demonstrates the type of projects they have contributed to and the results they have achieved. This will show potential employers what kinds of ideas you have and how you go about making them work. Being results-driven and determined are always attractive features to employers in this field, as are:

  • Having a working understanding of how that particular business operates
  • Being able to illustrate your knack for analysis and problem-solving
  • Experience with Microsoft PowerPoint and related programs
  • Demonstrating how you excel as a member of a team
  • Having a sharp eye for detail
  • Being a critical thinker

Degrees and Experience

Business Analysts are often required to have a bachelor’s degree, although some companies may prefer a job candidate holds a master’s degree. They study such disciplines as business administration, accounting, statistics, economics, business management and computer science. Some employers hire Business Analysts who hold a management consultant certification, though this depends on the firm.

Many Business Analysts are hired directly after graduating, with coursework and internships being their first modes of job experience. It is key for Business Analysts to have a natural aptitude for business and possibly IT if they want to be hired by a firm after graduation.

Working as a Junior Level Business Analyst

Business Analyst at the junior level have worked in their professional capacity for at least a couple of years and have demonstrated to their managers and clients that they are gaining proficiency in their role. They often take on more responsibilities at this level and may be called upon to train new hires. Junior level Business Analysts may attend training and seminars that help to further hone their skills and help solidify their understanding of Business Analysis and its evolution.

Moving up the Ranks

It is possible to ascend the ladder of the Business Analyst profession through hard work and dedication. Business Analysts who stand out from their colleagues often develop an instinct that allows them to foretell problems and nip them in the bud before it affects their clients. Having a passion for analysis and being able to determine solutions that improve business is a sure-fire way for a Business Analyst to keep moving forward in their career.

Advance Your Career: How to become a Senior Business Analyst

Business Analysts at the senior level have attained a level of respect and fluency that takes years of work to achieve. As you move through the ranks with an eye on a senior position, Business Analysts can set themselves apart by going above and beyond their typical responsibilities. Maybe they have an opportunity to create a major money-saving plan with a client after studying their expenses. Perhaps they take any chance at helping to guide junior colleagues. These are situations that Business Analysts may not be required to do but taking it upon yourself to go the extra mile will move you closer to a senior level position than you may expect.

Study the Core Fields

To be a well-rounded Business Analyst, staying apprised of the various subcategories of the job can only serve you better. In the field of Business Analysis, this can evolve computer science, that is, if your clients are tech-based. Staying on top of the latest technologies will help you do your job better and ensure you are an asset to your company.

Business-related subjects, including management, accounting, human resources and administration, as well as economics and statistics, are likely to be the subjects you continuously encounter as a Business Analyst and have likely been subjects studied while attending college. Keeping up with emerging trends in these fields can ensure your business savviness stays fresh and reliable. This can be done through online research, subscribing to specialized publications and networking at business functions.

Invest in Yourself

A Business Analyst biggest asset is themselves, so investing in yourself and expanding your knowledge as you continue your career can be a major bonus. Attend all seminars and conferences relating to Business Analysis and be sure to network. If your employers ask you to update or attain new certifications through online and in-class courses, be sure to do so. You are not only increasing your skills and experience but are increasing your chances of moving up the career ladder.

Don’t Stop at Business Analysis

Business Analysis is a competitive field, so maintaining an active interest in like-fields can help you hone your skills and better understand your strengths and weaknesses. As mentioned, business subjects like accounting and management, IT subjects like computer programming and math-socio fields like economics and statistics will continue to enter your work sphere as a Business Analyst, so studying these fields and understanding how they are evolving will help keep you an asset.

Business Analyst Job Description

When a business is engaged in a project, it is the role of the Business Analyst to serve as the link between the project manager and the end user. They typically work on a team and are tasked with analyzing, assessing and refining processes that better serve the company and its clients. It is a role that often involves the use of technical skills, although some companies also employ non-IT Business Analysts. No matter what the precise needs of a company are, a Business Analyst should be business-minded, client-focused, result-driven and endlessly-analytical.

