How To Become A Business Analyst

Part 1 of 22 in the Series: The Business Analyst Job Description
How To Become A Business Analyst

How To Become A Business Analyst

ON BECOMING A BUSINESS ANALYST – THE BUSINESS ANALYST JOB DESCRIPTION

A business analyst is an information technology worker who improves the efficiency and productivity of business operations.

The business analyst achieves this by closely analyzing the business processes in an organization for inefficiencies.

When inefficient business processes are discovered, the business analyst makes recommendations for business process improvements.

If the recommended solution is approved, the business analyst works with computer programmers, lead software developers, software managers and other information technology workers to implement the recommended solutions.

The business analyst works in a team, acting as a liaison between the business team and the software development team.

The business analyst is the information technology worker who lives in two worlds, one being the business world and the other being the software development world.

A business analyst needs to understand software development enough to discuss the details of the business process improvement project with computer programmers assigned to the project in a technical language programmers understand.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

The roles and responsibilities of a business analyst include:

Acting as a liaison between the software development team and the business team.

Writing feasibility studies, project briefs, cost analysis, testing schedules and user manuals for new business processes.

Analyzing business processes to identify problems and implementing solutions that improve the business process.

Communicating and presenting technical solutions for business problems to business stakeholders and owners.

Documenting or explaining complex business operations to software developers.

Career Outlook and Prospects for Business Analysts
Like the other professions in software development, business analysts also have well-paying jobs. In 2006, business analysts in the United States earned an average of $68,579 annually, with bonuses amounting to $3,783. The total increase from the figures of 2005 is 3.1%.

Business analysts who become contract information technology workers can earn six-figure salaries.

I recommend that you read two of my previous articles on contracting if you are interested in becoming a contract business analyst. The first article is the how to become a contract business analyst. The second is Full Time Business Analysts Or Contract Contract Business Analysts.

Both articles will help you decide whether to be a full-time business analyst or a contract business analyst.

Skills and Requirements for a Business Analyst

In some organizations, the business analyst works with a team of computer programmers and does not need to master computer programming.

In other organizations, the line separating the business analyst and the computer programmer is fuzzy, therefore the business analyst must know how to code. In cases like this a beginner or entry-level mastery of computer programming is all that is needed.

Generally, a basic computer expertise in computer programming will help a business analyst perform their work better.

To gain this basic expertise in computer programming, an aspiring business analyst should have a solid understanding of SQL, data analysis, reporting, UML, Visual Basic programming, Microsoft Office Automation and a few other software packages.

Just bear in mind that this varies from organization to organization.

The ability to work in a team and to coordinate among people is also a skill that the business analyst needs to cultivate. Good writing skills and communication skills are also helpful in this career.

Comparing Computer Programmer Careers To Business Analyst Careers

1. Technology Skills: Computer programmers spend the majority of their time writing code while business analysts spend a minor amount of time writing code.

2. People Skills: Business analysts invest a lot of time interacting with business users a lot, so they need good communication and relationship skills.

Computer programmers tend to invest most of their time working on software that will be used by people. So communication and relationship skills are secondary to technical skills for software developers.

3. Entry level requirements: Business analysis positions tend to have lower entry level requirements than computer programming positions. Business analysis positions tend to pay lower than computer programming positions as well.

One of the advantages of learning computer programming is that you instantly have a lot of well-paying career options including software project management and business analysis.

The business analyst career stands out because it gently introduces you to the software development industry. It also provides you the opportunity to use more of your communication, relationship-building and data-analysis talents.

After more than a decade in software development, I’m convinced that many people don’t realize they have the option of becoming a business analyst. I hope that you do decide to become a business analyst if you are not really cut out to be a computer programmer.

If you want to become a business analyst or are looking for a business analyst job, begin by reading the series titled “The Business Analyst Job Description” to get the foundation or knowledge you need to succeed in business analyst jobs or roles.

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79 Discussions for “How To Become A Business Analyst”

  1. JIMMY VARGHESE

    i am a diploma holder in logistics and mba in retail management (by correspondence ).

    How do I look for a job as a BA

  2. Linda Wilson

    I”m looking for a position either as a Business Analyst, Implementation Consultant or possibly account executive for an ecommerce platform provider or technology provider providing services to enhance or facilitate ecommerce, such as an integrator/middleware provider.

    The best of my experience is with B2B but will consider B2C for a company willing to overlook my limited experience in SEO and social media.

    I feel like I’m spinning my wheels in my search and am looking for a more efficient strategy to get interviews and land a position.

    Some significant challenges I’m looking to position in the right light are a few recent job hops and the fact that I am now unemployed.

    The most significant tenure I have on my resume is with ACDelco from 2004 – 2009 where I deployed ecommerce for their distributors in North Central region. When General Motors conducted large scale layoffs in 2009, including my team, I did a lot of moving around to survive and keep my skills fresh.

    An unfortunate gamble I took and lost was in 2011, where I left a position as eCommerce Marketing Manager for ACDelco’s largest distributor to accept a role as Business Intelligence Manager for an auto parts buying group that recruited me.

