How to Become a Business Analyst in 2022: Schools, Salary, Cost, Requirements

One thing that often makes businesses to fail is poor planning and communication. Due to the lack of budget and planning, 66% of projects do not finish on time.

Recently, more companies now realize the need to adopt new technology in order to stay competitive, hence enhancing the demand for business analysts.

If you are an analytical thinker that wants to know how to solve business problems, becoming a business analyst is a lucrative career path to choose from.

Basically, a business analyst is always in charge of understanding a business changing needs and then provides technological solutions to improve its processes. His or her main role is often thought of as the link between the business and IT departments.

According to Forbes, business analysts have the most search for jobs in America right now. But the term “Business Analyst” is broad in the USA depending on the industries these professionals operate in. Sometimes, it can also be seen as a business consultant or manager, and sometimes mistaken as a management or system analyst.

The difference between all of these career paths is their roles in detail. This article is a guide to explain who a business analyst is and their job description. It also elaborates on the education requirements as well as the certification that is best for the career.

Most importantly, this guide provides the right steps necessary to becoming a business analyst, detailed skills you need, as well as the job prospects and average salary.

Who is a Business Analyst?

A business analyst is one who works within an organization to help evaluate current systems and develop strategic plans. He/she defines, prioritizes, and gets feedback and approval on business requirements.

They then create a strategy to transform those specific requirements into a plan that IT staff and other team members can execute.

Being a business consultant requires a deep knowledge of both the industry and specific business trends. Business analysts are always involved in a wide variety of issues, depending on the type of company they work for.

However, who business analysts are, sometimes depends on who you say they are. But their key responsibility in a company is to introduce change in that organization.

Now, let’s get to know their main role.

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What Does a Business Analyst Do?

What a business analyst does in an organization is to study sets of data in order to look for ways to increase efficiency in an organization. That is why they often act as a liaison between different departments in a company, finding the best ways to streamline processes throughout the organization.

For this reason, technical team members of many companies depend on business analysts to interpret their tasks so they can quickly act upon it. This means that the business consultants must be able to communicate very well with these teams in the company in such a way they can understand.

The bottom line is that a successful business consultant provides direction and support that positively impact a business.

Basically, business analysts engages in 4 main types of analysis namely:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Model Analysis
  • Process Design
  • Systems Analysis

Sometimes, they deliver other different types of outcomes, such as new business plans, data models, flowcharts, or strategic plans.

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The Main Role of a Business Analyst

A business analyst plays a vital role in business – here is a typical job description of a successful one:

  • Communicates with colleagues to understand the needs of the business.
  • Analyze and model data to produce results
  • Work with stakeholders to understand company service or products.
  • Write reports to present to stakeholders
  • Conduct surveys, workshops, and tests.
  • Create suggestions and solutions for strategic and operational changes.
  • Always consider the opportunities and risks of these suggestions
  • Invent systems or processes necessary to implement these changes or alter existing ones.
  • Go forward to support staff as solutions are implemented
  • Evaluate the impact of changes made.

Is Business Analysis a Good Career?

Yes! A business analyst career is a good career path to choose. This role can be ideal for motivated people with strong analytical skills.

Other important qualities include excellent verbal and written communication skills, as well as the ability to work well with employees at all levels of an organization.

A bachelor of business administration with an administrative specialization can help you develop the experience necessary to start a successful career here.

If you are thinking of a career here, but you are skeptical if it is the right choice for you. Well, it is always understandable when you think this way because you might not have a full understanding of the advantages of becoming a business analyst.

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Why Become a Business Analyst?

Business analysts often have different varying responsibilities and this often arises based on the company you are working in. Some companies refer to a business analyst as a management analyst, and it causes changes to their roles and responsibilities.

Either way, business analysts are taught to be very technical in their roles. Some are seen in very technical roles, while others are strictly working on the business side. Some are busy with defining and adjusting process flows, while others are designing technical solutions to solve a business’s needs.

This sweeping role of a business analyst is what makes the career path flexible.

As earlier mentioned, more and more organizations are now realizing the benefits business analysts provide. For this reason, the business analyst job market is expected to grow by 19% in the next 10 years. This means the current 740, 000 or more business analyst jobs in the US will become approximately 880,000 by 2026.

