How to become a Business Analyst?

Find out how to become a Business Analyst. Find the educational qualifications, skills, personal qualities, short courses and certifications you need to enter and grow in this field. Also find answers to questions like, “Who are Business Analysts?”, Growth prospects for business analysts etc.

Equally useful for freshers and experienced candidates.
Business Analysis is one of highly demanded and highly paid professions of current times because it provides the base for any project to begin. This is a job that needs a human touch and can’t be taken over by machines. So, the prospects are bright even in the future as well.

Let’s discuss the scope of this profession and why you should consider taking up this profession. We’ll also discuss about education, experience, skills& certifications you need to become a Business Analyst.

Who are business analysts and what is their importance in a project?

Now before beginning to work on a project, a company needs to clearly understand its client’s business and its requirements. The person who performs this role and acts as an intermediary between the client and the development team or management is called the Business Analyst.

The role of business analyst doesn’t end after the initial study. It is important throughout the project because any requirements for a change or improvement also go to the development team through them only.

It is based on their analysis that even the costing for a project is done.

The success or failure of a project highly depends on the effectiveness of this guy i.e. your business analyst. So, this is one role that is highly important for any project to begin and finish successfully.

The second thing that we need to understand is:

Why should you consider becoming a Business Analyst?

So see, a lot of jobs have been replaced by machines but this job is a kind of study that needs human intellect & can’t be given to machines.

Secondly, the opportunities for you to grow in your career are no doubt enormous.

And talking about the pay package, it is one of the highly paid jobs in the industry.

Now, the next thing we are going to discuss is - how can you enter the field of Business Analysis?

We just saw the fate of a project to a large extent depends on how good is your business analyst.

This means that the person taking up this profession needs to possess adequate knowledge and experience of the domain they are going to deal with like finance, logistics, Manufacturing, Import exports etc. And along with this, they also need a bit of technical understanding.

There are usually two kinds of professionals you’ll find in this profession:

i.) Technical consultants who gain domain expertise over the years and become Business Analysts

ii.) People with business degrees like MBA who switch to this field.

Now, since one of the prime needs of this profession is to possess a good domain knowledge,  for freshers to make an entry into this profession, they should either be pass outs from some really good management or technical college or they should consider gaining some work experience in their area of study where they can gain some domain knowledge.

What you can also do to move in this career direction is, take up a job, discuss your aspirations with your manager and see if you can somehow assist a Business Analyst in your company in some of their jobs. This will give you an opportunity to get acquainted with the job.

Later on, you can find a project within the same company and move.

While you are assisting a Business Analyst, consider doing some course as well – Online or otherwise. What this course will do is – It will help you learn a lot of things and you’ll be able to see the person you are assisting implement those things in the real world.

There are many companies in which the business analysts are hired internally. A lot of these are the people with just extremely good domain knowledge.

Technical Skills required by Business Analysts

Now, talking about the technical skills required to perform this role – MS Office and Reporting Tools are the two most important things for you to know. Especially MS Word, MS Excel and Power point.

I always suggest all the students to gain the expertise in MS Office during their college time itself. You can learn these tools on your own with the help of free online tutorials. They will be extremely helpful when you go out to look for a job.

Even if you are already working, start mastering these tools if you aspire to move into a business analyst role.

Other than these, you would also need to know to work with some mind mapping, BPM and Reporting tools.

To be in this profession, you don’t need to be a coder but a bit of database and other technical knowledge will come quite useful to you.

If you already have a work experience of some years and want to switch into this role, start exploring these tools. The knowledge will come quite useful.

Some personal qualities that you need to do well in this profession are - Good analytical skills, Effective communication skills, Good documentation and presentation skills. Hone these skills as well.

Now, talking about the educational background and some courses that can help you become and succeed as a Business Analyst:

- As we saw, a section of the professionals in this domain are technical specialist who gradually move into Business Analysis, a technical degree in computer science or IT is quite useful to make an entry into this domain. You can begin as a software developer and make a transition into this role.

- Secondly, an MBA degree also helps you in this profession. But, to make a direct entry you should pass out from a very good college that gives you good domain knowledge else you need to gain some experience before you enter into this field.

Other than this, there are also a lot of institutes offering short courses in Business Analysis. These are available both online and in physical classes. You can join one of these courses to gain knowledge about this field.

It is difficult to recommend a particular course but what I can tell you is before you take up a course it is important to see following three things:

i.) What is the content of the course?
ii.) Are there any practical training?
iii.) What is the reputation of the trainer?

It does not matter whether it is an online course or a physical class. What’s important is the content of the course because ultimately you should be able to do the job from Day 1 otherwise why should the employer hire you.

What these courses do is – they provide you a structured approach to handle the jobs and also set you apart from the crowd.

Professional Certifications for Business Analysts

A lot of professionals also try to earn some professional certificates popular in this field. Again, while these certifications can help you set yourself at a level higher than the other candidates what’s more important is to have the knowledge about your work. These certificates can help only if you have the skills and knowledge to perform the job.

One of the most renowned bodies offering the certifications to Business Analysts is IIBA i.e. International Institute of Business Analysis, which is a global BA certifying body.

They have certifications for candidates at various levels in their career i.e. starting from basic to advance. The eligibility criteria for candidates who can appear for each of these levels of tests are different and this also include show much work experience you have.

The basic level certification from IIBA is ECBA, then you have CCBA for intermediate level and CBAP for advanced level.

The other institutes offering the certification courses to Business Analystsare BCS, IREB and PMI

The factors that decide which certification you can take up include your current employment status, no. of years of experience, what are your future goals etc. The fees structure for each of these certifications is different.

You can go to the websites of these bodies and check which of them is suitable as per your candidature.

While you may begin your career as an entry-level Business Analyst, with experience and training, it’s possible to progress to a more senior position. And, the prospects don’t end here.

Business analyst skills are also critical to success in many different roles, like product management, product ownership, project management, technical leadership, and even upper management roles.

With proven success, you can also advance to a higher role like a director or an executive-level professional and earn that handsome salary you have always dreamt of.