    After accepting this position, it was eliminated within 8 months because the data I was to work with was not reliable.

    Data cleansing and normalization at this company was overseen by the Director of Supply Chain and out of my control.

    After the Manager of BI position was eliminated, I quickly accepted a sales job with Time Warner Cable Business Class, selling their voice, data and cloud services.

    Although this was a huge departure from what I did before, this job was offered to me through a friend, and I accepted it because my mom needed open heart surgery and I had neither the time, nor the mental energy to conduct a full blown job search for a role in B2B ecommerce when I needed to travel back and forth from TX to NW Indiana to visit her in the hospital and arrange for her rehabilitation.

    I finally left this role, because quite honestly it was a bad fit and I wasn’t making quota, so I left before I was told to leave.

    In spite of what appears to be some messy job hopping on my resume since 2009, the experience I gained since I left ACDelco was enormously valuable and I know I can make a great contribution to the right organization.

    I don’t want to keep accepting positions to survive and want a role where I can stay as long as possible. I just need to get in front of the right hiring manager who will have empathy for my history.

    I’ll attach my resume. Any direction you can point me in will be appreciated.

    Thanks.

  3. Sheeba Kishore

    How Do I Become An Implementation Business Analyst?

    I am a Business Analyst working in the HR domain. In my current role, I gather requirements to implement HR systems.

    I prefer to go the Implementation Functional consultant path than traditional Business Analyst career path.

    How do I go about pursuing this?

    • As an Implementation Business Analyst, you will take an enterprise system like SalesForce or SAP and implement it in a system.

      Your first step will be to research the industry you are interested in and then pick a Software that you will specialize in.

      Then get lots of hands-on experience in all aspects of that software especially in areas like planning, configuration management, installation.

      Now, the question for you is: “what enterprise software system” are you interested in specializing in and why?

  4. AJ

    What Is The Soft Route To Becoming a Business Analyst?

    When I graduated college with a bachelor’s in pre-law I instinctively knew that law school was not for me.

    So I took the first entry level job that offered tuition reimbursement. I figured I’d work full-time and earn a generic MBA, until I figured out what I really wanted to commit to.

    That entry level job turned into 5 yrs at a Fortune 500 supply chain. I started out as a buyer and gathered all sorts of experience.

    I participated in projects ranging from market research, cost analysis, price control, auditing/compliance, best practice implementation, inventory management, and even got to beta-test the purchasing and inventory modules during a major ERP transition.

    It basically gave me a chance to work alongside nearly every operational dept (marketing, R&D, corporate finance, exec mgmt, IT both devs and dba’s, logistics, AP, sales, cs, etc.)

    Having completed the mba with a 3.8 gpa, I think I’m well suited to finally commit to a career as a business analyst.

    My biggest obstacle is that I have absolutely no experience or knowledge with computer programming and coding.

    Nearly every online guide I read about becoming a business analysts seem to stem from an IT professional with a hard background in developing, expanding into the role of a BA.

    What is the best course of action for someone in my position?

    I do have the luxury of going back to school if needed but was wondering if I should just dabble into online certificate courses for computer programming.

    Are there any subjects or programs in particular you would recommend?

    Any help would be greatly appreciate.

    Thanks in advance!

      1. What Is The Fastest Route To Becoming A Business Analyst?

        you do not need to go back to college for any kind of additional degree because that will not make you a business analyst.

        You also do not need to get any kind of certification because getting a paper certificate will not make you a business analyst.

      2. Learn Business Analysis Organically

        You also do not need to worry about lack of previous IT background as that is not your immediate concern.

        What you need to do is “understand what a business analyst does first” and then next “learn business analysis organically”.

        Worrying about your lack of Information Technology (IT) experience is a waste of time.

        Remember that everyone has to start somewhere and you will get your IT experience in time just like those who currently have it.

      3. How Should You Approach Becoming A Business Analyst?

        First of all, take a good hard look at the roles and responsibilities of a business analyst and then rewrite your resume so that it highlights the relevant experience in your resume that matches that of a business analyst.

        Next, just learn business analyst. Grab a business analyst curriculum and either self-study business analysis or enroll for training. Either way, just learn it.

        Finally as you learn business analysis, find opportunities to put your learning / skills into practice so that you get experience as time goes. Finally, update your resume to highlight the new, additional experience and start interviewing for business analyst jobs!

  5. SAchin

    Is There Any Certification for Business Analysts?

    Hello Sir,

    I have been working in the IT industry for 7 years(in Banking & healthcare domains) on technologies like .net, SQL, Biztalk, xml, Enterprise Architecture Tool.

    Now I am planning to move my career to Business Analysis.

    I would really appreciate it if you can provide me some information about how to become a Business Analyst.

    Is there any certification for business analysis?

    Many Thanks

    • Becoming a business analyst is about understanding the roles and responsibilities of a business analyst and then performing them and then documenting all that on your resume.

      In terms of certifications you may look into the IIBA’s CCBA / CBAP or the ISEB in the UK

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