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What Does a Business Analyst Do: Your Complete Guide

 

The ever changing nature of business demands astute problem-solvers and critical thinkers. Along with the evolving innovations of technology, businesses continue to perform faster and stronger to provide customers with more tailored products and services. If you’re a critical and analytical thinker who enjoys the fast-paced nature of business, then becoming a business analyst could be the right career path for you. So, what does a business analyst do?

 

A business analyst wears many hats, but overall, they assess an organization’s processes and systems to help optimize procedures and workflows. A business analyst uses software, tools, and reports to optimize functions. Along with assessing how the business is performing at the present time, business analysts also devise measures to achieve the organization’s future goals.

 

Business analysts can work in a variety of settings, from the public to private sector, with concentrations in finance, management, information systems and more. As such, the position requires adequate knowledge of both information technology (IT) and business.

 

 

Source: Unsplash

 

 

What are a Business Analyst’s Job Duties?

No day is ever the same in the life of a business analyst. Since businesses are always evolving and technology continues to innovate, there is always something new to be learned and new practices to implement to improve performance and outcomes.

 

Business analysts use data and information to extract insights and make decisions to make business better. To do so, they have to communicate with external stakeholders, as well as internal management and development teams to set the wheels in motion.

 

Some of the main job duties include:

  • Designing IT systems and best business practices
  • Communicating with stakeholders to solve problems and address their needs
  • Assess business processes and work with developers and engineers to ensure implementation is efficient
  • Create budgets and prepare forecasting models
  • Plan and monitor business practices
  • Perform variance analysis
  • Prepare pricing models
  • Conduct competitive and market analysis
  • Create and interpret reports
  • Communicate information within the business and to external stakeholders

 

Educational Requirements

To become a business analyst, it is generally required that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject matter like: accounting, business administration, sociology, political science or finance. Pursuing a certificate program in business administration is also a highly beneficial option as it sufficiently equips one for the profession. Most experience and training will come from being on the job.

 

Because there are no set requirements, people can take their preferred path to becoming a business analyst and major in a related field that best suits their interest.

 

As with most degrees, prospective students have the choice to study at an on-campus institution or online. Studying online comes with benefits like schedule flexibility, a generally lower cost, and overall accessibility.

 

For example, you can earn your Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree online at University of the People. University of the People is a 100% online and tuition-free, US accredited university that uses a pedagogical style of learning and teaching to grant degrees.

 

The Business Administration program provides students with an in-depth understanding of the industry and hands-on experience. The faculty and staff come from some of the best institutions around the world to design a curriculum that will set graduates up to work in the field straight after earning their degree.

 

Additionally, University of the People believes that education is a human right. Students from over 200 countries and territories have attended the online school to accomplish their goals of earning a degree. Because education is a human right, the only requirements for entry are to demonstrate English proficiency and to have earned a high school diploma.

 

To become a business analyst, you can also study information systems, or even Computer Science, which is another degree that University of the People offers.

 

Once you earn your degree in Business Administration or Computer Science at University of the People, you will be one step closer to starting your career as a business analyst.

 

 

Business Analyst Salary and Opportunity

A career as a business analyst offers many opportunities, as well as a lucrative salary.

 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2014 and 2024, the field for management analysts is expected to grow by 14%. It goes without saying that the salaries range depending on position title, company size and location, but here’s a look at the general expected salaries for various job titles within the field:

  • Information Security Analyst: $92,600
  • Computer Systems Analyst: $87,220
  • Budget Analyst: $73,840
  • Financial Analyst: $81,760

 

Of course, with more education, experience and certifications comes higher salaries.

 

 

Desired Skills

Since a business analyst role covers so many different facets of business practices, as well as technology, many skills benefit those who work in the field.

 

Some of the most sought-after skills include:

 

 

1. Problem-solving:

 

Since business analysts assess performance, they need to be able to spot inefficiencies and come up with ways to make the systems and workflows better.

 

 

2. Analytical Skills:

 

Business analysts consume a lot of information in many different formats, from spreadsheets to complex data systems. The best analysts are able to look at the numbers and extract valuable insights that are then used for better decision-making.

 

 

3. Detail-oriented:

 

As with most jobs, it’s important to be detail-oriented. For business analysts, the data is often heavy, so there has to be careful consideration of numbers and information.

 

 

4. Communication Skills:

 

Business analysts work with multiple people both inside and outside of the organization. As such, communication skills are paramount.

 

 

Source: Unsplash

 

 

The Bottom Line

The career of a business analyst can be fun, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. Because businesses change on a daily basis, business analysts need to be agile and creative in finding solutions to problems and optimizing the daily functions of the organization for which they work in.

 

Within organizations, business analysts can specialize in various departments to take data and communications and extract the necessary information to enhance how the business works. Business analysts are strategic and skillful communicators who can lead employees and stakeholders into the future.

 

Starting with a Bachelor’s degree, business analysts can expand their work opportunities by continuing their higher education and/or working towards earning certifications. Combining technology, data and business practices offers analysts a robust overview of operations that supports an exciting career.