Become a Business Analyst
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the need for business analysts will increase by 14 percent by 2024.1 This has created an opportunity for students and those who want to change industries to pursue a challenging, fulfilling career path. But the business analysis career path isn’t always clear, which can leave prospective BAs unsure of how to get started.
To clarify, in this blog we use the Business Analyst title to represent anyone performing business analysis tasks on the job. Actual job titles range from company, industry, geography, and even career path, so all of that is summarized by just using the Business Analyst, or BA, title.
3 Steps to Becoming a Business Analyst
Business analysts are “responsible for documenting the information technology (IT) requirements needed to implement solutions for key business problems,” stated Rutgers University.2 “They act as translators, of sorts, between people who work in business operations or strategy, and IT departments.”
Here are some tips to help you become a business analyst:
1) Get an education in business analysis -- People enter the business analysis field with many different educational and professional backgrounds, but they all have a thorough understanding of business analytics and possess strong tech skills. An increasing number of students are gaining these skills via an undergraduate degree in business analytics.
A degree in business analysis is an asset, but it isn’t always required to land a BA job (although sometimes it is). Many individuals have a degree in a different discipline, such as finance, accounting, or business administration, but show advanced IT skills and have obtained education and training in business analysis via an entry-level business analysis program. These candidates often have just as good a chance of getting a great job as a business analyst as someone with a BA degree.
2) Earn a business analysis certification -- Nothing proves your BA skills like a business analysis certification. Certifications, which every business analyst needs, not only add weight to your resume, but can also help you earn more money as a BA.
“Graduates can gain critical supplementary knowledge while making their resumes shine by achieving a respected certification,” stated How to Become a Business Analyst.3 “For many, the first step is to earn the prestigious International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) certification. IIBA is the globally recognized trade association and governing body for the business analyst industry.”
Certification in business analysis isn’t necessarily mandatory for becoming a BA, but when you are competing for a job, a business analysis certification can give you a competitive edge over your peers. A good place to start is IIBA’s Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA). That will help you stand out from others and communicate you are ready for the job.
Learn more about IIBA’s business analysis certifications here.
3) Find a mentor -- If you want to become a business analyst, try to find a mentor who can make navigating the BA career path a little easier. Business analysis as a practice and profession is changing rapidly. A seasoned BA can give you insight into the industry that will help you confidently assume your first official role as business analyst.
If you can locate a qualified mentor via your professional network, ask if he or she would be willing to talk with you an hour per week to answer questions and provide guidance. If none are available through your network, you may find a mentor on the job or during an internship.
BAs Shouldn’t Forget to Build Communication Skills
In addition to seeking an education in business analysis, earning BA certifications, and finding a mentor, it’s critical that prospective BAs learn communication skills. Rutgers University said employers are looking for business analysts with a blend of business, IT, and communication skills. In your quest for technical BA skills, don’t forget to develop the soft skills needed to become a successful business analyst.
For a snapshot of IIBA's 2019 Salary Survey results, check out our infographic
Members read our full, in-depth report featuring regional results, click here
1. Collabera. 5 in-demand career paths for business analysts. https://www.collabera.com/find-a-job/career-resources/5-in-demand-career-paths-for-business-analysts/.
2. Rutgers University. Career focus: what employers want from a business analyst. https://mbs.rutgers.edu/articles/career-focus-what-employers-want-business-analyst.
3. Learn to Become. How to become a business analyst. https://www.learnhowtobecome.org/business-analyst/.