Business analysis has emerged as one of the sunrise sectors of the 21st century. In many ways, it provides that crucial bridge between a company’s overall objectives for business and its IT capabilities. Business analysts play the role of the key link that helps a firm optimize its business objectives. In many ways, a skilled business analyst can play a significant role in improving a firm’s profitability as well as productivity in the long run. In a scenario of a rapidly changing and ever dynamic marketplace, a strong business analyst often provides the competitive edge.
Basics of Business Analysis & What an Analyst Needs to Understand
Before we proceed to how to become a business analyst, it is important to understand the key responsibilities that a business analyst has. After all, it is this understanding that will enable you to the challenges and demands associated with this job profile. It help you to know how exactly should you prepare yourself for experiencing an absolute success. Therefore, in very simple words, it strives to bring in a structured, disciplined and overall united approach to the entire process of analyzing businesses.
From analysis and identifying key channels of growth to working on final figures and observation, a business analyst covers every aspect. This is exactly why the business analyst can serve multiple roles across industries:
From looking after data to being the key troubleshooter to even becoming the researcher, writer and management consultant depending on the need that is identified by the entrepreneur. So if you are planning to make it big as a business analyst, there are some key skills that you must specialize in.
- Proper listening ability
- Being flexible and open to change
- Capable of multitasking and handling multiple challenges simultaneously
- Being able to prioritize
- Capable of addressing the requirement of multiple stakeholders
- Great at negotiating and hard bargaining depending on the need
- Capable of taking firm decision based on needs
Additionally, this understanding also helps you to prepare better for the associated tests that help you qualify as a business analyst eventually.
How to Become a Business Analyst
These are the things you have to know if you want to become a business analyst:
- Business Analyst Job Description
- Academic Requirement
- Get an Edge over Peers & Land up with the Right Job
- Business Analyst Salary
1. Business Analyst Job Description
Here is a quick lowdown on the business analyst job description:
1) A business analyst needs to be extremely alert and agile in terms of job delivery
2) They need to be adaptable to an organization’s demand and be able to constantly change as per the demands of the times.
3) It creates the ability to innovate in the complex business environment
4) Business analysts also make organizations optimize the efficiency even amidst challenging environmental condition
5) A Business Analyst is instrumental in driving product innovation and launching fresh products in the market.
6) It is only through detailed business analysis that a company zeroes in on creating cost-effective service model and efficient product launch
Along with all of these, the business analyst also outlines the project requirement.
They also do the necessary communication with various stakeholders
Sometimes they have to create a dialogue channel with the related stakeholders and business facilitators.
Therefore, as you can understand from the business analyst job description, it comprises of many facets and a comprehensive coverage of the overall business processes.
This clearly makes it very important for you to have an expansive and detailed understanding of multiple facets of business and how exactly they can impact the basic running of the business.
2. Academic Requirement
That inevitably brings us to the next pit stop, i.e. the academic qualification required in your quest to know more about how to become a business analyst. Well, after you finish the basic high school degree, you need to prepare yourself for a bachelor’s degree or even higher. It depends on the overall ambition and aspiration that you might have.
While pursuing your bachelor’s degree you can look to major in any one or more f the following subjects:
- Data analysis.
Most organizations are also now open to taking up fresh college graduates as business analysts. The reason is the challenges that current business environments provide and the dynamic nature of the overall business environment. If you see current trends and chalk out the career graph of business analysts, you would notice that most initially work as system analysts, financial analysts, functional analysts, data analysts and related positions before finally making the mark as efficient business analysts.
As you grow up in the career chart and learn to take up more responsibilities, you are promoted as senior business analysts. Needless to mention the academic requirements keep increasing as well. More often than not as a senior business analyst you are required to take up specialization like SAP, ScrumMaster or even Agile. You could even proceed from the position of a business manager, business architect and finally move to a VP level position in the overall career chart.
Independent Jobs and Projects
The business analyst at this juncture becomes capable enough of taking up independent jobs and projects. He sometimes also plays the role of a consultant working simultaneously across multiple industries. Therefore, you can easily understand that business analysts as a rule of thumb have varying degrees of technical knowhow. They apply different degrees of different types of the knowledge base to approach and resolve a problem.
Some apply their technical know-how and expertise in IT processes. But there are some who seek to apply the overall level of competence in business processes and financial management to get to the root of a problem. Of course in the interim, if you are interested you could also work towards gaining certification in many business processes that help you get an edge over your peers. This could range from certification in SAP and related processes to financial management and its many related facets.
The purpose of most of these certifications is to help you stay on top of the existing trends and keep updating your knowledge base in sync with modern demands. This is exactly why you could also look at applying for a BS in Computer Science in your pursuit towards how to become a business analyst.
