What Software Skills Do Business Analysts Need?

Part 6 of 22 in the Series: The Business Analyst Job Description

Have you noticed the increasing demand for business analysts with stronger software skills or a wider range of skill sets?

Because this is a top hiring trend, business analysts have expressed concern about the range of skillsets requested for on job postings.

Some of these strong concerns are often worded as:

  • What software skills do business analysts need?

  • Should business analysts be made to learn computer programming?

  • Which software programs are required for business analysis jobs?

Along the same lines, one of the concerns expressed is; should business analysts have in depth knowledge of SQL, Access, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and Reporting writing software?

This article provides the needed guidance for the questions bordering on “what software skills are required for business analyst jobs“.

And while you are reading this, you may also want to read this article on why IT Managers are looking for business analysts with a wider range of skill sets.

Are Software Skills Required For Business Analysis Jobs?

The answer to the question: are software skills required for business analyst jobs … is yes and no.

Some companies hire only for the core business analyst competencies, while others include a wider range of software skills in their job description.

The core business analyst skill sets does not include knowledge of specific software skills. However, in the current job market, IT Managers are cutting costs by hiring business analysts with a broader range of software skills.,/p>

Traditionally, business analysts have had to learn the specific software used by a business after they get hired. Now, IT Managers are changing track by making some of these software skills required for hiring!

Which Software Skills Are Required For Business Analyst Jobs?

I will divide the software skills needed for business analyst jobs into three groups.

The first (A) group refers to the software skills required for ALL business analyst jobs.

The second (B) group includes the software skills that are a nice to have or frequently asked for.

The third (C) group represents the software skills that are not usually required.

  1. Software Skills Required For ALL Business Analyst Jobs (A List):

    These include office productivity software tools like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Outlook.

    These software tools are frequently used in the day to day tasks of a Business Analyst.

    These software tools are also required for a business analyst position whether they are stated clearly on the job description or not.

  2. Nice To Have Software Skills For Business Analyst Jobs (B List):

    The nice to have software skills include Relational Database Skills, SQL skills, Data Analysis skills and Report Writing skills.

    Next to office productivity software skills, database software skills are in-demand for business analyst positions.

    Organizations looking to cut costs or reduce It staff may combine the business analyst job role with the data analyst job role or report writer as the IT Manager or Director sees fit! When this happens the IT department will post business analyst job descriptions listing software packages traditionally required for data analyst or report writer type jobs.

  3. Highly Specialized Software Skills Needed For Business Analyst Jobs (C List):

    IT Managers are also hiring business analysts with the specific skills needed for custom or specialized software packages!

    The list of software skills in this list is infinite as it depends on the personal decision or needs of the hiring manager.

    An example is the IT director who wants to hire business analysts with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software skills or computer programming skills!

    Now, it is impractical to worry about or focus on this list when preparing for the business analyst job market because the expectations and needs are diverse, wide and unpredictable.

    If you are a business analyst with a specialized software skill wanted by a hiring manager, you should highlight that in your resume. If you don’t already have a specialized software skill, you are better of working on the business analysis skills in the nice to have software skills (B List)!

Should IT Managers Hire Business Analysts with Highly Specialized Software Skills?

Since only office productivity software skills are required for all business analyst jobs, why do IT Managers then include specialized software skills in business analyst job descriptions?

  1. IT Managers are looking to cut costs by combining the job descriptions for business analysts, data analysts, software developers and report writers.

    With this in mind, business analysts need to be flexible in their approach to the job market.

  2. IT Managers and staffing specialists may write up business analyst job descriptions based on an imperfect knowledge of the core business analyst roles and responsibilities.

    If your boss writes up an imperfect business analyst job description based on misconceptions, about the roles and responsibilities of business analysts, you may providing some guidance by sending your IT Manager or Director the business analyst professional development curriculum downloadable here.

Who Are The Business Analysts With A Broad Range Of Software Skills?

Some business analysts really want to stay out of computer programming or data analysis or report writing or learning specialized software programs.

If a business analyst with that mindset is hired for a role that requires learning or working with a broad range of software skill sets, that business analyst will under-perform.

If you are an employer hiring for business analysts with software skills, you may want to first hire for business analysts with SQL or Relational Databases or Data Analysis skills and then train the new business analyst hire on the list of highly specialized software skills needed by your company.

