There are many routes to becoming a business analyst, but all require mastering certain skills and technical knowledge. Here is a comprehensive guide with 6 steps to help you become a business analyst—including key skills, job roles, and responsibilities.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Business analysts, or management analysts, are catalysts for change in a company. They observe processes and systems, identify weak areas, and recommend solutions according to their insights.
Becoming a business analyst is an exciting and rewarding career for many professionals. Plus, the career path is a fairly simple one. Below you'll learn how to become a business analyst and other valuable industry information.
If you feel being a business analyst is the right choice for you, the following six steps can help you make it happen.
Business analysts are charged with evaluating a company's current systems and workflows and then providing solutions for strategic changes. They work in a variety of industries and complete a range of tasks. Before diving into this career path, take the time to learn as much as you can about the industry.
The IIBA, or International Institute of Business Analysis, provides an excellent resource for learning more about the business analytics field. It is titled A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK Guide).
Organizations typically require that candidates complete a bachelor's degree program in either business administration, accounting, or finance. The good news is that you can apply for an entry-level position straight out of college.
Being a business analyst requires comfort and familiarity with computers and technology as they often deal with a company's IT department. The better your technical proficiency, the better your chances of getting the job you want.
Your degree program should include computer programming or computer science courses, which is a good start. However, it never hurts to build on those skills on your own. At a minimum, work on mastering charts, graphs, and presentations.
Though you can enter the field directly out of college, having experience provides more career opportunities. One of the easiest ways to gain experience quickly is through an internship while you are in college.
Often, your college career advisor can help you find one or recommend you for a work-study program. You might also consider volunteering some time for a company that's on a low budget.
Another idea is to speak to your current employer. Explain that you are preparing to enter the business analytics field and need some experience. Ask if they have a team you can work with or if there are some projects they could let you manage.
Certifications are not necessary to enter the field, but they can help you grow in it. There are three IIBA certifications that are well worth considering.
Start with the Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA). You can obtain this entry-level certification as soon as you graduate from college. It's also open to current professionals looking to change career paths. In a few years, you can work toward the following two certifications, as well:
Once you have worked in the field for at least two years, you can gain this certification to help you move up in your career.
You need at least five years of experience in business analytics for this certification. But, it is worth the wait. It shows that you can both lead and manage others in the field, making you more desirable to employers.
The business world is constantly changing, and your knowledge needs to be on par. After you have completed your bachelor's program and entry-level certifications, consider working toward a master's degree in business analysis.
An MBA can help you stay relevant in the eyes of employers. It can give you the qualifications you need to compete with other top management analysts, or even start your own firm.
Even if you choose not to pursue a higher degree, you can continue your education. Keep an eye out for new courses and certifications. Read relevant industry articles. Learn new ways of solving problems by observing companies throughout the United States and around the world.
Being a business analyst can provide a lucrative income in a growing field. The average annual salary is $77,715, and many companies provide bonuses based on performance.
Depending on your location, entry-level business analysts might make closer to $50,000 per year. However, after gaining experience, that amount can increase exponentially.
Your salary will also depend on the specific industry and position you enter. Some companies, such as Intuit, pay their top business analysts over $130,000 per year. Your earning potential is limited only by your location, experience, and the job you choose.
Following are four of the top reasons to consider becoming a business analyst.
One of the great things about being a business analyst is that it is easier to break into this field than it is for many other careers. Some industries require a degree, certifications, and a few years of experience in a related field before you can apply.
As a business analyst, you need only a bachelor's degree, though some employers do not require it. Any certifications or experience you obtain is strictly to further your career.
Being a business analyst opens you up to a variety of career opportunities. The industry provides training for a variety of roles, such as a strategist and project manager. This can help you transition into other careers later if you want a change.
Additionally, most business analysts do not face the same challenges every day throughout their careers. There is typically always a new challenge to overcome, ensuring that it never gets boring.
Business improvements are always a necessity. And with more businesses popping up, that need will continue to grow. Even in rough economic times, businesses are looking for ways to improve workflows and cut costs. The BLS predicts that the need for management analysts will grow by at least 11% over the next eight years.
As a business analyst, you help companies determine weaknesses and develop solutions to fix them. Your solutions have the potential to impact everyone associated with the organization. Depending on who you work for, this can include employees, shareholders, customers, the entire community, and any charitable organizations.
Is data analytics the right career for you?
Springboard offers a comprehensive data analytics bootcamp. Our data analytics curriculum goes beyond just technical skills to focus on areas where employers find the biggest gaps: strategic thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Watch videos from Microsoft. Learn insights from McKinsey experts. Tackle case studies from Harvard Business School. No other data analytics bootcamp does this. You’ll graduate with an analytical mindset. That’s an edge not just for your job search, but throughout your career.
Check out Springboard’s Data Analytics Career Track to see if you qualify.
Ready to learn more?
Browse our Career Tracks and find the perfect fit