With this type of growth, many companies around the world are already in competition for every business analyst they can find. Now is just the right time to become one.

It was shocking when I found out that the average business analyst salary was over $78,000 per year. And over 10% of them make nearly $150,000 per year.

Business Analyst indeed earns very high especially with the high increase in demand.

What are the Most Important Skills of a Business Analyst?

To become a successful business analyst, it is very important to have a combination of technical and social skills.

Here are the specific skills you need:

Communication Skills: One major skill all business analysts are expected to have is communication skills. This is because, you will be working in groups, to gather information and present it to many stakeholders in the business. Then go further to translate and negotiate with parties by communicating solutions in an accessible way.

Also, they need to have strong written and oral skills in order to gain approval for plans from company.

Business Insight and Critical Thinking: In this aspect, business analysts must understand many facest of the business they work for. They must be able to also understand the roles of different staffs and departments. And also how these departments depend on each other. This business insight will enable them to successfully analyze data points and develop strategic plans for the future.

Technical Skills: It is important to have a good number of technical skills as a business analyst. This is because business consultants can use a wide range of technical programs. Including diagramming, data processing, framing, requirements management, and reporting programs. Recently, their skills are increasing, such as computer programming, big data mining techniques, database administration, and systems engineering.

What are the Education Requirements for a Business Analyst?

A bachelor’s degree is the standard education requirements for any business analyst. Occasionally, employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree.

The degrees that are relevant in this career path include business administration, business, management, accounting, marketing, economics, statistics, and computer and information science.

While education requirements are important to employers, they also expects experience requirements. And it can vary for 3-5 years which is most employers standard.

They also expect that these professionals should have strong analytical, communication, time management skills. Some computer skill requirements are also important though it varies by employers.

Generally, all business consultants should have knowledge of C#, Oracle, and PL/SQL and Microsoft Office.

As the entry-level business analyst works to support the senior analyst, the entry-level requirements by employers still remain the following:

  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Management Skills
  • Research
  • Technical Skills
  • IT Knowledge
  • Domain Knowledge
  • Business Analysis Skills
  • Decision-Making
  • Creativity

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Business Analyst?

The cost to becoming a business analyst totaly depends on the route you decide to take. It can also depends on your level of education.

The path you take totally determines how much it will cost you to become certified. For instance, the fee you pay for the different levels of certifications is never the same. Some cost more while some are lesser in price.

Also, for institutions like the International Institute of Business Analysis UK (IIBA) or The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), the costs of becoming one are never the same.

Generally, to become a certified business analyst, it will cost you $56,000 approximately.

Are you ready to kick this career rolling?

How to Become a Business Analyst (Certified)

There are steps that guide you on how to become a business analyst. Knowing and following these steps will aid you to earn your certification very fast and easily.

If you are entering the field with IT experience or starting from scratch, you should follow these steps we stated below.

Step 1: Understand your role as a Business Analyst

The first step to becoming a business analyst (cert) is to understand your role in that field. Understanding your role will help you leverage your skills in some specific fields such as the insurance, health, or finance sectors.

As business analysts work with managers in the company, hence it is relevant to develop systems and solutions that drive the company forward. By doing so, you will definitely excel in your career.

Also, it will expose you to the different aspect of analysis hence speeding up your process of becoming a certified business analyst.

Finally, understanding your role is the starting point of rolling your career as a business analyst to the next level.

Step 2: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

Most of the business analyst positions in the US requires candidates to have a bachelor’s degree. Either in business administration, or any other related degree.

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So to become a certified business analyst, you should be on your way to college by now. This is the place where you will learn the necessary courses that will help you excel in this career.

A typical bachelor’s degree course work you will be taking in business administration include communication, accounting, business, law and other specializations.

Many schools offer these specializations above that helps prepare future business analysts. Most importantly, these schools offer internships or summer programs for aspiring business analysts. This is a means to gain work experience and a better understanding of the course.

Step 3: Acquire and Leverage on Relevant Skills

The next step is to acquire the necessary skills you need to become a certified business analyst as stated above. The position as a business analyst requires computer skills, transferable skills, and difficult skills.

