Are you a techie and a natural problem solver? If so, a business analyst job might be for you. The job outlook for business analysts is positive, as it is a growing field. Other reasons you might want to consider this job include:
Versatility: Some business analyst jobs are more technical, while others focus more on streamlining and improving processes.
Great pay: Depending on the company and seniority level, you could earn more than $80,000 per year.
Flexibility: It’s likely you could choose to work in the office or remotely, depending on your schedule.
Wide range of industries: You won’t be pigeon-holed into one type of company as a business analyst because of the need across many business sectors. Companies such as Amazon, Boeing, UnitedHealth, and Deloitte Consulting all employ business analysts.
If this field sounds intriguing, read on for information on where you can find a job, salaries and career outlook.
Overview: What Does a Business Analyst Do?
No two days are alike for a business analyst, as the job encompasses many different tasks and responsibilities. Examples of job functions include:
- Analyzing business needs and defining business cases
- Collaborating with business stakeholders to understand goals
- Developing business processes and solutions
- Bridging gaps between IT and business
- Spearheading projects designed to improve and streamline processes
- Assessing the success of process improvements and adjust as needed
Education Requirements and Classes Needed
You can find a business analyst job with a bachelor’s degree in business, computer science, information systems, engineering or information technology. Many employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree in business. At a minimum, your college coursework should include a good number of business management courses. Some organizations offer certifications in business analysis, which would make you a more desirable candidate. It’s unlikely you’d find a job as a business analyst with no college degree.
Types of Business Analyst Jobs and Titles
To give you an idea of the types of jobs available in this field, we’re going to look at sample job titles and functions that can fall under the larger career umbrella of business analyst jobs:
Entry-level Business Analyst Jobs
An entry-level business analyst might support a senior business analyst assisting with gathering documentation, consulting with clients, outlining specifications and developing test cases.
Sample job titles: Entry-level business analyst, junior business analyst, business analyst associate
Intelligence Analyst Jobs
Intelligence analysts gather and interpret intelligence data, usually from government agencies. This information could be used to predict future organized crime, terrorism or gang activity. They study activities related to auto theft rings, money laundering, narcotics or other security threats.
Sample job titles: Intelligence analyst, government intelligence analyst, federal analyst
Risk Business Analyst Jobs
A risk business analyst assesses potential risks to an organization’s business processes or systems and delivers reports on how best to correct the situation. Risk business analysts typically work for financial institutions such as investment firms and banks.
Sample job titles; Risk business analyst, risk analyst, financial risk analyst
Forecast Analyst Jobs
A forecast analyst evaluates a company’s productivity, inventory levels and performance to determine what’s needed to improve their bottom-line profitability. Their recommendations are presented to business decision-makers and stakeholders.
Sample job titles: Forecast analyst, business forecast analyst, production planner
M&A Business Analyst Jobs
A mergers and acquisitions (M&A) business analyst identifies companies that would be ideal to acquire or merge with, assesses competitors, and presents findings and prospects to business decision-makers and stakeholders.
Sample job titles: M&A business analyst, M&A business development analyst, M&A analyst
Management Analyst Jobs
Management analysts propose ways for businesses to improve their organizational efficiency. They focus on ways to reduce costs and increase revenues. Management analysts travel a lot to meet clients and can obtain a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation to improve job prospects.
Sample job titles: Management analyst, management consultant, business management analyst
Senior Business Analyst Jobs
A senior business analyst oversees the entire business analysis process, from the gathering of data and research to reporting on recommendations for business process improvements. They manage junior analysts and drive improvement processes from conception through implementation.
Sample job titles: Senior business analyst, lead analyst, senior analyst
Salary Ranges and Expectations for Business Analyst Jobs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median salary for a business analyst is $84,000 per year. Of course, experience level and education can impact total salary, so that number could go up.
Projected Growth Rate of the Field
The projected job growth rate for business analysts is 14%, faster than other occupations. The demand for business analysts is expected to grow as companies strive to control costs and improve efficiencies to stay competitive. Overall, the job outlook for business analysts is promising — even more so if you specialize in a particular field or area.