3. Get an Edge over Peers & Land up with the Right Job
In this context, when you are keenly studying a business analyst job description, you will be keen to understand as to how you can work towards becoming better than the best in your job. After speaking to several industry leaders and business analysis veterans, we have understood that finding the right job is one of the most important challenges. While you can always apply for a job via monster.com or related job sites, the right fit inevitably takes a lot of patience and perseverance from an individual.
But you must also remember that this patience will help you stand in good stead in terms of attaining long-term success and better prospects of future success. When you are a fresh graduate, and just out of school you might often think that you will land up with the right job almost instantaneously. But that is hardly the case. Most times it so happens that the right job is at an elusive point where you can reach only gradually.
You must understand that there is also a process involved in how to become a business analyst, master of processes. But that does not mean you don’t do anything until that point. You must continue to take up any opportunity that comes your way and never slacken the networking channels. Your hunger for getting the better of acquiring numerous skill sets is what would set you apart in the overall tryst for better success, more financial gains and greater aspirational success. It is these baby steps that would take you to ultimate success.
4. Business Analyst Salary
That essentially brings us to next primary point of discussion. What is the business analyst salary?
It is important for you to understand the salary ramifications because, in the long run, it is this key consideration that can help you handle the basic choice that you make. The simple corollary is why you would want to become a personal manager at a bank rather than a bank teller though you can get the later position with much lesser qualification?
The key reason would be better salary prospects and a promise of a better quality life going forward. In the same way, it is important to consider the salary structure and overall financial outlay associated with this position. Well for starters, let us probe into the entry level business analyst salary and how it fares with many other related or similar professions.
As a business analyst, you start off:
1) With an average salary of $56,000 annually;
2) Overall cash allowance in entry level business analyst salary could at times exceed $10,000 from the various bonus elements earned;
3) For some exceptional professionals with compelling area expertise, the salary might even have as much as $7000 from a profit sharing understanding;
4) So while the average is pegged at the mid 50s, an entry level business analyst salary could vary from as less as $41,000 to as much as $80,000.
When you consider that this is just the entry level business analyst salary, I am sure that as a seasoned professional it is not difficult for you to make some basic back of the hand calculation about the overall ramifications going forward. It is but obvious that after you achieve a certain amount of competence in this field, you will be able to fare even better and make relatively more money for yourself as a business analyst.
Some of the key determinants that are responsible for deciding the exact salary structure include:
- Overall skill sets and additional certifications;
- Job experience and exposure;
- Nature of exact job and its impact.
This essentially means that no one salary rule would apply to all business analysts.
Therefore, when you delve deeper into understanding how to become a business analyst, it is extremely important to look at the various associated elements that go on to the making of an overall business analyst and the job that they have to deliver. Remember the financial remuneration is deeply associated with the final deliverable. The gender difference could also have an impact on the overall salary payment in the longer run. Nearly 60% of those drawing entry level business analyst salary are men.
It is observed that over the extended future, this might have certain remunerative implication on the overall pay structure. Apart from the straight business analyst salary, there are some associated professional perks too. Most of the concerned business analysts enjoy medical and dental coverage providing them expense relief to a large extent.
Survey Conducted by Payscale
Payscale conducted a survey with respect to business analysts salary. According to this survey, most business analysts are highly satisfied by their job. And, the resulted salary structure too ensured average contentment. A business analysts’ job has some of the most positive features including:
- Satisfactory pay scale
- Overall job satisfaction
- A good balance of effort and pay
- Training and expenses involved at par with the salary tat is paid to the professional
- Number of hours that is used up in relation to the salary paid
All in all then it can be easily said that the business analyst salary, makes it one of the lucrative job offerings in the market. When you look at the various slabs of payment with various level of professionals the various salary structure proceed as follows:
- Entry Level Analyst: $55,000-70,000, possibility of earnings up to 8% bonus
- Mid-level Analyst: $55,000-95,000, can earn a maximum of 10% bonus
- Senior Level Analyst: Can earn up to $150,000 with bonus earnings amounting to 10%
Therefore the US average in terms of a business analyst salary is close to $50,000-110,000 with an average of 10% bonus prospects.
Therefore, when you look at how to become a business analyst, the entry level salary of business analyst becomes a key consideration. The average salary outlay of several professionals is almost half the amount that an entry level business analyst earns. This fact often becomes the key factor why it is such a lucrative professional option for those who have the resources. In fact, the handsome initial salary prospect also makes it a viable option for many. The reason is that these might have to take the aid of student loans to finish their education roadmap and start off a career.
The good news is this is one of the professions that prepare you for the every dynamic and changing market environment. No one can accurately predict the job market realities going forward. But, when as a business analyst you are well geared to stay updated with the latest trends, it sure helps the overall prospects. There are many factors that can truly bring out a competitive edge for you. They can make you shine brightly in comparison to your peers in the longer run. These factors are the basic aptitude and ability to multi-task with a keen sense of applying process knowledge on a plethora of factors.