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Becoming a Business Analyst: A Guide

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Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wonder what it would be like to be a business analyst (BA)?”. Or maybe you have already started a degree, but want to learn a bit more about it? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we are going to talk about the role of a BA and its responsibilities, the prerequisite qualifications and soft skills, and expand a little on which sectors use BAs. If you are interested in a career as a business analyst, then keep on reading.

Definition

All companies need business analysts as the role bridges the gap between the business and technology. Many organisations have large teams of BAs for their various change management, business process reengineering and customer relationship management projects.

The term business analytics can be described as the process of collating, studying, and reviewing data to improve business models, and systems and how they integrate with technology. Data analysis aims to provide the company with feedback that can then be used to solve problems and issues within that company to improve efficiencies for more profit.

Business Analysts also create test theories with data flowcharts and diagrams to forecast business projections. For every business case a business analyst is essential to create the roadmap and strategic plan for virtually every project that requires investment, and resources. For example, for every change of software used within the business, an analyst must join forces with the technology team and presenting the business requirements and also participate in the implementation, and post-implementation support. This is a role that’s never mundane, it’s full of variety with new projects on the go, and that usually also results in a lot of liaison with external third-party providers.

Types of Business Analyst Careers

BAs can move between industries including telecoms, utilities, IT, Government, banking and finance. The role is sometimes called project analysis, or systems analysis and sectors like telecoms do have their own terminology e.g. eTOM which is a business process framework.

With no fixed role, i.e. it varies in every company and industry, the business analyst career path can start off in one sector and switch to with ease, and this is the attraction. Here are a few of the most popular job roles and their functions.

Lead Business Analyst/Project Manager:

There is a strong correlation between a project lead and a BA. When there is a shortage of project managers, it’s the BAs that step into the role. The BA will do his or her role as well as management. The soft skills required are strong communication skills, team leadership, negotiation and conflict management, decision making and objectivity.

Not everyone can manage people and get optimum productivity out of them. When projects fall behind, it’s the Lead BA or project manager who needs to motivate each team member to excel in their role, so there is a satisfactory outcome with the project complete ideally within time and budget.

IT Business Analyst:

If you are a more tech-savvy individual, then this might be the right career for you. IT Business Analysts are used mostly on back-office systems development, particularly where there is lots of compliance and regulations. However, most BAs are the conduit between the business and technology, so wherever software is utilised.

Quantitative Analyst:

A quantitative data analyst is someone who develops and implements mathematical models to support financial decisions in a range of areas for a company. Their main aim is to maximize company profits.

Salary and Skillset

To become a business analyst, you will need a degree in a computing area, or analytic area, including computer science or business information systems. The average salary for that of business analysis is around $94,881. Some of the required skills of a business analyst include, but are not limited to:

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Summary

A career business analyst is an attractive role for people who are problem solvers and critical thinkers. How safe is the BA as a career? Could the role be swallowed up by AI and automation? No, the people skills necessary for the role keep it out of reach of robots – for the time being anyway.

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