How to Get a Business Analyst Job
If you’re interested in becoming a business analyst, how can you find a job? Here are some tips to help jumpstart your job search:
Tap your college’s career center. They can help you polish your resume and set up interviews with companies who are hiring entry-level business analysts.
Secure an internship. One of the best ways to gain experience is by interning. You might even get paid — plus, there’s a good chance you could be hired when your internship ends.
Highlight your skills. Be sure to include keywords such as business processes and process improvements, and highlight your business management coursework and any projects you’re proud of. Also, have your resume reviewed or written by a professional.
Stay current. Keep up with industry news and read the best business books to stay up-to-date with what’s trending in your line of work.
Network. Join relevant LinkedIn and Facebook groups, as well as professional organizations such as the International Institute of Business Analysis to connect with peers and find new job opportunities.
Sign up with an employment agency. Many agencies specialize in finding technical jobs for candidates. These agencies often have the inside scoop on job openings before they hit online job boards, so you can get an edge.
Research your target companies. Create a wishlist of the companies you’d most like to work for to narrow your job search. Check out their careers sections and use company names and business analyst job titles when searching on job boards.
Acquire additional certifications. It’s never a bad idea to add more certifications to your resume in related subjects such as project management and software programs such as Microsoft Visio.
Specialize. If you choose an area such as mergers and acquisitions or an industry such as aerospace you’ll be more marketable to businesses seeking those specialties. You can achieve this goal by taking college courses focused on these areas, obtaining designations or certifications and interning to gain on-the-job experience in specific fields.
Become a consultant. While you’re looking for your dream job you can always offer business analysis consulting services. You can advertise on social media and create an inexpensive website. Rack up some referrals and customer testimonials to boost your credibility in the industry.
Top 10 Skills to Be Successful as a Business Analyst
What kinds of skills are required to be a good business analyst? Here are the top 10 skills we think you’ll need to be successful:
1. Communication skills
You’ll need to be able to explain complex business processes and systems to many different levels of an organization, including stakeholders and decision-makers. Your verbal, presentation and written communication skills should be strong.
2. Technical skills
Strong technical skills are just as important as analytical skills for business analysts. You’ll be required to be knowledgeable in predictive analysis, data mining, and Structured Query Language (SQL). Also, you should be proficient in software programs and business analysis tools such as:
3. Project management skills
Much of your work will be project-based, so you’ll need to be adept at creating project plans and meeting milestones and deliverables. You should also be comfortable leading project teams.
4. Problem-solving skills
Identifying and solving problems will be a big part of your job as a business analyst. Developing multiple solutions to organizational issues will be critical so business leaders can choose their strategic plan.
5. Analytical skills
Interpreting, assessing and analyzing business processes and systems will be integral to your role as a business analyst, so good analytical skills are a must.
6. Time management skills
It’ll be critical that you complete your projects on schedule, meeting tight deadlines and objectives, so time management skills are necessary. You’ll be tasked with managing your own schedule as well as those of analysts you supervise.
7. Relationship management skills
You should be skilled at building collaborative relationships with colleagues, business leaders and stakeholders so you can effectively convey your business improvement recommendations.
8. Documentation skills
As a business analyst, you’ll be developing business cases, creating documents and documenting business plans, so you’ll need to be clear and concise.
9. Forecasting skills
Business analysts are tasked with gathering documentation and data from an organization and using it to predict what changes are needed to improve its profitability and performance, so strong forecasting skills are required.
10. Research skills
Gathering information and statistical data is a key job function of business analysts. You’ll need to leverage your investigative and research skills to find feasible solutions to business programs.
Business Analysts Jobs Offer Job Security and Good Pay
As a business analyst, you can have the best of both worlds: Build relationships with business leaders and use technology to improve processes. As long as business owners want to stay competitive and improve their bottom line, your services will be in demand so you can plan for retirement.
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