Business analysts have become a key contributor to the organizations’ process and systems improvement. They are responsible for conducting researches and analysis to assess appropriate solutions to each business problem. Business analysts ensure that the organization remains competitive by serving as a guide in improving processes, services, and systems.
Through data analytics, business analysts are able to provide data-driven recommendations and reports to key stakeholders. They also often communicate with business leaders to discuss the business process changes, feasibility, cost implications, and business impacts.
In most companies, not only that business analysts closely work with business leaders but they also work closely with the IT department. Business analysts may also provide solutions for their clients in the technology space. With this, some work of the business analysts’ may be quite technical. You may work on the improvement of hardware, tools, and software.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for business analysts will grow 21% by 2024. This means there will be a lot of opportunities for you as a business analyst, most especially now that there is a massive growth in technology.
What skills do you need?
Business analysts need to be effective communicators. They will act as the bridge between different stakeholders. As a business analyst, you must be able to facilitate meetings and ask the right questions. You need to be able to communicate with influence and share your ideas confidently.
You must be an effective communicator both verbally and written. You may also be required to keep documentation throughout the entire process, so make sure that you have your written communication skills sharpened up as well!
One of the primary responsibilities of a business analyst is finding solutions to problems within the organization. Business analysts must be able to understand the business process and identify breaches and gaps that need to be addressed. Once these problems have been identified, the business analyst needs to provide options to solve these problems and communicate with the stakeholders.
Generating reports is one of the responsibilities a business analyst will do most of the time. You must be able to translate data into valuable insights that will help the business in determining possible improvements and a deeper understanding of a product, system, or service.
Writing reports can be a technical skill you need to master as it may also require you to use certain tools such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visio, and more.
Knowldege in operating systems and programming languages
This may not be a common qualification among business analysts role but some companies may require background knowledge in software, databases, and programming languages. Business analysts are not required to write codes but you may need basic knowledge in understanding software and programming languages. Some of them may be Visual Basic, MySQL, Oracle, etc.
Industry knowledge for Business Analysts
There are multiple industries needing a business analyst. Most business analyst jobs can be found in the Information Technology (IT) sector. Although other industries may also require the expertise of a business analyst like accounting, banking, finance, and market research.
You may see several job posting where they require you to have a number of years of experience in a certain field. Whenever you see those requirements, it may be a stopper for you in applying for that role. There are different reasons why industry knowledge or experience is advertised in a job posting. One is hiring managers may need someone who can be considered an expert in that line of business. Since a business analyst is someone who will handle analysis and process improvements for a specific part of the business, they might need someone who knows the ropes around it in order to succeed.
Now you might be asking yourself if you can still get a business analyst job if you don’t have the right industry knowledge, the answer is yes. But before that, there are necessary steps you need to take.
- Find a business analyst role that has only specified the industry knowledge as “preferred”, or better yet none at all. Although be mindful that this does not guarantee that hiring managers will not lean more on hiring individuals with industry knowledge.
- Determine the career path you want to take as a business analyst. This may not be an easy step to take but you need to consider getting experience first in the industry you want to work in as a business analyst. Whether you decide on IT or accounting, you can take the first step in getting the right knowledge by getting hired in the industry that is aligned in your career goal. The position you might get hired for may not be a business analyst at first but you can work your way into that by gaining experience and making significant contributions in the organization.
Specializations in Business Analysis
The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) has listed down different specializations for business analysis that can be categorized through Technology Focused and Business Focused roles.
As seen in the diagram above, business analyst roles have evolved into different branches and specializations. You may either be a business analyst performing business analysis and software testings or a combination of business analysis and project management. The roles have evolved in a way that business analysts are hybrid roles. With this, there might be a need for you to specialize in a certain industry (IT, finance, risk management, etc.), application (Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, etc.), and methodology like Agile methods.
It is essential for you to figure out what career path to take, in order for you to smoothly climb the ladder as a business analyst. There are different business analyst roles you can take on that will require you to understand or even master different skills and tools that might take you years to be an expert in. Take a step back and study your next move in your career.