More Information On How To Improve Business Analysis Skills

The Business Analyst Boot Camp training is a practical, job-focused, web-based, instructor-led, video-based training program for business analysts.

The Business Analyst Boot Camp training is a complete, end to end training program that covers both beginner and advanced business analysis courses including requirements analysis training, UML training, Use Case training.

The Business Analyst training program is designed for the practicing Business Analyst who wants to learn or master business analysis skills for the day-to-day job requirements.

The Business Analyst training program has an in-built diagnostics, testing and certification process and an online reporting tool that features your grades or scores as you (the Business Analyst) work your way through practical business analysis activities or watch the various business analyst training videos.

The Business Analyst training provides real savings and return on investment (ROI) for individuals or corporations looking to manage business analyst training costs.

The cost of business analyst training is easily $5,000 or more for a series of business analysis courses that only covers one core skill or business analyst competency (e.g. UML Training).

Therefore, an IT Manager or business analyst looking for business analyst training that covers all the core business analysis competencies will have to invest in excess of ten thousand dollars.

That is why, we are only guaranteeing the current price of the Business Analyst Boot Camp for a limited time!

Right now, you can get the complete, end to end, beginner to advanced training across all business analyst competences in the Business Analyst Boot Camp for a discounted price.

We also have a discount program for corporations sending 2 or more business analysts for training. Click here to learn more.

For a limited-time, we are running a special for Business Analysts who want to broaden their skill sets or learn more software skills. For example, with the current special, you can register for both the Business Analyst Boot Camp and SQL Boot Camp for close to the price of one (2-for-1 special). A number of people like yourself are now taking advantage of this offer so, click here to get more information




19 Discussions for “What Software Skills Do Business Analysts Need?”

  1. Lakshmana

    I am holding a degree (Bsc computer sciences) and Pg degree MCA (distance education) completed in the year 2003.

    Till date i have been working as an executive in operation and in credit analysis in the financial sectors,

    Now i decide to change my career.

    Whether i can able to find a job in IT field as business analyst.

    So i kindly advice me what are the skills in aspect of software prg language etc required for me

    • #iiba #cbap #businessanalyst Finding a business analyst job does not depend on how many degrees you hold (PG, MCA or even PHD.)

      There are a number of core skills required for a business analyst job. These skills include UML, Use Cases, Requirements Management and you need to learn taht.

      Unlike Computer Programming or Database Development, there is no software package that you learn or certify-in and then become recognized as a business analyst.

      So, I recommend that you clear you mind of the assumptions of what it takes to be a business analyst.

      Click here to get more information on what it means to be a business analyst

  2. Pierre

    Good afternoon,

    I have been contemplating the Business Analyst field for a few weeks now. I am currently a Helpdesk Team Lead and would like to know if that new field could be a match for me. I understand there are some courses that I would need to take but before I jump in and spend money I would like to have someone else’s point of view

    Thanks

    • #helpdesk #techsupport A business job is a good fit for you if you have the right personality and are willing to pay the price to learn business analysis from scratch regardless of your experience in tech support.

      The personality of a business analyst lends to good communication (presentation, oral, written) communication skills.

      Do you have these?

  3. COPEM01

    I have an AS in Business Marketing and Managment and an AA in Accounting.

    At this point I’d say I only have about 5 years credible work experience that could translate into a BA field, mostly in data base management.

    What would you sugest as the quickest path to get into an entry level BA position?

    • #marketing #accounting the quickest path to an entry level business analyst position is to augment your business marketing and management education with the core business analysis skills (skills that actually make you a business analyst).

      Then trade in both in your education and business analysis skills for a BA job in the Marketing, Sales or Customer Relationship (CRM) industry.

      This way, you will get some credit for your past working experience and then trade it in for a business analyst job.

  4. Kathyayani: While an MBA Degree is great, it is not required for becoming a business analyst.

    If you want to become a business analyst, you need to follow these recommendations:

    1. Learn Business Analysis – Start by learning business analysis just as you are learning your MBA. Don’t hope to transfer your MBA Education automatically to your business analysis career, just the same way you won’t expect to convert a business analyst edcation into an MBA Degree.

