Business Analyst Job Description

business analyst job descriptionHave you ever met someone who just loves to shatter dreams by “bringing people back to reality”?

Are you normally the self-proclaimed realist in these situations?

There are a lot of words thrown around to describe this type of person. Pessimistic. Bitter. Jaded. These individuals are often pilloried in movies and decried for their brutal honesty in real life. However, the question that needs to be asked here is if dream-killers and critics are mean-spirited or just individuals who missed their calling as business analysts.

If you’re a perfectionist with a knack for finding worst-case scenarios in every situation, then this line of work could very well be suited to your liking.

What Does the Business Analyst Job Entail?

Even with more streamlined processes and changes in place, it’s amazing how minor details can cost companies a veritable fortune. Even worse, these issues often compound themselves when businesses are unable to see the error of their ways. The role of the business analyst is to look for these blind spots while keeping the big picture in mind.

As more of the analyst’s ideas and suggestions are implemented, the organization improves its internal efficiency.

Typical Duties

Benefiting from the use of the IT department’s resources, business analysts make their living by studying businesses and making suggestions that simplify everything for the better. Here’s a quick rundown of what the position typically involves:

1. Technology-Based Solutions– It’s no coincidence that business analysts are typically working with the IT department whenever they’re undertaking a project. When company performance is evaluated and the analyst has provided his or her input, the solution is typically computer-based.

2. Giving Advice– At the end of the day, decision-makers and executives simply want their organizations to accomplish more. Business analysts make that happen through their evaluations. As such, a big part of the job involves explaining these tech-related details to managers, staff members, and other non-technical people.

3. Finding Solutions to the Problem– Whether they’re being asked to address a specific problem or simply testing the system for a problem, analysts are there to help businesses find solutions. This is part of the reason why business analysts are so in-demand.

Areas of Specialization

With your typical candidate boasting an MBA, there’s no question that business analysts have to be qualified on the business side of things. Since the MBA is such a multi-disciplinary degree, however, it does beg the question of whether specialization makes a difference or is even possible.

Programming skills like those students learn while taking courses like Advanced Java Programming or Coding for Entrepreneurs can only help in this regard. In addition, business analysts who develop industry-specific knowledge in an area like Banking often command a higher salary.

Required Skills

Okay. So what types of skills do employers want in their business analysts? The following are the most sought after:

  • Skill with the computer
  • A head for figures
  • Independent workers who self-motivate
  • Flexibility
  • Objectivity and evidence-based reasoning
  • Coolness under pressure
  • Written and verbal communication skills since so much of the job involves explaining technical details to non-technical people (Check out Consulting Skills Series-Communication to find out more)
  • Organizational skills (Time Management With Outlook is worth looking into)
  • Detail-oriented

Average Salary

If’s numbers are anything to go by, Business Analysts make an average of $74,000 per year. With figures ranging from $26,000 for Contract Analysts all the way up to $89,000 for Technical Business Analysts, it’s clear that this is a line of work that pays.

Job Prerequisites

Even if not all employers are looking for Master’s level business credentials, a degree is an absolute necessity. Interestingly enough, however, there’s a certain degree of flexibility there because tech-related degrees aren’t always required. That said, IT-related skills are what employers are really looking for these days.

Are the varied prerequisites a good thing or a bad thing when it comes to business analysis?