Business analysis is an appealing profession for many people, mainly because it combines art and science. That said, it takes more than just being creative to be considered for business analyst jobs.
Business analysts have vital roles within a company. They research and gather data to come up with solutions for companies’ problems. Moreover, they act as bridges between the IT departments and the stakeholders. All in all, they make businesses improve and succeed through data analyses.
Although this might not be a job you often hear about, there are many business analyst job openings. These roles are in high demand and have always been one of the fundamental branches of all other management analyst jobs.
So, let’s go over the basics of what it takes to make a career in the business analyst universe.
What Does a Business Analyst Do?
Evaluating and analyzing data across multiple departments in a company and offering the optimal solutions to any problems that the company might encounter are the primary duties listed in any business analyst position description.
Business analysts are hired to manage and change a company’s long-term plans to reach said company’s future goals. They work very closely with the IT sector and, in some companies, they even share offices with the IT department.
Business Analyst Job Description
A business analyst is responsible for a series of duties within a company. Here are some of the responsibilities expected of a business analyst.
- Creating a business analysis and defining problems
Jobs for business analysts entail research and analysis of business opportunities to help the company reach its goals. Additionally, business analysts are called upon when the company has a specific problem, and they are the first to respond and provide a proper solution.
- Budgeting and Forecasting
Business analysts are in charge of the amount of money spent on each company goal. They’re also responsible for identifying the amount of disposable revenue. Moreover, one of their primary tasks is forecasting, which entails reviewing past spending habits and adjusting the budget for future unexpected events.
- Planning and Monitoring
Planning and monitoring are critical duties in business analyst jobs. Achieving companies’ goals needs effective planning. However, the future is always uncertain, and business analysts need to do adequate monitoring and evaluation to be ready for any unexpected problems.
The pricing part of a business analyst job is a very delicate process. Pricing products correctly can lead to an increase in sales, which is essential for a business to thrive. However, getting a pricing strategy wrong can lead to problems that may cost a company a lot of money and cause complications that the company may never recover from.
- Variance Analyses
Variance analysis is the examination of the disparity between actual and planned costs in a company’s revenue. Business analysts often have level entry business analysts who work for them, and these interns are responsible for carrying out the variance analyses. Therefore, when starting, entry level business analyst jobs often require you to do variance analysis as one of your first and primary responsibilities.
Business analysts must know how to communicate with both the technical team and the company’s clients. They need to be able to communicate clients’ needs to specialists while, at the same time, translating the technical output and terms to the clients. Therefore, they should possess both technical and business knowledge if they are to report appropriately.
- Financial Modeling
When it comes to financial modeling, professionals in business analysis jobs are responsible for analyzing company data. They’re also required to make financial profit and loss statements and use them for evaluation purposes.
- Defining business requirements and reporting back to stakeholders
Business analysts oversee the procedure of defining, analyzing, discovering, and documenting the requirements related to a company’s business objectives. BA jobs rotate around prioritizing requirements and providing feedback to stakeholders.
Business Analyst Job Types
Business Process Analyst (BPA)
A BPA is a unique role because it requires so-called thinking processes. Business Process Analysts focus mainly on the business side of things. Their job is to deduct process details, link them to the company’s objectives, and finally improve them to reach the company’s ultimate goals.
Business System Analyst (BSA)
The business system analyst is a different kind of business analyst career path. Business system analysts are more concentrated on the technical aspect of the job. Specifically, they monitor and share their opinions on improving the hardware, software, and business systems.
A BSA works closely with the executive team members and is very much involved in improving the company’s current operations and procedures.
Generalist Business Analyst
Generalists are unique in the spectrum of business analyst careers, as they can work in multiple industries. Generalists know just enough of both the business and technical side, and that’s what makes them flexible to work in different sectors.
A generalist business analyst’s primary goal is to put their knowledge and technique into good use when encountering problems.
Business analysts usually work in an office environment. However, some business analysts may need to travel for the sake of meeting with other employees.
From a business analyst position, you rarely work alone, as there’s constant communication with other departments’ managers within the company.
Business analysts typically work on projects with deadlines, so sometimes they have to put in the extra effort never to miss those deadlines. These projects often take up to two or three weeks, or they may even last up to two years.
Business analyst jobs can also be remote. Many business analysts work for different companies simultaneously and are paid per contract or on a project basis.
As a result, they can work either from home or their own office. Now more than ever, there are many remote business analyst jobs available.
Although business analysts often have the standard full-time 40h/week work schedule, they can also have flexible hours. That said, when they work on projects with tight deadlines, they may work overtime as well. Therefore, if you choose to take the business analyst career path, you should know that this is not an ordinary nine to five job.
How to Become a Business Analyst?
To become a business analyst, you need to possess a particular set of skills and have certain degrees, licenses, and certifications. Furthermore, if you’re aspiring to be hired at one of the senior business analyst jobs, you need to be patient, hard-working, and very focused.