    2. Prepare to Ace Business Analyst Job Interviews – Become the Best Business Analyst you can be by taking a lot of practice quizzes. Business Aanlysis Quizzes such as that built-in to the Business Analyst Boot Camp improve your memory, retention and recall which is needed for your business analyst job interview.

    3. Get Hands-On Business Analysis Experience – The IT Industry requires some sort of hands-on experience or real-world learning for most jobs. Hands-on Experience requirements are neeed even for entry level positions. The business analyst boot camp also includes several hands-on projects and training to help prepare the business analysts for the real world.

    4. Update your Resume – Some people focus their quest for a new job on resume re-writing. The danger of this assumption is that if you don’t have the required business analysis skills or hands-on business analysis experience, you will fail at the job interview. So, we recommend re-wriitng your resume as jst one of the steps that you need to take and not the first or the only important step.

    5. Include Personal Branding with your Job Search – Take the time to identify and develop a personal brand or identity and then let that show through your resume and in your discussions at the job interview. Your personal brand is not your experience or your resume. Your personal brand is what makes you stand out compared to others. Developing a personal barnd is important because employers what to know why you and not someone else and your personal brand them tells them that story.

    Kathyayani, all these items that I mention are relevant and important to your quest.

    Include them, work hard on them and you will see yourself fulfilling your career aspirations.

    REFERENCES:

    There are tons of reference materials on this website on how to become a business analyst.

    Please read the series of reference articles on this pages:

    1. http://www.it-career-coach.net/series/careers-or-domains-for-business-analysts/

    2. http://www.it-career-coach.net/series/the-business-analyst-job-description/

  5. kathyayani

    Hi,
    I did MSc(Electronics) worked for finance sector for 3 years. Now Iam pusuing MBA. I strongly determined to become a Business Analyst. My question is where to start? what to do?

    Help me out

    Thanks

  6. Jamal

    Hi,
    I have done M.Tech in Advanced Computing , BE in CSE i worked 2 years in Wireless Business and 6.5 years as Revenue Analyst Skills include MS Office ,Lotus and WLAN , Can i get any job in BA.How should the CV looks like please put a light note on this one.

  7. Phani

    Do I need to join any specific courses to add value to my CV, so that I can have a better chance to get a BA.

    Do my profile is eligible to become a BA.

    IF No, how come I shape up my profile in order to become a BA.

  8. Phani

    Hi, I have done an MBA & M Com, and I am good in MS Office like MS Word, Excel & Powerpoint. I have a total experience of 6.5 years: 3 years in Financial Industry (Investment Banking & Mutual Funds & 3.5 years in Sales & Marketing (Pharma)).

    Does my above profile suits to become a BA, Please advise me what more skill sets I need to develop, any software course which I can join.

    • #banking #investment #office you have the profile to become a business analyst based on your MBA ,Banking, Finance and Mutual Funds experience.

      Assuming that you have more than just an education in the financial industry and that you have been working in one capacity or the other in the Banking / Finance / Mutual Funds industry, you can look toward trading in some of that domain knowledge for a BA position in your industry.

      Don’t forget to start the job search from your present employer if you are currently employed :-)

  9. Shraddha

    Hi,

    I have a finance/accounting background. Do you think by getting a degree like certified business analyst I will have any scope in future. I have used tools like Microsoft Office, Oracle, Business Objects, GL Wand at work. Please let me know your thoughts on this.

    Thanks!
    Shraddha

    • #finance #accounting A degree or a certification is helpful depending on what you hope to achieve.

      do you want to come across as educated to your fellow co-workers … if yes, then getting a degree would be your primary objective

      do you want to get a business analyst job … if yes, then learning business analysis and getting hands-on business analyst experience would be your primary objective

  10. Molebogeng:

    Thanks I got the industrial enginnering curriculum / syllabus that you sent. I will review it and give you my thoughts … very soon.

    Regards

  11. molebogeng monagane

    i have a diploma in industrial engineering and currently doing my b-tech degree i want ot know how does my course fit into business analysis i ma interested in that field and i often see job adverts looking for business analysts with my qualification.

    • Molebogeng:

      I would be glad to answer your questions.

      Just to make sure that I am on the right path, could you copy your course /degree syllabus into a word document and e-mail it to us?

      The reason is that every university or college makes changes to their industrial engineering curriculum and I would like to compare the requirements for BA Jobs to let’s say Industrial Engineering in South Africa.

      Thanks

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