A business analyst (BA) is a professional who helps organizations optimize their business processes. B.A.s gather and analyze data to help identify and solve problems. They then make recommendations to management on how best to proceed.
A career in business analysis can be very rewarding, both financially and emotionally. But like any other career path, there are some things you should know before making the decision to become a B.A. In this article, we will explore the B.A. career path diagram, including what a typical day-in-the-life of a B.A. looks like and the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in this field.
1. What Is a Business Analyst (BA)?
A business analyst is a professional who evaluates the needs of an organization and designs solutions to meet those needs. They are a necessity in any company, as they do not need to be experts in everything but rather have knowledge about their field. This allows them to focus on what they know best while working with other teams that can provide other expertise.
The B.A.’s job is often divided into two main parts: analysis and design. The analysis stage involves gathering information from all relevant areas of the company – marketing, sales, operations – to determine how the company should move forward based on its current position and future goals. The design may involve creating specifications for new programs or processes or finding ways to improve existing ones. These skillsets allow analysts to help companies grow and keep operations running smoothly.
2. What Does a Business Analyst do?
A business analyst is responsible for determining what a company needs to do to grow its base of customers and increase profits. They determine the best way to deploy those resources, including time, money, and employees; then, they document their findings as advice for management. This advice typically covers an array of different areas, including marketing strategies, organizational structure, and process improvement ideas.
A business analyst works with a variety of stakeholders within an organization, including management, subject-matter experts, users, and executives. They, therefore, must possess strong interpersonal skills. They must be able to communicate effectively with all different departments in order to find out the information they need, which can range from hard data to soft opinions. They have to have good listening skills because they will be gathering data from a wide range of sources, not all of which may be in agreement with one another. A business analyst must also be able to negotiate and manage relationships effectively. In some cases, their advice can impact organizational structure or processes, so they have to have the ability to work well with others and build consensus when faced with opposition.
3. What Are the Education Requirements?
Advance degrees in Business Administration, Project Management, or similar disciplines provide a strong foundation for business analysts. Any organization looking to hire business analysts should look for relevant skills and experience as well as demonstrated leadership capabilities. Depending on the industry and position, certifications such as the PMP, the MBA in Management Information Systems, or Lean Six Sigma Black Belt may be preferred by employers.
There are many business analyst roles, ranging from project management to data analysis. Each role requires a business analyst to have skills in different areas, depending on the work they are expected to complete. These skills may include communications, research, critical thinking, and I.T. A bachelor’s degree in one of these fields can provide an entry point for a career in business analysis.
A bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in project management is another option for professionals looking to become business analysts. Other qualifications that can strengthen one’s resume include Lean Six Sigma training or certification and experience working in the software development field.
4. Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst
The main roles for a business analyst are:
The role of the project manager is to ensure that projects meet their requirements, budgets, and timelines. They work with stakeholders, clients, and software developers throughout a project, from creating the initial proposal through deployment. A business analyst may also cover some of these responsibilities depending on the organization. In larger companies, there may be a dedicated project manager who only manages the business side of projects.
Business analysts in this role must have strong organizational skills and attention to detail because they are responsible for preparing status reports on time and accurately while maintaining all relevant documentation. They also manage budgets and oversee staff members. Strong written and verbal communication skills are important in this role because they must be able to discuss project progress and manage expectations.
The data analyst is responsible for collecting and interpreting data from a variety of sources. They work with the company’s databases and make sure that the information there is accurate. Data analysts can provide critical insight into issues such as sales forecasting, improving customer engagement, and optimizing resources. They work closely with the other members of the data team, including data engineers and statisticians.
Business analysts in this role must have strong communication skills, especially when it comes to explaining complex issues in an easy-to-understand way. An ability to communicate well with both technical and non-technical staff is necessary, as is the ability to work well in a team setting.
Business analysts act as the liaison between I.T. and business departments, gathering requirements for software products or technology upgrades. They also work with staff members throughout an organization to identify problems that need fixing. Many organizations employ business analysts to oversee development projects from start to finish, ensuring that all objectives are met.
Business analysts in this role must be familiar with current technology and able to assess the best way to use it within an organization. They must also have strong communication skills, especially when working with non-technical staff members. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems can provide the foundation for a career as a business analyst; however, a degree in a related field, such as management information systems or business administration, is generally preferred.
5. What Is the Difference Between a Business Analyst and a Project Manager?
Business analysts are not necessarily focused on projects, while project managers usually focus on projects. A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end. Business analysts, by contrast, usually work for companies instead of individual projects. They do work to help aid in the completion of projects, but that’s not their primary focus. They are tasked with helping companies improve long-term goals and strategies.
