Business Analyst

How to Become a Business Analyst

 

To become a business analyst, you'll first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following describes you, you might be well-suited for this field:

 

• Are you an analytical thinker?

• Do you have an aptitude for puzzle solving?

• Do you enjoy matching possible business solutions to business problems?

• Do you get a kick out of technology and enjoy working with people and databases in equal measure?

 

Those who become business analysts are typically individuals with a natural aptitude in mathematics and information technology. They also tend to have excellent modeling skills, which allow them to solve complex problems.

 

Those who thrive this profession tend to be interested in a career on the leading edge of innovation for business. They are interested in a career that allows them to leverage their mathematical, IT and problem solving skills to provide with a competitive edge to their employer by creating real-world technical solutions for reducing inefficiency.

 

Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a business analyst. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Business Analyst

You will likely need at least a bachelor’s degree in management, industrial engineering, computer engineering, computer science, applied mathematics, statistics, applied physics, or quantitative analysis.

 

Computer skills related to data analysis and mathematical or statistical modelling are required in this career, so pursuing coursework that teaches you skills in these areas is highly beneficial.

 

Success Tip: Having a master's degree in one of the above-mentioned fields can be advantageous when applying for business analyst jobs.

 

 

 

 

What is a Business Analyst?

Acting as a liaison between project or business management and the information technology (IT) department, business analysts are internal business consultants who are responsible for investigating business systems, identifying options for improving business systems and bridging the needs of the business with the use of information technology (IT).

 

 

General Job Description

In liaison with the project manager, business analysts are responsible for identifying, defining, analyzing and then documenting the underlying information systems needs of a project, before the project begins. They must also help determine which projects have priority, based on the objectives of the company, and they must ensure projects comply with the requirements of the business.

 

The work of business analysts focuses exclusively on the benefits of the project for the company's business. Their work differs from that of project managers and functional analysts because their role is to show what the product will be required to do, rather than how it will do it. Business analysts choose products based on the analyzed needs of the business, rather than committing to a certain product, and tailoring their company’s plans around it. 

 

 

Typical Job Duties

• Act as a liaison between clients and development departments

• Distinguish business requests from needs

• Assess plans of proposed project in order to ensure needs are met

• Prepare statement of purpose in order to ensure the end results are satisfactory to all involved

• Determine which project elements are to be looked after by outside sources

• Work with each business department in order to ensure project cohesion

•Document the scope of projects, their objectives and expected benefits

•Translate business requirements into technical objectives for development teams

•Use advanced modelling and analytical tools

•Follow up during the testing and implementation phases of the project

 

 

Who Employs Business Analysts?

Business analysts are employed on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by large and small organizations. Most however, are hired as full-time employees by large organizations, with relatively few being self-employed.

 

They are often hired as full-time in-house employees because their work closely affects company growth. Jobs for business analysts tend to be in large urban areas, as that is where many companies and public organizations have their head offices.

 

Companies that employ them include:

 

• Construction companies

• Utility companies

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Hospitals and health care organizations

• Colleges and universities

• Federal, provincial/state and municipal government departments

• Transportation companies

• Telecommunications companies

• Insurance and finance companies

• IT and management consulting companies 

 

 

 

 

Career Advancement in This Field

Business analysts typically begin their careers in entry-level roles, often working on simple projects and using limited tools. They focus on interviews, information research and classic analysis. As they become more experienced, they progress into working on larger projects, which demand more proficient use of increasingly complex tools, such as modelling, quality assurance, object-oriented tools and UML techniques (Unified Modelling Language).

 

Once a business analyst has gained experience and competence within various job functions, they may start their own consulting business or move into management positions.

 

 

Skills and Traits Needed 

To be an effective business analyst, you'll need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will not only allow to perform your job with competence; they will allow you to overcome the challenges of this career:

 

• You enjoy working with people and information technology

• You have computer skills related to data analysis and mathematical or statistical modeling

• You're able to solve complex problems

• You have excellent interpersonal and communication skills

• You're able to match business needs with IT solutions

• You're able to differentiate between business ‘needs’ and business ‘wants’

• You have a methodical approach to work activities

 

 

Current Jobs in This Field

Our job board below has business analyst postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:

 

 

 

Salary Level Typical to This Field

The salary level of business analysts can vary depending on their individual qualifications, such as their level of education, and the specific responsibilities of the job.

 

Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for workers in the Computer Systems Analysts occupational group is $83,800 per year.

 

 

Similar Career Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to business analyst, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Applications Analyst Career

IT Analyst

Management Analyst

Quantitative Analyst

Systems Administrator Career

 

 

References

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of this profession.

 

Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

Villanova University website: www.villanovau.com

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Business Analyst

Scholarships listed for majors that are relevant for becoming a business analyst can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Relevant Post-Secondary Majors

Studying one of the fields listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this profession. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 

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