How to Become a Business Analyst – Complete Career Guide
A business analyst (also known as a management analyst) is in charge of understanding a business’s continuously evolving needs while providing technological solutions to improve its processes and systems. In this way, a business analyst is often thought of as the link between the business and IT departments.
Historically, companies began to convert paper-based processes into automated, electronic processes in the 1970s and 1980s with the advent of computers. Business analysts entered the scene in the 1980s and 1990s to pair this new technology with business acumen. However, technology is continuing to change this role. Recent advances in big data mean that the role of the business analyst has evolved a great deal. Today, business analysts (alongside other roles in data science) are able to mine big data to understand customer behavior and identify system inefficiencies, for example.
This guide provides the steps necessary to becoming a business analyst, detailed job information, as well as the job prospects and average salary projections.
What is a Business Analyst?
Business analysts work within an organization to evaluate current systems and develop strategic plans. This requires deep knowledge of both the specific business as well as industry trends and conventions. A key aspect of the business analyst role is communicating plans between internal departments and external stakeholders.
The International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) consider business analysts to be agents of change, and thus a primary role of the business analyst is to introduce change in an organization. These changes might be high-level, such as larger scale structural or policy changes or they might be more granular such as finding opportunities for cutting costs. Either way, the changes introduced by a business analyst should help an organization find and realize new opportunities.
Business analysts will also develop or update computer systems to solve their business needs. The business analyst provides requirements to the IT department to produce this new technological system and also supports the testing and implementation of the system.
What does a Business Analyst Do?
A business analyst scrutinizes sets of data looking for ways to increase efficiency in an organization. In this way, the business analyst often acts as a liaison between different departments in a company, finding ways to streamline processes throughout the organization. The business analyst must be able to communicate well within these different organizational groups, sometimes acting as diplomat, presenting solutions in ways that colleagues and stakeholders will understand and appreciate.
Business analysts engage in four main types of analysis:
- Strategic planning—identifying changing needs of a company
- Business model analysis—defining policies and market approaches
- Process design—standardizing workflows
- Systems analysis—interpretation of requirements for the IT department
Business analysts might deliver many different types of solutions in many different formats, including business plans, data models, flowcharts, or strategic plans.
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|School Name||Level||Program||More Info|
|Georgetown University||Master||Master of Science in Business Analytics||Website|
|Concordia University, St. Paul||Master||Master of Science in Data Analytics||Website|
|Johns Hopkins||Master||Online MS in Data Analytics and Policy||Website|
|George Mason University||Master||Online MS in Data Analytics Engineering||Website|
|Utica College||Master||Online MS in Data Science||Website|
|Capella University||Bachelor||B.S. in Data Analytics||Website|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Bachelor||B.S. in Data Analytics||Website|
|Scranton University||Master||Online MS in Business Analytics||Website|
|Drake University||Master||Online Master of Data Analytics||Website|
|Northern Illinois University||Master||Online Master of Science in Data Analytics||Website|