You can only acquire this skill while in college. College is the best place to grow these skills, so you can leverage it when opportunities comes.

Some of this skils are:

  • Written and Verbal Communication Skills: Good communication skills want you to need to be a successful business analyst. This is because you will be attending meetings, interviews, and discussions in companies. Also, clear and concise writing skills are very necessary for this field because you will often be documenting findings and plans.
  • Critical Thinking and Evaluation Skills: Learn how to listen to stakeholders and ask the right questions. then you learn to critically evaluate those needs to ensure the address the specific problems.
  • Analytical Skills: At this point, you should learn how to identify and understand the real problems a company is facing. this is because they are not always obvious. By so doing, you can leverage this in the future.
  • Technical Skills: IT skills is one you can’t do without in this field. So learn to broaden your IT skills. Technical skills accompany most job listings, such as SQL, Oracle, .Net, C#. and many others.
  • Other skills include; Organizational skills, Interpersonal skills, Research skills, Problem-solving skills, etc.

Step 4: Gain Work Experience

Gaining work experience is the final step to take before becoming certified. Graduates should look for entry-level business analyst positions in business management, information technology, human resources, or related fields to gain work experience.

You can also gain experience from volunteer roles with the small companies first or take advantage of summer internship opportunities. Here you will have to work under the direction of a senior analyst or with some team of consultants until you have gained enough experience to work independently.

Once, you are hired as an entry-level business analyst, make sure to gain quality experience. This is because you need first-hand experience, as much you have been working under senior analysts.

Step 5: Earn a Master’s degree or Become Certified

Most employers prefer business analysts with a master’s degree and certification especially from the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC).

To earn a master’s degree, you have to enroll in an accredited school. A lot of universities especially in the USA offer master’s degrees and graduate certificates in business analytics. This program includes business data analytics, operations research, project management, database analytics, and predictive analytics.

Then to earn certifications, you have to take the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) exam. This exam is available in three levels: basic, experienced, and management.

The basic level requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree and 3-9 years of consulting experience with 5 satisfactory evaluations. Meanwhile, experienced and management levels require more work experience.

In addition, to become certified, applicants must pass a written and oral exam. Indeed, certification helps business analysts stand out in the field and provide proof of competence.

Which Certification is Best for a Business Analyst?

Business analysis is rapidly growing so is the demand for business analysts and many professionals are wondering “how to become certified in this field”. So in a quest to become a certified business analyst, it is important to know the best certification to go for.

Certifications from the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) are recognized globally. For these reasons, getting certifications can help you grow your career in business analysis.

From entry level to advanced level, and even specialized areas like cybersecurity, certification in business analysis are worth getting to maximize your BA career potential. With IIBA certifications you can even get certified online.

Basically, the certification program consists of three levels, such as ECBA™, CCBA®, and CBAP® which spans from entry-level to expert-level knowledge of business analysis. To choose the best certification program, you should determine the best level that matches your interest, experience, and career goals.

Here is the list of the three differet levels of the certification program:

There are other specialized areas like:

How to Become a Business Analyst With No Experience

You can work as a business systems or ICT analyst with no experience if you can demonstrate your technical skills to employers.

There is also a wide range of vendor and industry certifications that can replace formal qualifications and can be highly valued by employers. However, most workers have a VET diploma or a college degree.

Here is how to become one with little or no experience:

Learn Core Business Analysis Skills

If you have no experience when it comes to being a business analyst, the first thing you should do is to learn the core business analysis skills. Also, you will need to have these skills at the tip of your fingers as a new business analyst.

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Also, each of these skills have corressponding training classes, so you can go ahead to take the online classes and get yourself equipped.

Take Business Analysis Training Courses

Whether you’re just entering the business analysis field or you want to earn a professional certification, taking business analysis training courses will help you acquire the advanced skills you need to get ahead.

Investing in business analyst education should cover a wide range of critical job functions, including:

  • Writing compelling business cases and requirements documents
  • Supporting strategic business recommendations with sound budgeting
  • Best practices in process mapping using Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN)
  • How to solve practical business problems using Business Process Diagrams (BPDs)
  • Being proficient in Agile project management
  • Check out our full list of business analysis training courses.

