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How To Become A Business Analyst
When you think of a modern business or enterprise, it is a guarantee that the image that comes to mind is the idea of a modern sophisticated office building that is full of neatly dressed individuals talking on headsets or having virtual meetings, typing away on the computer, or recording extremely important data on a virtual or digital system.
Gone are the days of handset phones, Rolodexes, and large rooms dedicated to housing the files and the records of an organization. Instead, technology has come in and brought with it a level of sophistication that wasn't even thought of in previous generations.
But how was the move from what can now be called 'old school' to the new digital way of doing business done successfully? Who was responsible for bringing modernization to the corporate business world?
The answer would be business analysts.
Business analysts came into the corporate world and made the technological shift toward digitalization much more possible than previously thought. With technology consistently changing and the digital world consistently advancing and adapting, the role of business analysts has become increasingly important for businesses to stay abreast of market and industry changes.
With the importance of business analysts and the constant need for them to update and improve an organization's efficiency, the demand for individuals in the role has greatly increased as of late. This may be a great motivation for you to pursue this career.
To become a business analyst, you would need to get a degree in finance, accounting, or business administration, you would need to gain hands-on and direct industry experience, you would need to obtain a graduate degree, and you can then begin searching for the perfect role.
Let us take a closer look at the role of a business analyst and the steps you would need to take to pursue this role.
What Is A Business Analyst?
Before we dive into what a business analyst can do for a business, it is important to first know what a business analyst is. All businesses are run on data. Data-driven entities use trends to identify the processes and strategies needed for a business to succeed in a specific economic climate.
If you consider that trends are constantly adapting, that business processes are constantly changing, and that economies are always evolving, an organization needs to keep up with these trends. If you further consider that many organizations aim to withstand the test of time and achieve long-term success, they need people to help them understand these trends and put processes in place to adhere to these trends.
This is what a business analyst is there for. Business analysts are responsible for setting processes and strategies in place to improve the organizations existing processes by looking at data and trends and making business-related decisions based on these trends.
Making use of technology, they bridge the gap between business and IT, and they draw on data from multiple business aspects to consistently enhance business processes. They will not only enhance and update business processes and operations, but they will also update and enhance the digital processes of an organization.
What Does A Business Analyst Do?
A business analyst analyzes the data of a business to find and implement ways of increasing, enhancing, and optimizing the efficacy of a business. With a hand in each aspect and division of an organization, a business analyst tries to find ways of streamlining the interdepartmental processes within a business.
If they find a problem in terms of communication or the transfer of data and information interdepartmentally, they will need to strategize and find a solution. If there are issues that arise between the departments of an organization, the business analyst will serve as a common point of contact to solve the problems.
Business analysts focus on strategic planning, defining policies and protocols for a company's business model, they will conduct systems analysis working hand in hand with the digital sphere and IT department of an organization, and they will enhance and optimize workflows.
They work closely with the management of an organization to set business goals and to define the parameters and strategies in which the company can work toward achieving these goals. Also, the only way to forecast a business's performance is to look back on its past performances and project outcomes for the future, possible challenges that may arise, and strategies to mitigate the challenges before they arise.
How To Become A Business Analyst?
Step One: Earn A Degree
At the start of any career, you need to pursue a qualification in the field you desire to follow. The same goes for a business analyst. To pursue this career, you would need to obtain a bachelor's degree in any business-related field. You would need to obtain your degree in either business administration, finance, or accounting.
While any business-related field would be sufficient for this role, business administration stands out as the best choice among the rest. This is because as a business analyst, you will be working within the multiple divisions and facets of an organization.
You would therefore need to have an understanding of the operations that take place within a business.
Step Two: Gain Experience
Whether it is through an internship or finding an entry-level role that is related to your desired field of becoming a business analyst, you would need to gain some industry-related and direct experience. This will give you the exposure to the field of business analytics that you need, and it will help you learn practical skills that contribute to the theoretical knowledge that you would have acquired during your degree.
Step Three: Earn A Graduate Degree
Gaining a graduate degree will add a lot of benefits to your career. Not only will you unlock the opportunity for career growth, promotion, and general upward mobility in your career, but you will also unlock a greater earning potential and the chance for you to qualify for management roles.
Not only that, but you will also further enhance the skills that are vital for your success in the role of a business analyst.
Step Four: Develop A Portfolio
No one wants to hire anyone who has no experience, who hasn't worked on any other projects, and whose reputation isn't well known. The best way to mitigate this challenge is to begin working on projects during your internship or entry-level roles, under the supervision of other business analysts.
You can add this experience to a portfolio that will make you generally more appealing to potential hiring managers.
Skills Needed To Be A Business Analyst
Because you will be the person communicating between the many departments of a business, you would need to have effective communication skills. You would need to be comfortable interacting with many different types of people.
You would need to have business expertise and be able to approach business problems with critical thinking and strategic planning skills. Considering that this role is extremely data-driven, you would also need to have superior technical skills
What Is The Expected Salary For A Business Analyst?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management consultants earn a median annual salary of $93,000.
What Is The Difference Between A Data Analyst And A Business Analyst?
Both careers work with the data of an organization but business analysts tend to provide strategies and advice to make recommendations for improvement in an organization, and a data analyst tends to focus on the data only.
What Is The Job Outlook For Business Analysts?
The BLS states that management analysts expect to see a projected growth of 11% over the next ten years. The career expects to see about 101,900 job openings on average each year over the next ten years.
Where Do Business Analysts Work?
As a business analyst, you have two options for the type of employment you can pursue. You could either work in-house as an employee at an organization, or you can work as an external consultant whereby you can have more than one company as a client. Having this freedom of choice is also one of the benefits of this career.
You also have the option of working for a business analytics consultancy whereby you will be employed by a company of business analysts and your service will be outsourced to clients and organizations.
If you do work as a consultant, you may have the benefit of traveling to clients who can be located all around the world, if you are working at an international firm.
In Which Division Of A Company Does A Business Analyst Work?
In many cases, business analysts work in the IT department of an organization.
If you have a keen eye for looking at business operations, analyzing data, identifying faults, and devising strategies to optimize operations, you could consider pursuing the role of a business analyst. Knowing how a business runs and operates will give you an upper hand in the field and you could almost guarantee your success in this role.
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