Business Analyst Job Description (Duties, Skills, Salary, Certifications & More)
- 1 What is a business analyst?
- 2 What are the tasks and responsibilities of a business analyst?
- 3 Common skills of business analysts
- 4 Business analyst Education, training, certification
- 5 What are the salary expectations of a business analyst?
- 6 What you need to know for your job interview
- 7 Put it all together
By Jeff Gillis
Thanks to the rise of Big Data, a plethora of analytical jobs have sprung up. Among them is the business analyst. While the job title makes the role seem pretty self-explanatory, it really isn’t. The business analyst job description is much more complex.
Of course, these professionals analyze the operations of the company, it is true. But it is also an oversimplification.
Business analysts are tech enthusiasts and data drivers who battle over stats with the ease of a seasoned cowboy lassoing a calf. They know the underlying nature of business like a ranch man knows his herd. They are masters at debunking the chaos that untapped data can be, conquering it like a trainer does with a wild stallion.
Are you ready to learn more about what a business analyst job description actually looks like? So let’s drop all the Old West references (for now) and get down to business.
What is a business analyst?
In the simplest sense, a business analyst is a problem solver. Using the power of data analytics, they deliver insight to stakeholders and business decision-makers, enabling them to select avenues to improve procedures, services, products and, of course, results.
Usually, business analysts are very technical, but also incredibly business-oriented. They don’t live in one world, understanding the nuances, jargon, and jargon on both sides. Essentially, on the way from A to C, they are point B.
What does this mean to you? If you are a business analyst, that means your primary goal is to use data to gain insight that guides smarter business decisions. It’s about using the information you collect to maximize opportunities for improvement.
What are the tasks and responsibilities of a business analyst?
As with many jobs, a business analyst job description will vary a bit from company to company. However, there are some basic duties and responsibilities that almost all roles require.
First of all, data gathering and analysis are primary functions. Getting the most out of all the information available and using it to generate information is the goal of almost all business analysts; it is so simple.
However, there is also more to it. A business analyst is also responsible for:
- Identify relevant business opportunities
- Collection of business and user needs
- Document the processes
- Preparation of reports
- Share ideas to influence decision making
- Lead projects
- Coordination with cross-functional teams
- Carrying out tests
- Recommend improvements
- Define solutions
Now keep in mind that this list is an overview and not exhaustive. Remember that each business analyst position is unique, so tasks and responsibilities may vary.
If you are meeting with a hiring manager and are about to face business analyst interview questions, take the time to review this position. This way you know exactly what this role entails and the hiring manager’s priorities.
Common skills of business analysts
As you can see, business analysts have a lot to do. How do they make sure they present themselves as a skilled bull rider and not a rodeo clown in the line of duty? By having the right skills!
What skills do they need? Usually a mix of technical and soft skills. Let’s start with the technical stuff.
- Business intelligence tools
- Relational databases
- Analytical reports
- SQL statements and queries
- Data analysis
- Data visualization
In some cases, previous experience with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies Is usefull. Likewise, be familiar with other programming languages, such as Python, can make you stand out from the crowd. However, these are not always necessities.
Okay, now you know what technical skills you need to bring. This means it is time for soft skills. Here is an overview of what you need:
- Analytical thinking
- Problem solving
- Attention to detail
There are other soft skills you may find useful as well, but the above should be considered essential.
Business analyst Education, training, certification
As with most technical roles, you can’t just get off the street and land a business analyst job. It would be like trying to jump on a bronco without any practice; you’ll be tossed, knocked to the ground, and trampled into the dirt in just seconds.
If you want to become a business analyst, your first step is to get the right training. Usually, that means earning at least a bachelor’s degree in a role-related field. For example, a business Administration, accounting, finance, statistics, economy, Where degree in computer science could all serve as an appropriate basis.
However, making sure your major and minor meet to reflect both aspects of the job might be the best approach. For example, a major in business administration with a minor in computer science could potentially cover the business and technical aspects of the role.
As for certifications, technically you don’t need them. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t help your career.
If you’re looking to boost your credibility (and income potential), here are some business analyst certifications to consider.
- PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)
- IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
- IQBBA Certified Foundation Business Analyst (CFLBA)
There are others that can be beneficial as well, but this should give you a good idea of the types of certifications that can help you get to the next level.
What are the salary expectations of a business analyst?
As with any job, a ton of factors go into the pay equation, including for business analysts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a feel for what to expect.
On average, business analysts earn just over $ 75,000 per year. The typical salary range is around $ 67,500 to almost $ 84,000.
Now, before you run off and put down a down payment on your dream home, take a break. The amount you earn is greatly influenced by your level of education and experience, as well as your skills and any certification you may have. The size of the company and the industry of the company can also affect pay rates.
Being a business analyst for a Fortune 500 company in New York is almost guaranteed to pay more than a midsize company in Oklahoma City. Take this salary information with a grain of salt and understand that, yes, you can earn that much (if not more), but it probably won’t happen right away.
Take a look at this helpful graphic from our friends on Zippia.com.
What you need to know for your job interview
Before you jump into your interview, you need to make the most of the business analyst job description for that position. It’s a bin full of information, including details on exactly what the hiring manager wants to find.
Usually, there is a list of skills, traits and qualifications that the hiring manager or the company considers important. It’s right there in black and white, and usually accented with bullet points. Don’t ignore it.
It’s your job to show you’re the perfect candidate, so use the must-see list as a guide. Incorporate these details into your answers when you practice your business analyst interview questions and answers. Have examples (success stories) that you can use to demonstrate your abilities, especially when answering behavioral interview questions.
You can also spend time reviewing key interview questions with business analysts. This allows you to see ahead of time what questions you are likely to be faced with, making sure you don’t get caught off guard.
Put it all together
As you can see, being a business analyst requires a unique combination of skills, combining business acumen with technical prowess. Usually, you’ll need a solid education, and if you want to increase your career potential, a certification or two doesn’t hurt.
Whether you are already working as a business analyst or working in the field, keep the main responsibilities in mind. This way, you can align your priorities with the needs and expectations of the employer and hiring manager, increasing your chances of thriving.
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