A business analyst identifies business needs and issues by assessing certain systems. This may include creating or developing new systems, improving processes and strategy planning. A business analyst is normally known as the link between the business and its IT department as they need to come up with technical solutions to help improve the business’s needs. Due to the technical elements of the role, business analysts are required to have a variety of technical and soft skills. As a graduate, you will have acquired some of these technical skills throughout your studying, but there may be some that are unfamiliar and you will therefore have to learn.
Business Analyst skills
Analysing your skills is the first step to take when becoming a business analyst. Ensuring that you have the skills that an employer is looking for is essential when applying for business analyst roles. As mentioned earlier, business analysts have a variety of soft skills, transferable skills and hard skills which are required for the role. These include:
- Analytical and Research skills – Analytical and research skills are essential for business analysts to help them identify and understand the real problems facing a company. Performing research when an issue arises can help business analysts identify which departments to interview to find answers and discuss solutions. Analysing documents and observing procedures are also important tasks a business analyst will have to perform to help them identify solutions.
- Critical thinking and evaluation skills – To have critical thinking skills as a business analyst, they must ensure that they have knowledge on other departments in the business. The decisions they make for the business may have an impact on other departments and it is important that the business analysts understand how these departments depend on each other.
- Problem solving skills – It is clear from business analysts’ responsibilities that they need problem solving skills in order for them to recommend solutions to any issues. Within problem solving, business analysts will also have to possess analytic and creative skills to ensure they analyse as many factors of a problem as they can to recommend the best solutions.
- Written and verbal communication skills – Business analysts are required to attend meetings, interviews and discussions to help understand a company’s requirements. This could either be face to face, through a computer or over the phone, and therefore business analysts must have excellent written and verbal communication skills. Exchanging information, understanding what each department requires and building relationships with stakeholders is essential for business analysts to develop their career.
- Technical skills – Not all technical skills are essential for business analysts, apart from basic tools like Microsoft Office. However, business analysts who want to work within the IT field will have to have some knowledge of programmes and skills such as SQL, Oracle, .NET, C# and more depending on the company and project they are working on. As business analysts work alongside developers and programmers, they therefore do not need to be technologically literate, but it is ideal for them to know some languages to help with developing solutions.
Becoming a Business Analyst
Most business analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree; however, it is possible to work your way up in an organisation to this position if you do not have one. Holding a bachelor’s degree in business administration or other popular degrees such as Computer Science, Accounting, Information Technology, Information Systems and Management Information Systems can help you to become a business analyst.
Having a degree will enable you to secure yourself an entry level position in a business. In order to grow, it is advised to build up work experience and gain certifications as this will help strengthen your position. There are a number of organisations that can help you develop your knowledge in the business analysis field, but some of the globally recognised organisations are:
- The International Institute of Business Analysis
- The Institute of Management Consultants
- The Chartered Institute for IT
If being a business analyst is something you really enjoy, then why not think about studying a master’s degree! Relevant master’s degrees that organisations will look for are:
- Master of Science in Business Analytics
- Master of Science in Information Management
- Master of Business Administration
To get started as a business analyst today, visit UK Business Analyst Jobs to start your search.