Aside from this key difference, both business analysts and project managers look for ways to solve problems in organizations, though each may act on different types of challenges. Project managers work on short-term issues such as the implementation of new software, whereas business analysts typically support long-term efforts like business process improvement.
6. Where Do Business Analysts Work?
Business analysts typically work within large organizations but may also find employment with consulting firms that provide strategic services to their clients. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2016 that the largest employers of business analysts were management, scientific and technical consulting services, computer systems design and related services, software publishers, insurance carriers, and non-financial corporations. Most of these organizations require some type of advanced degree for employment.
7. What Is the Best Way to Become a Business Analyst?
Completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree in business, information technology, or another closely related field can be useful. However, many companies actually hire candidates without degrees if they have acquired experience through internships or on-the-job training. Many organizations award certifications that can enhance a candidate’s resume and provide added credibility in the eyes of future employers. Such credentials might include:
Business analyst certification from the International Institute for Business Analysis (IIBA) Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) Certified ScrumMaster designation from the Scrum Alliance.
8. How Much Money Do Business Analysts Make?
Well, according to Payscale’s salary calculator, your median annual salary ranges from $43K – $100K, depending on your level of experience and where you work. If you’re just starting out with no prior skills or seniority, you can expect to make an average of $43K annually. That number jumps up to the median annual of $69K after 5-10 years of experience working as a business analyst. After 20+ years of experience, you’re likely to make an average of $100K a year.
Payscale also has a Business Analyst Salary Calculator that provides insight on the expected salary for a business analyst in various countries and cities around the world.
9. What Kinds of Companies Need a Business Analyst?
According to the BLS, a variety of companies could benefit from hiring a business analyst. The following list includes examples of companies within each industry that have been known to employ business analysts:
Computer systems design and related services Management, scientific and technical consulting services Software publishers Insurance carriers Non-financial corporations Public schools and educational services Local government agencies State government agencies.
10. The Benefits of Being a Business Analyst
There are many benefits of being a business analyst. One of the most important benefits is that you have the ability to make a positive impact on a company. As a business analyst, you can help a company improve its performance by identifying and solving problems. You can also help a company grow by developing and recommending strategies.
Another benefit of being a business analyst is that you have the opportunity to learn new things. As a business analyst, you will be exposed to different aspects of business, such as marketing, finance, and operations. This will allow you to gain knowledge and skills that you can use in your career.
Finally, another benefit of being a business analyst is that you can earn a salary. Business analysts typically earn salaries of more than $70,000 per year. This is much higher than the average salary for people with other types of jobs.
11. Best Colleges to Study Business Analysis
There are many colleges that offer business analysis courses, but the following colleges are considered to be some of the best in terms of curriculum, faculty, and job prospects upon graduation.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – The Sloan School of Management at MIT offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a business analytics concentration. The program is designed for working professionals and teaches students how to use analytics to make sound business decisions.
2. Carnegie Mellon University – The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) that provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to make better data-driven decisions. The program is offered in both online and campus formats and has a 100% job-placement rate.
3. Cleveland State University – The Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) that was designed by faculty who are experts in the field. The program is offered through both face-to-face and online formats, with full accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
4. University of Pittsburgh – The Department of Social and Decision Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh offers a Master’s degree in Information Science with a concentration in Business Intelligence & Analytics that teaches students how to turn big data into actionable intelligence.
5. Ohio State University – The Fisher College of Business at Ohio State offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) that provides a technical foundation of knowledge and skills needed to work on real-world data problems. The program is designed for students with nontechnical backgrounds and focuses on practical applications over theory.
6. University of Arkansas – The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas offers a Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics (MSBIA). The program is designed for working professionals with five years of relevant work experience. In addition to earning a master’s degree, students also gain access to an online career-services resource that is led by industry experts.
7. Bryant University – Bryant’s College of Business offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) that focuses on the design, development, and implementation of business analytics to support decision-making. The program is designed for professionals with an undergraduate degree in any major who are looking to develop their skillset.
So, you want to be a business analyst? Great choice! A career in business analysis can be both rewarding and lucrative. But what does it take to become a successful business analyst? In this article, we’ve outlined every bit of information you need to take to make your dream of becoming a business analyst a reality. We’ve also provided some tips on how to stand out from the competition and land your dream job. So what are you waiting for? Start following these steps today and launch your career as a business analyst tomorrow!