How to Start Your Career as a Business Analyst
Starting a career as a business analyst can be a smart move considering the current business landscape. Companies are relying more heavily than ever before on business analysts (BAs) to help them improve critical business processes. Also, because digital transformation is becoming an increasingly high priority for organizations, the need for business analysts is also becoming greater.
Is a Career in Business Analysis Right for You?
Part of the beauty of a career in business analysis is that it appeals to professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds and abilities. Still, there are some traits that almost all BAs share. For example, most business analysts are:
- Comfortable with ambiguity – Something you will soon discover about the business analyst career path is that it isn’t usually clearly defined. In addition to this, there aren’t hard-and-fast educational requirements every BA must possess. While this ambiguity could be a deal-breaker for some people, many of those who pursue a career in business analysis find it exciting.
- Able to communicate clearly – BAs are consistently communicating with clients, and must do so effectively to ensure strategies are completely understood and properly implemented. This is why communication is one of the top soft skills business analysts need.
- Fantastic with problem solving – Business analysts are constantly either solving problems themselves or helping clients solve problems. Because of the nature of a BA’s work, having a mind that is keenly strategic and bent toward problem solving isn’t just helpful, but critical.
If you possess these characteristics, have or are willing to attain an understanding of data models, wireframes, and use cases, and have strong computer skills, it may be time to start your career as a business analyst.
3 Ways to Jump-Start Your Career as a Business Analyst
There is no linear path to becoming a business analyst, but these tips will help you get started:
1. Earn a relevant degree – Degrees that give you a solid foundation as a business analyst include accounting, business administration, and finance. If you haven’t earned a degree yet or have a degree in a totally different field, that will not exclude you from being a stellar BA. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
2. Gain computer-programming knowledge – All business analysts should have a basic understanding of computer-programming and how that can assist with data analysis. These skills will contribute to your future success in a BA role as the profession continues to evolve. These skills can most quickly be attained via IT training and certification.
3. Get some work experience – Getting work experience is key to starting your career as a business analyst. You may need to begin by volunteering with a small company where you will be mentored. Alternatively, you could assume some responsibilities in customer relations in your current job to become more comfortable with a business analyst’s tasks.
4. Pursue a business analyst certification – Investing in a business analyst certification is one of the best ways to start your BA career. These certifications can equip you with advanced skills in project management, business data analytics, predictive analytics, database analytics, and operations research. Business analyst certifications also increase your competitiveness as a job candidate. Also, getting a business analyst certification doesn’t have to be the last step in starting your career. Obtaining a certification is beneficial at any point in your career journey.
Your Career Path Will Be Unique
The tips mentioned above are suggestions, not prerequisites to a career in business analysis. Not every BA earns a degree in a related field, then learns computer programming, then gains work experience, etc. Each business analyst’s path looks different, including yours. The only way you’ll know exactly what yours will look like is to get started today.
To jump-start your business analyst career, learn more about the benefits of IIBA’s entry certificate in business analysis.