Also, keep in mind that if you want to advance in the BA sector, you will have to be employed at business analyst jobs at entry level first.
- Impressive communication skills
Business analysts hold face-to-face meetings with stakeholders and company executives. They also communicate with other staff members via phone, email, or in-person for every given project. Therefore, to apply for a business analysis job, you need to have excellent communication skills.
- Problem-solving abilities
The key to being a good business analyst is finding outstanding solutions when a problem presents itself. To find answers, you have to examine the issue from multiple angles and make the correct decisions. Not an easy task at all.
- Computer knowledge
Out of all business analyst job requirements, this is the most important one. As mentioned above, a business analyst works closely with the IT team.
Extensive knowledge of the IT industry is necessary, and staying up to date with new industry developments is crucial. Depending on the exact position, business analysts should know Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visio, Business Process Models, Software Design Tools, and many other programs.
- Analytical skills
If you’re interested in following a career path for business analysts, keep in mind that analytical skills are essential to collect and analyze information, and make decisions from the data you have already collected.
Business analysts use their skills to detect patterns in a big pool of data and observe and interpret that information. Consequently, there are a few skills you need to possess, such as creativity, research, and critical thinking.
- Documenting and writing reports
Documenting is part of any business analyst jobs description. What kind of documenting you’ll be doing depends on various factors, such as your company’s or stakeholders’ preferences and your business analysis standards.
With that in mind, you might need to carry out stakeholders analysis, business analysis plans, current state plans, scope statement specifications, and a few more. However, by no means will you need to do all of these. Instead, you can choose the best option for the project you’re working on.
If you want to be a business analyst, a Bachelor’s degree is a must. To be hired at one of the business analyst positions available, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree in some of the related areas such as finance, accounting, business administration, economics, political science, or sociology. That said, some companies prefer candidates with a Master’s degree.
To become a good business analyst, you first need to gain experience. Some positions may require experience in junior business analyst jobs first. Apart from this, having experience in programming and modeling and a particular industry background can undoubtedly be helpful.
There are two certificates by IIBA for business analysts: the Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA) and the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP). There are also certifications for project managers.
The average business analyst salary is around $68,346. In New York, the average salary is 12% higher than the national average wage. Washington comes in second, with a 6% higher salary, while Houston is third with a 2% higher wage.
Atlanta and Minneapolis are among the few states with 2% lower salaries than the national average wage.
Business Analyst Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, management analysts are in high demand. To be more specific, between the years 2019 and 2029, management analyst jobs, which include the business analyst job role, are expected to rise by 11%, which surpasses the percentage of any other occupation.
Experience is the key to being a successful business analyst. If you want to build your skill set and gain experience working on multiple projects, entry level business analyst jobs can help you reach your goals.
As you establish your career as a business analyst, you can choose to remain a general business analyst or specialize in other areas.
Ultimately, if you become a successful business analyst, you can smoothly progress to working as a manager at an executive level.
Business analyst jobs are always evolving and changing, especially now that companies rely on data analysis. Pursuing a business analyst career can be an exceptional opportunity for people who enjoy analytics and love to solve puzzles.
However, if you plan to become a business analyst, make sure you spend extra time working on your communication and technical skills.
Frequency Asked Questions
How do I get a job as a business analyst?
First of all, you need to have a Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business administration, economics, political science, or sociology. Secondly, to successfully apply for a business analyst job, you must possess various skill sets, such as communication skills, analytical skills, and excellent problem-solving skills.
Is business analyst a difficult job?
The answer to this question is simple; being a business analyst is a very demanding job. That’s because being a business analyst means reporting on projects which have encountered many problems. Therefore, not only do you have to register this data, but you have to find solutions to resolve said problems along the way.
Is business analyst a stressful job?
Working in BA jobs can sometimes be stressful because business analysts carry a significant role within the company. Apart from that, business analysts work on projects with deadlines and are tasked with finding, analyzing, and fixing problems. Similarly, reporting to people at executive levels, which is yet another of a business analyst’s duties, can also be stressful.
Are business analysts in demand?
Just like in any other sector, BA professionals start from business analyst entry level jobs. Business analysts’ jobs are always on the rise and in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that by 2029 there would be an increase of 14% in demand for business analysts in the US.
Is a business analyst a good career?
Business analysts play a crucial role in any company. That’s why the business analyst job salary is usually high. Business analysts help find and fix problems and are in high demand in every business area, from finance to IT management.
Once you’ve established yourself as a business analyst, you can choose which way you want your career to go. For example, you can go into project management or even take an IT management path.
Are business analysts well paid?
The average business analyst’s salary is $68,346. However, it all depends on where you are in your career. There are three stages in business analyst jobs; entry-level, mid-career, and senior-level business analysts.
– Entry-level: $40,000 to $70,000
– Mid-career: $55,000 to $95,000
– Senior-level: $70,000 to $150,000