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The Definitive Guide: How To Become A Business Analyst

Published on: 7 Jan 2020
business analyst

What is a Business Analyst?

If data, analysing, problems and solutions are some of your favourite buzzwords, a career as a Business Analyst within finance, marketing or head office level could suit you perfectly!

  • Job Description

    A Business Analyst plays an integral part within an organisation by understanding current problems and identifying solutions to fix them to ensure the business has continued growth and success. In effect your role is to analyse an organisation, looking at business processes, technology and their business model through data analysis. As a Business Analyst you would be focussing on technical solutions to fit the businesses strategic needs.

    You will be the key person, leading projects but typically working with multiple stakeholders to envision business solutions for the current challenges they may be facing. You will also then support the communication and delivery of any requirements. A Business Analyst is often deemed to be the middleman, bridging the gap between IT and business stakeholders.

  • Hours of Work

    Typically a Business Analyst will operate the standard 9-5 working hours so circa 37-40 hours a week. At the peak of a project, some overtime may be required.

  • Main Responsibilities

    • Devise a business analysis outlining business challenges, opportunities and solutions moving forward
    • Facilitate business change in a positive way by recognising current inefficiencies
    • Assess current processes, focusing on systems
    • Understand requirements for a project
    • Work with multiple stakeholders
    • Advise senior stakeholders on efficient IT systems
    • Utilise programmes and packages to produce reports and charts
    • Map out the business requirements to ensure all needs are being addressed
    • Delivery, communication and training on solutions suggested

Key Business Analyst qualifications

Do you have the qualifications to get the job?

A majority of Business Analyst roles will require you have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related degree for entry-level positions. As the trend for this role increases some universities offer Business Analyst related modules and/or Business Analyst degrees.

If you are stepping across to a BA role from a previous role, BA training is advisable from either voluntary work or university placements. Often, the step in to such a role is previously as a coder, developer and/or a tester where you will have built up your technical expertise.

To fine tune your skills and demonstrate your commitment to the role, you could achieve a recognised certification, for example from The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) who offer foundation classes.

business analyst

Vital Business Analyst skills

Want to know if you’ve got what it takes? These are the skills you’ll need for the role

  • An excellent listener
  • Able to manage multiple stakeholders effectively
  • Strong understanding and commercial acumen and insight into what is important to the business in which you operate
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem solving and strategic thinking
  • Be able to process a huge amount of information
  • Attention to detail
  • Leadership and presentation skills
  • Methodical and structured in your approach

What is a Business Analyst salary?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty…

Demand for Business Analysts is high across a number of industries. Due to the level of responsibility of the role, salaries can be lucrative. Expected average salaries are typically £47,000 pa - £70,000 pa, with a starting salary of circa £25,000 - £35,000 due to the previous experience of IT and business gained prior to being a BA. Quite often Business Analysts are contracted, as a bulk of the work is ‘project led’. An approximate day rate for a BA is circa £500.

business analyst

How to become a Business Analyst

Now that you know what a Youth Worker does, how do you become one?

There are a number of routes in to becoming a Business Analyst. As the role is becoming more popular, it is more and more accessible to find a Business Analyst degree/module to study at university. Traditionally a more common route is to study a relevant degree in computing, administration, economics or business to give you the basic principles.

As a BA requires thorough understanding of business acumen and IT, many BA’s build up their experience in various roles, gaining experience along the way. Often, the step in to such a role is previously as a coder, developer and/or a tester. This is a longer route in but means you are more experienced and knowledgeable about all the facets of the role so can enter at a more senior position. If you are swapping from another role, it may be advisable to complete a Business Analyst training course, which are readily available.

How to develop your Business Analyst career?

The wonderful part of being a Business Analyst is you have a vast skill set and knowledge of many aspects of a business, including business, operations, systems, IT, project management etc.; so you have lots of scope for movement and developing your career. You can develop yourself further by moving across industries and companies to strengthen your expertise and knowledge of varying business types.

Career Opportunities

  • In the current technology landscape, Business Analysts are in high demand so opportunities are plentiful. There is huge investment in technology in the business world, and the rise of agile working, also ensures the need for Business Analysts. You could either work for an employer as a permanent member of staff or be contracted in to work on a particular project. With your scope of knowledge, there is also the opportunity to move across departments and industries.

    If you wanted to develop your career further or side step, a Business Analyst will have some vita management skills, which could open the doors to Operations Management, Project Management, Product Manager or Consulting.

    You can find some of the best business analyst roles with brands such as Sports Direct, Asda, Greggs, The Rank Group, Flannels and many more.