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How to Start a Rewarding Career in Business Analysis

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Looking for a career that combines analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and business acumen? You might want to consider becoming a business analyst or adding business analysis to your professional toolkit.

Business analysis professionals are valued across various industries and sectors because they help organizations improve their performance, processes, and products. Using data, research, and analytical skills, they identify stakeholder needs and requirements and propose solutions that align with an organization’s goals.

Business analysts also communicate and collaborate with various teams to ensure the successful implementation and evaluation of the solutions.

But how do you get started in this exciting and rewarding field? Here are some tips to help you out.

1. Learn the Basics

Business analysis is a broad discipline that covers many aspects of identifying, analyzing, and implementing solutions to business problems. So, it’s best to start with baby steps.

First, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the core concepts, techniques, and tools of business analysis. These include stakeholder analysis, requirements elicitation, modelling, testing, and documentation. A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) is the globally recognized standard for the practice of business analysis and a good place to start. You can also begin learning these skills through online courses, books, podcasts, or blogs. 

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can complete the Entry Certificate in Business Analysis™ (ECBA™). The ECBA covers foundational knowledge according to the BABOK® Guide. It also showcases you have the core knowledge and competencies for the in-demand field of business analysis.

The ECBA should give you the best foundation to progress, even if you don’t plan on becoming a business analyst.

2. Gain Some Practical Experience

Once you’ve got a handle on the basics of business analysis, get a sense of how it’s applied. Nothing beats hands-on experience when it comes to learning and applying business analysis skills.

Look for opportunities to practise business analysis in your current job. Business analysis is everywhere! You could volunteer for a project that involves business analysis or ask your manager for tasks that require analytical skills. This way, you can learn from your colleagues and apply your knowledge in a real setting.

Alternatively, you can volunteer for projects in your community or network. You can also join online platforms that connect aspiring business analysts with real-world clients and projects. 

3. Get Certified

While certification isn’t mandatory, it will definitely help you stand out from the crowd and demonstrate your competence and credibility.

As mentioned, the ECBA is a great place to start. But it’s far from the only business analysis credential out there. There are several certifications available for business analysis professionals, depending on your level of experience and specialization.

Popular certifications include the Certification of Capability in Business Analysis™ (CCBA®) and Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®). Certification in business analysis can open up new opportunities for you, increase your earning potential, and enhance your professional credibility.

4. Network with Other Business Analysts

One of the best ways to learn about the field of business analysis and find career opportunities is to network.

Join local chapters or online communities of practice, attend events and workshops, or participate in forums and discussions. You can also find mentors or coaches who can guide you along your career path and offer valuable advice and feedback.

Building professional networks is valuable at any stage of your career, but it’s especially important when you’re just starting out. A strong network of peers often provides the foundation for a successful career—and business analysis is no exception.

5. Keep Learning and Improving

These days, continuing professional development is a necessity, not an option. Business analysis is constantly evolving, so you'll need to keep up with the latest trends, best practices, and innovations.

You can stay sharp by reading industry publications, taking courses or webinars, or attending conferences and seminars on emerging topics in the field of business analysis. IIBA Members get easy access to all of these (and more!), so consider signing up for membership.

You can also seek feedback from your peers, clients, or managers, and identify areas where you can improve your skills and knowledge. Don’t be shy to reach out to someone for constructive feedback. A helping hand is never far away.


Due to its versatility, business analysis unlocks many different career paths across industries and disciplines. You can become a senior business analyst, a project manager, or a consultant. If you wanted to, you could even start your own business.

You can also specialize in different areas of business analysis, such as cybersecurity analysis and product ownership analysis.

Owing to their unique skill set, business analysis professionals make a positive impact on the organizations and stakeholders they work with. You can help organizations improve their processes, products, and services, and deliver value to their customers. You can also help them avoid risks and save costs by identifying and resolving issues early on.

Ultimately, the path to a rewarding career in business analysis is no different than other professional journeys. It all begins with passion, determination, and ambition—which you’ll have in spades.

IIBA offers a variety of industry-standard business analysis certifications. If you aren’t sure which certification to start with, you can’t go wrong with IIBA’s Entry Certificate in Business Analysis or explore the full suite of professional certifications.     



About the Author:
Isabel Feher-Watters

Isabel Feher-Watters is the Certification Programs Manager at IIBA® and has 20+ years' experience building talent and leadership in the workplace through learning, certification, and credentialing programs and practices. She holds a professional certification as a Certified Association Executive (CAE®), Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP™), and a Change Management Registered Practitioner (CMRP®). Isabel is passionate about learning and professional development in the business analysis community.


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