Earn a Business Analyst Certification

If you have the interest to become a business analyst whether you have experience or not, you should consider earning a professional certification.

What are the Best Business Analysis Schools?

Because employers prefer candidates who have obtained a graduate degree, it is important that you extend your study to the masters level. Most MBA programs are 2 years in length, although some schools offer an accelerated program that allows students to obtain their degree in 12-18 months.

Here is a list of Best Schools to study Business Analysis specialization courses:

  • Temple University
  • Western Governors University
  • CUNY Bernard M Baruch College
  • University of Denver
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Saint Ambrose University
  • Cleveland State University
  • Bentley University

What is the Average Salary of a Business Analyst?

According to Payscale.com, “A business analyst earns an average salary of $68,844 per year.” Meanwhile, the average entry-level salary in the United States is $67,000.

There are many factors that influence salary differences, including additional location, education, certifications, performance, skills, and experience.

However, salaries for business analysts can reach $84,930, according to Salary.com.

Business consultants can expect salary increases for the first 5-10 years, but additional experience does not have a significant effect on salary.

Most business analysts work in the position for only 1 to 4 years, and almost all move to more advanced positions within 20 years. Promotions include positions as a project manager or senior business analyst.

Business Analyst Job Outlook

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of management analysts, including business analysts, is expected to increase 14% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average for all professions.

Business analysts often specialize in a particular industry, such as telecommunications or energy. Or, they may work in a specific business area, such as marketing, human resources, or supply chain management.

Others, especially those who work for smaller companies, maybe general practitioners. In all contexts, the job of these professionals is to define a problem, collect and analyze the data that concerns it. As well as to evaluate the company’s processes and procedures, and ultimately recommend and deploy strategies designed to solve the problem.

How to Get an Entry-Level Business Analyst Job?

Here are 7 steps that will help you land on any entry level business analysis job:

  • Gain Transferrable Skills
  • Gain Technical Skills
  • Get a Business Analyst Training/Certification
  • Look for positions that tend to allow employee transit into the Entry Level Business Analyst position
  • Volunteering
  • Networking
  • Get a Mentor

FAQs

Who is a Business Analyst?

A business analyst is one who works within an organization to help evaluate current systems and develop strategic plans. Also, a business analyst defines, prioritizes and gets feedback and approval on business requirements.

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

What a business analyst does in an organization is to study sets of data in order to look for ways to increase efficiency in an organization. That is why the business analyst often acts as a liaison between different departments in a company, finding the best ways to streamline processes throughout the organization.

What are the Main Role of a Business Analyst?

A business analyst plays a vital role in business. Here is a typical job description of a successful business analyst:

1. Communicates with colleagues to understand the needs of the business.
2. Analyze and model data to produce results
3. Work with stakeholders to understand company service or products.
4. Write reports to present to stakeholders
5. Conduct surveys, workshops, and tests.
6. Create suggestions and solutions for strategic and operational changes.
7. Always consider the opportunities and risks of these suggestions
8. Invent systems or processes necessary to implement these changes or alter existing ones.
9. Go forward to support staff as solutions are implemented
10. Evaluate the impact of changes made.

Is Business Analyst a Good Career?

Yes! Business Analyst Career is a good career path to choose.

Why Become a Business Analyst?

Here are great benefits business analysts enjoy:
1. Varying Responsibilities
2. Job Market is Expanding
3. Great Salary

What are the Most Important Skills of a Business Analyst?

As the entry-level business analyst works to support the senior analyst, the Entry-level Business Analyst Requirements by employers still remains the following:

Problem-solving
Communication
Management Skills
Research
Technical Skills
IT Knowledge
Domain Knowledge
Business Analysis Skills
Decision-Making
Creativity

Conclusion

In summary, to become a successful business analyst, you should follow these steps we stated below to become certified:

1st Step: Understand your role
2nd Step: Get a Bachelor’s Degree
3rd Step: Acquire and Leverage Relevant Skills
4th Step: Gain Work Experience
5th Step: Earn a Master’s degree or Become Certified

References

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