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Business Analyst Career Guide

Do you enjoy finding better ways to get things done? Our world is becoming increasingly data-driven, and the business world is no exception. Many companies are employing Business Analysts to interpret data and help figure out ways to improve and add value to products, business processes, services, software, and hardware.

Besides an affinity for problem-solving and a talent for data analysis, a Business Analyst should have a background in computer science as well as extensive experience working with database queries, writing stored procedures, and working with data cube technology. Business Analysts must also be skilled at process modeling to illustrate where any potential gaps in the project may lie.

It’s also essential for Business Analysts to be able to run meetings and deliver presentations. Conveying potentially complex processes and plans to stakeholders who may not have a high level of technical expertise is a key part of the role of a Business Analyst, as well.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Determine operational objectives by studying business functions, gathering information, and evaluating output requirements and formats
  • Review and analyze data from multiple internal and external sources
  • Communicate analysis results and make recommendations to senior management
  • Validate resource requirements and develop cost estimate models
  • Maintain user confidence and protect operations by keeping information confidential
  • Monitor project progress by tracking activity, resolve problems, publish progress reports, and recommend actions
  • Conduct regular stakeholder meetings to share project progress

Education and Background

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, or engineering; several years of work experience with database queries, stored procedure writing, and data cube technology.

Microsoft Access and/or SQL certifications and International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Certification strongly preferred.

Skills and Competencies

  • Microsoft Access and/or SQL experience
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Ability to create and build relationships

Similar Job Titles

  • Business Management Analyst
  • Business Performance Analyst
  • Business Analyst II
  • Junior IT Business Analyst
  • Application Business Analyst
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • ITSM Business Analyst
  • Technical Business Analyst
  • Agile Business Analyst
  • IT Business Analyst
  • Business Solutions Analyst
  • Systems Business Analyst


Career Path

While pursuing a bachelor’s degree, students are encouraged to supplement their coursework with technical courses in computer programming and computer science. Business Analysts are a liaison between a company’s core departments and its IT department, and Business Analysts with more technical skills are considered more valuable. In addition, companies often prefer to hire Business Analysts with Microsoft Access and/or SQL certifications, as well as candidates with International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Certification.

Business Analysts work closely with IT departments, product managers, software development teams, and quality assurance (or work within one of those departments), so it’s not uncommon for Business Analysts to cross over into those areas and job titles after a few years in their careers.

Because this is a field that requires some technical skill, it is always recommended that Business Analysts keep up on emerging trends and maintain the latest certifications available to be as marketable and valuable to their company as possible.

Position Trends

A recent survey showed 70 percent of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one. Business Analysts facilitate digital transformation in companies by designing the systems to execute those strategies. In addition, many companies are also asking Business Analysts to work on projects beyond software development, so developing skills in data analytics and information security will be key for people entering the Business Analyst profession.

According to the industry publication BA Times, companies are increasingly using the Agile project management methodology. Because of this, many organizations are working to become more flexible and nimble, and Business Analysts will be called upon to facilitate those kinds of tasks.

Soft skills like relationship-building, communication, and critical thinking are also more in-demand for Business Analysts. As companies continue to transition to more modern, digital ways of doing business, it’s more critical for Business Analysts to develop relationships with stakeholders in the company, assist with solving complex transitional problems, and communicate new ideas to people of varied experience levels.

Typical Hours

The typical work hours in an office setting for a Business Analyst are usually from

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many Business Analysts work more than 40 hours per week, and some must travel to meet with clients.