What We Need Your Help With

  • Reviewing business processes to look for weak points that can be improved upon.
  • Developing and implementing solutions that meet business needs.
  • Automating and optimizing systems using advancements in technology
  • Working closely with stakeholders and anticipating their needs.
  • Conducting meetings with colleagues, managers and clients to deliver progress reports, findings and solutions.
  • Collaborating with team members to deliver client results

We Look For

  • A degree holder in business admin, communications, computer science or a related subject.
  • A business and tech-savvy leader
  • Someone with excellent communication skills
  • The ability to document all work
  • An aptitude for creating reports and giving presentations
  • Someone who consistently demonstrates the ability to think on their feet
  • A candidate who has a passion for analysis and problem solving

These Would Also Be Nice

  • Having exceptional time management skills
  • Being a natural leader
  • Having an interest in client needs
  • Having sharp critical thinking skills

Senior Business Analyst Career Paths: Where to Go from Here

Those who ascend to a senior level in their Business Analyst career may be content to stay right where they are or seek a change or new opportunities. The most common job roles a senior Business Analyst migrates to include project managers who oversee a project from start to finish, product managers who do the same but for the release of a new product and business operations managers, who analyze, influence and seek solutions for the overall operations within a company.

A senior Business Analyst can spend years in their position, leading cross-functional teams and using their years of experience to anticipate company and client needs. As Business Analysts evolve and their skills sharpen, they will likely find that their amount of responsibilities, respect from colleagues and pay all rise as well. It is a career that can make a difference in the success of various businesses, with many Business Analysts seeing their career as very rewarding, professionally, financially and personally.

SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a highly popular domain specific language (DSL) used to communicate with relational database management systems (RDBMS). SQL is a standard that is based on the "relational model", defined by professor E.F. Codd,...

R is a language designed for data manipulation and visualization. It is capable of doing various statistical computing and graphic generation (including linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classificat...

Python is an object-oriented programming language notable for its clarity, power and flexibility. Python is an interpreted language, meaning that an interpreter reads and runs the code directly, rather than compiling down into static lower level c...

"Agile Methodologies" or "Agile" are ways of describing an iterative approach to software development. Often adopted as an alternative to waterfall and other traditional sequential development practices. It is meant to help teams work quickly to i...

C++

C++ is an object-oriented language derived from C, and invented by Bjarne Stroustrup, while working at AT&T's Bell Labs. It is widely used for systems-level programming, and building applications on Windows and various Unix operating systems (Lin...

C

C is a widely used low-level, static-typed, compiled computer language known for its efficiency. Developed in the late sixties, C has become one of the most widely used languages of all time. It provides direct access to memory and due to its de...

Java is a statically-typed, cross-platform language. It is concurrent, class-based, and object-oriented. It has minimal implementation dependencies and compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilat...

JavaScript is a scripting language, originally implemented in web browsers, but now widely used server-side via the Node.js platform. It supports a runtime system based on numerical, Boolean and string values, with built-in, first-class support f...

Adobe Photoshop is the mode widely used photo editing and image manipulation application in the world. It is used by designers and hobbyists worldwide to design products, advertising, applications, websites, art, and more.

Top industries hiring Business Analysts

eCommerce

The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Retail was once a brick-and-mortar industry, comprised of small, independently owned-and-operated businesses and large chain stores with multiple outposts throughout the c...

Consulting

Consultants offer advice, as well as support, to help resolve various issues within an organization. They communicate well with clients and employees in order to complete the tasks at hand to get it done on time. Consultants are professionals in a...

Education

The education industry involves working in an environment that implements and teaches various skills and applicable material. Formal education typically involves various levels of education, including preschool, primary, secondary, tertiary, vo...

Energy

The energy industry is composed of companies that produce and distribute energy supplies. It includes businesses that drill and refine oil and gas, those that explore and develop oil and gas reserves and companies that provide power utilities. ...

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