What does a business analyst do?
A business analyst conducts a detailed examination of a business’ processes and systems, and then uses that information to understand and meet various stakeholders’ needs by improving processes and implementing technical solutions. There are various business analyst specialties, with some of the most popular being information security analyst, management analyst, and financial analyst.
What skills do you need to become a business analyst?
If you’re planning to become a business analyst, you’ll be wearing many hats. Unsurprisingly, you need excellent analytical, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills. You should also have strong communication and interpersonal skills, as you’ll be acting as the liaison between technology specialists and less-technologically minded stakeholders, translating data and numbers into layman’s terms. Business analysts are researchers and project managers, too, so organizational skills and attention to detail are key. Finally, creativity and knowledge of process improvement are vital, as you seek innovative solutions to inefficiencies.
What experience and/or certifications do you need to be a business analyst?
You can apply to be a business analyst once you have your bachelor’s degree. Business analysts graduate with a variety of majors, but business administration, economics, and finance degrees are the most popular. For senior roles, a master’s can be helpful. Before applying to a business analyst role, you’ll want to hone your business and IT savvy. In terms of software and services, it helps to have experience with Microsoft Excel, Visio, and Access; Tableau; and Google Analytics. If you know SQL or R, all the better. Finally, you should understand core concepts, like budgeting and forecasting, variance and cost-benefit analysis, and process modeling.
More than 75 percent of analysts have done one or more internships before applying to a full-time analyst role. The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) offers three levels of certification for business analysts, including the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) and Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA). While these designations aren’t necessary, they are prestigious. Completing them can add credibility and help with future promotions.
What companies and industries employ business analysts?
Business analysts work individually and cross-functionally in their organizations, and they’re most likely to be employed in financial services, management consulting, information technology services, healthcare, telecommunications, and banking. The majority of business analysts find jobs in major US cities, including New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
What is the job outlook and salary for business analyst roles?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment for business analysts to grow over the next decade. Exact growth rates vary widely by title. Financial analyst roles are expected to grow by 6%, while management analyst roles are expected to grow by 14%. Salaries vary by specialty, too, with a financial analyst making a median annual wage of $85,660, while a management analyst makes $83,610.