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business analyst career path“When I grow up, I want to be a Business Analyst,” said no one ever.  Unless you’re already in the field or at the end of your Masters in business graduate program, the thought of becoming a business analyst probably hasn’t even entered your thought atmosphere.  The business analyst career path is something that evolves over time but generally the beginnings are all very similar.  A desire for the business field and a usually ambitious foundation are the common denominators.

Becoming a business analyst is no easy feat but for those looking to be successful in creating their own business or becoming a high level executive in a global corporation, starting off as a business analyst can be just the right starting point.

Business Analyst Defined

So what is a business analyst (BA) exactly? As the name suggests, it is a person who analyzes business organizations to create particular solutions to problems confronting the business.  In creating these solutions, the business analyst will bridge the business problems by providing technological solutions.  These business problems can be anything about business systems, for example the model, process, or method. The technology solutions can be the use of technology architecture, tools, or software application. So BAs are required to analyze, transform and ultimately resolve the business problems with the help of technology. 

Business analysts may overlap into roles such as project manager or consultant. When focused on specific systems, the term Business Systems Analyst may be used. A BA does not always work in IT-related projects, as BA skills are often required in marketing and financial roles as well.

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First, a general commonality among business analysts is either a post-secondary education or an already existing career in business.  BAs often have a technical background, whether having worked as a programmer or engineer, or completing a Computer Science degree. Others may move into a BA role from a business role – their status as a subject matter expert and their analytical skills make them suitable for the role.

At the undergraduate level, a growing number of universities and colleges are now starting to offer certifications to become a business analyst.

The International Institute of Business Analysis offers a couple of certifications –

Other certifications currently on offer include –

IIBA is also working to facilitiate development of professional courses by partnering with academic institutions under its Recognition Programs.

Although certifications are not a deal breaker or even what employers are necessarily looking for, business analysts that have specialized skills are always in demand.  The more technical knowledge you have, the better of a candidate you are.  Also, if an area of expertise is related to a specific industry, that can spruce up your desirability. And, certain technical expertise such as knowledge of SQL or Project/Program Management (PRINCE2, PMP) are often asked for, too.

The Business Analyst Role

Once you become a business analyst, the learning curve begins all over again and you are fresh on your journey to becoming a business problem solver.  Business analysis involves matching solutions to specific problems in the following ways:

1) Strategist:

Being a strategist is most beneficial for an organization because business is always changing.  Business analysts are able to analyze what solutions best fit the organization and can advise top level management as to what needs to be done to achieve strategic goals.

2) Architect 

Organizations may need to introduce change to solve business problems which may have been identified by the strategic analysis, referred to above. Business analysts contribute by analyzing objectives, processes and resources, and suggesting ways by which re-design or suggest improvements.

3) Systems Analyst

There is the need to align IT Development with the systems actually running in production for the business. Infusing technological solutions with business analysis is how this type of business analyst works.

Once you figure out you are on a path towards becoming a business analyst, the rewards are great and the experience you will gain of the workings of the business world will be priceless.

If you’re embarking on a business career in New York City, this course is for you!

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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