The Day-to-Day as a Business Analyst
Business Analysts use their skills in business and project management to analyze problems and provide data-driven solutions to those problems. Business Analysts’ day-to-day lives will vary dramatically between different employers and each day. They might work for a corporation, a government organization, a medical company, or a software or IT company. They often lead a team of liaisons from each portion of the company, work on their own with input from upper-level management, or work remotely.
They usually work full-time and on-site but they can sometimes find freelance or remote opportunities. A Business Analyst's tasks usually include investigating a business’ goals, issues, and potential solutions; analyzing information; communicating with point people in the business; documenting their findings; presenting their findings; evaluating solutions, implementing solutions; liaising between teams; and arranging and attending meetings.
What Skills Should Business Analysts Have?
Business Analysts should be self starters with strong leadership and decision-making skills. They should be fantastic at problem-solving, communication, analytical reasoning, research, active listening. They should know how to collect information through research, interviews, and meetings strategically. Mastering basic project management, testing skills, spreadsheets, as well as project and team management tools typically happens on the job.
Each employer will have their own technical expectations for you. Most will prefer you to be able to understand and implement agile business and software practices. Most will also expect you to know certain coding languages, databases, softwares, or technologies that they use within their business or the specific project you’re working on. Testing software and designing business systems will likely be a large portion of the role of a Business Analyst.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Business Analyst
SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is a computer language used to store, manipulate, and retrieve data which is stored in a relational database.
Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft that runs on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It is used for calculation, graphing, data visualization, and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro programming.
Microsoft Offices is a family of client software, server software, and services. The Office suite includes Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Outlook Publisher, Access, and OneNote.
Data analytics uses analysis techniques to infer conclusions about raw data. Algorithms and machine learning have optimized data analysis over time to find trends and answer questions more efficiently.
Tableau is a data visualization tool. This tool can be used to simplify raw data, reformat data, and perform efficient data analysis. Tableau can also be used to create data visualizations, dashboards, presentations, and worksheets.
Powerpoint is a software package developed by Microsoft that is used to create digital presentations consisting of a series of separate pages or slides.
Business Analyst Salaries
A Business Analyst in the United States makes, on average, $84,581 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Business Analysts vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Business Analyst salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $84K source n/a
New York City
Orange County, CA
Los Angeles, CA
- U.S. Average $84K source n/a
Typical Qualifications to Become a Business Analyst
Business Analyst positions usually require a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business administration, economics, statistics, political science or sociology. Some employers might prefer a master’s of business administration. Because most training for this role happens on the job, most positions won’t require you to have certifications.
Some employers, however, might prefer it if you have an IIBA certification like Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA) or the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP). Certifications will most likely lead to a better salary as well. Business Analysts do not need to know how to code, but they should have a high-level understanding of software engineering so that they can communicate with their development or technical teams, understand which solutions might work, and understand the business’ current software limitations.
Searching for Business Analyst Jobs
Most Business Analyst positions are within larger companies. Some might be remote or contract positions, but the majority are in-house. You might even find that some businesses have a budget for education which you can use to get better certifications or attend educational workshops and conferences with. Upward mobility within a larger company from Business Analyst to a Management position is certainly possible and much more likely with a certification. Plus, these positions usually lead to a pay raise.
You can find Business Analyst Positions on these sites:
Tips to Become a Business Analyst
To get a job as a Business Analyst, you should make sure your LinkedIn is up-to-date, searchable by recruiters, and your headline is optimized for your job search as a business analyst. Ensure that you’re using keywords from the job description within your resume. Most larger companies looking for Business Analysts will use software to preliminarily sort resumes and yours won’t stand out without making it past the first round.
Professional certifications can boost your resume because they represent a standardized set of skills that employers or recruiters are searching for. This is something to pursue after you’ve found your first or second position in Business Analysis. Make sure any courses, certifications, and projects you’ve worked on are represented on your profile and your resume.
Spend time practicing your skills, including soft skills. Practice mock-interviews. Recruiters can see poor soft skills within only a short website There are websites that simulate an interview or you can ask a friend to help you out.
What Job Titles Would a Business Analyst Hold?
A Business Analyst has a few job titles to choose from, but most of the variety actually comes in the specific industry that the Business Analyst chooses to specialize in. Rising the ranks in the Business Analyst position is possible and so is pivoting into more technical positions. Each of these career changes will likely lead to a pay raise in the long run.
Business Analysts can look for these job titles:
- Junior Business Analyst
- Business Analyst
- Business Analyst Fellow/Apprentice
- Business Process Analyst
- Functional Analyst
- Business Systems Analyst
- Business Systems Architect
- Business Process Analyst
- Business Process Coordinator
Additional Business Analyst Resources
- Business Analyst Job Description
- What Software Do Business Analysts Use?
- Best Cities for Business Analysts
- Is Business Analytics a Good Career?
- Is Business Analytics Right For Me?
- What Degree Do You Need to Become a Business Analyst?
- Business Analyst Career Path
- Business Analyst Certifications
- How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree
- How to Become a Freelance Business Analyst
- Business Analyst Interview Questions
- Business Analyst Resume Guide & Tips
- Business Analyst Cover Letter
- Business Analyst LinkedIn Profile Guide & Tips
- Where and How to Secure Business Analyst Freelance Jobs
- Business Analyst Job Outlook
Experienced Business Analysts can become Business, Product, or Project Managers, which puts their professional expertise to work with the management of project deliverables and other people. Developers and other industry professionals might upskill into a Business Analyst position by practicing their project management skills, learning more about business, and getting some certifications or experience.
Business Analysts might also find a satisfying career pivot by learning more about data science and finance to upskill into a Data Analyst or Financial Analyst position. These positions will rely more on analytical reason, math, and communication skills in combination with other technical skills like using databases, spreadsheets, R, Python, and data visualization tools. If you’re a Business Analyst who leans toward design, you should consider a position like User Experience (UX) Design. UX Designers use similar research tactics and high-level understanding of software development to recommend a design for the experience that a program wants a user will have.
Salary Comparison to Business Analyst
Data analysts review large amounts of data to summarize, analyze, and visualize it and provide insights. Working from data from multiple, relevant sources, they create and maintain databases, and use statistical techniques to analyze the collected data. Data analysts must be able to communicate with others about what the data shows and to be able to provide realistic recommendations based on their analysis. Many industries such as healthcare, advertising, and retail rely on the work of data analysts to inform their business decisions and strategy.Learn about becoming a Data Analyst
Financial analysts use their business, finance, or accounting background to analyze data and make recommendations for investments. They study past, present, and future business and economic trends to provide data-driven insights for business decision-making. Financial analysts take on roles as fund managers, portfolio managers, investment advisors, and risk analysts. Many earn additional credentials in the field, such as Certified Public Accountant or Project Management Professional certifications.Learn about becoming a Financial Analyst
Product managers guide product development from ideation to market. Starting with consumer and market research, they use their understanding of customer wants and needs to inform product development and go-to-market strategy. They will work closely with engineering, marketing, sales, and other teams to launch products. After launch, they solicit and analyze feedback on the product to inform future iterations.Learn about becoming a Product Manager