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What is a Business Analyst & What Do They Do?

The world of business is volatile. A successful company can hit a speed bump and fall flat on its face if it isn’t paying attention. With constant moving parts, expenses, benefits, output costs, and profit margins, it’s easy to lose track of the North Star and get lost along your way.

That’s where professional business analysts come in. A business analyst will enter a company in trouble, identify problems, and find the best solutions. They will then confer with the necessary departments and management bodies to get the company back on the right track. 

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A good business analyst doesn’t just help in times of crisis. Most companies put a business analyst on full-time payroll to oversee the company’s operations and help create future plans. 

Do you think you’d make a good business analyst? Read our article below to find out.  

What Does a Business Analyst Do? 

A business analyst has many responsibilities to keep companies in line and moving efficiently. Below, you’ll find a list of the duties and a description of what they involve. 

Research 

Analysts need to understand the market where they’re operating and their company’s place in it. They need to research expenditures and successful campaigns in that field to mimic and learn from the competition. 

The research will help a company plan for the future and proceed from a knowledgeable perspective. 

Examine Company Structure

A company’s structure consists of all its departments and employees. It also involves their product, how much they charge for it, and how much it costs to produce. To accurately advise a company, a business analyst will need to understand all of these aspects thoroughly. 

During this analysis, they will have to keep in mind how their work differs from company policies and structures and then reconcile those differences. 

Find Problems in a Business

Companies can develop problems for many reasons. Whether it’s low profit margins or staff that’s too expensive, a business analyst should be able to find these issues, highlight them, and come up with a solution. 

Data models are also an excellent business analysis tool and can help project problems in the future. 

Communication with Upper Management

The CEO or upper management of a company needs to work hand in hand with their business analyst to discuss their current situation, improve it, and plan for the future. Analysts need to capture the vision for the company and create a business roadmap.

They’ll need to remain in close contact with management throughout their tenure if any new issues arise or the analyst has innovations in mind for the company. 

Create Plans for the Future

The business plan created by a business analyst needs to be clear, informed, and punctual. Everything on the market is time-sensitive, so projects completed for the future need to be in the one-month, six-month, one-year, five-year format, basically a clear end-date. 

Plans with open-ended deadlines will never be completed and just lead to disorganization and failure to deliver.  

Understanding Both Business and Technical Side

The research done by a business analyst makes them a fundamental part of a project’s success. They will understand the technical side that they can use to bring issues and requests to upper management from a more-informed perspective. 

Often, a business analyst will serve as the bridge between technicians and their managers. 

Documentations and Presentations

To inform the relevant parties of progress and objectives, a business analyst must carefully catalog all the pertinent information from a project. After they have documented the word, they will need to organize it in an understandable way for all company members. 

Usually, this process involves data modeling or presentation building to make technical terms and figures more digestible to a layman audience. Then they can use these presentations to convince investors and management of the advantages of their new processes or plans. 

Average Salary for a Business Analyst

Experience and results are the two most significant factors in a business analyst’s salary. A professional who has been in the field for a long time and has a portfolio of successful companies behind them can make more than someone just starting. 

The company you work for will also play a role. It’s not related to company size as much as the analyst’s relevance to them. You can work at a large company, but if you’re the head analyst there who communicates with the CEO, you will command a higher salary than one of many analysts at a larger company. 

Here are some average salaries for Business Analysts:

  • Average Pay:  $68,346/yr
  • Business Systems Analyst: $68,000/yr
  • Data Analyst: $62,000/yr
  • Senior Analyst: $83,000/yr
  • Entry Level: $66,000/yr

How to Become a Business Analyst

The process of becoming a business analyst is similar to most other business positions. You’ll need at least a Bachelor’s Degree from a reputable institution, a business analysis certificate, and experience in the field. 

Looking for more details? Check out the step-by-step guide below. 

Step 1: Graduate from College

The process of becoming a business analyst starts with a college degree. Most companies want someone who has learned business fundamentals and taken introductory courses in that area. Degrees that combine well with a business analysis certificate are statistics, accounting, economics, administration, and political science. 

There are also several colleges throughout the United States that have business analyst programs, including Carnegie Mellon, UNC-Chapel Hill, UT-Austin, and Cornell University. 

Step 2: Get Certified

There are many online programs and certifications to begin a career in business analysis. Choose one that is certified with a reputable university. You will learn more and it will look better on a CV. 

You have a few different options in terms of certificates, Entry, Capability, and Professional. The Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) is aimed mainly at college graduates who want to enter the field immediately. You’re eligible for the Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA) after two or three years of experience. The Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) requires five years of experience and will qualify you for a leading role in business analysis. 

Step 3: Gain Experience

Some companies will require extra experience in the field of Business Analysis. For this, you should serve as a junior analyst for a few years before moving up into a full position. 

Skill Required for Business Analysis

Like any job, business analysts have a particular set of skills. The list below compiles the essential skills for a business analyst to have.

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  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving
  • Data analysis
  • Data modeling
  • Communication
  • Technical and practical knowledge of the target field
  • Computer experience
  • Analytical abilities
  • Basic math skills
  • Writing and documentation

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of business analysts to grow 11% from 2019 to 2029. Much faster than the national average.

Wrap Up

Now you know everything you need about Business Analysts. They are the consultants and bridge between management and project workers. They have many responsibilities related to data and planning. 

If you want to hire or become a business Analyst, remember it takes a lot of hard work. Finding the right person or building up a career requires hours of your time and an impressive resume full of experience. Good luck with your search!

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