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Business Analyst Career Guide

How to Become a Business Analyst

Business analysts work with organizations and businesses to help them improve their processes, services, products, and systems. They analyze and translate data to provide actionable plans that improve businesses. Specifically, they focus on problems that relate to employees, consumers, and management. Those with business degrees can find positions as business analysts in a wide variety of industries.

Hand on computer next to notepad - business analyst

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

An account manager is typically a business representative that deals with customers the most. They regularly interact with customers and handle all customer inquiries by addressing concerns and maintaining account transactions and activities.

This is typically a mid-level position within an organization. Most recruiters for this role want to see a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, a related field. If the position is a higher level, they may require you to have an advanced degree, certain certifications, or more years of experience.

Business Analyst Job Description

Business analysts need to understand how to interpret data and use their interpretations to better the business. Specifically, a business analysts’ job responsibilities include: 

  • Gather information about business-related issues 
  • Research business analysis systems
  • Interview employees and observe the problem or process
  • Analyze financial data
  • Report to stakeholders 
  • Analyze cost benefits
  • Train employees on new procedures 
  • Recommend new systems, procedures, or change

Business analysts can work full-time for an organization as a hired employee or as freelance consultants for a third-party employer. They may have multiple clients that require the analyst to travel and work within a tight deadline to meet the needs of each client.

Where Do Business Analysts Work?

Business analysts may work in a variety of industries. Some of the most common areas for business analysts include: 

  • Healthcare: A business analyst working in healthcare will need to understand healthcare administration and create plans to decrease wait time, lower costs, and increase safety measures for both patients and healthcare workers.
  • Information technology (IT): Business analysts who choose to work in IT will need to have a background in computers. They will need to know how to store, retrieve, and manipulate raw data. 
  • Accounting: Business analysts in accounting will need to understand how to interpret financial data and find ways to cut costs, increasing the business’s profit. 
  • Market research: Because business analysts can interpret data, they are especially valuable as market researchers. They can read data to understand market trends and create better products for consumers. 

Business analysts aren’t limited to a single industry. Nearly every business is driven by data and can benefit from hiring a business analyst. 

What Education Does a Business Analyst Need?

Step 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree

A business analyst will likely need to begin with a business bachelor’s degree, and a business management program is a great place to start. In a business management degree program you will get important knowledge and skills surrounding business fundamentals. Finance, accounting, marketing, economics, and more will all likely be covered in a business management program. This will help you build a strong foundation and understanding of business that will be key as you work to help consult and analyze an organization’s performance

Step 2: Gain experience

You’ll want to spend some time working in business to help you be prepared for business analysis. Learning how businesses work, being involved in daily operations and strategy, and more will all help you enhance your capabilities and knowledge. 

Step 3: Earn a master’s degree

You’ll likely want to have advanced education to be successful in business management. An MBA can be a great fit for a business analyst because it will give you additional skills in leadership, communication, and overall strategy. Similarly a master’s degree in data analytics can help you learn additional skills in analyzation, data, and structure. This can be crucial to help you be ready to consult and strategize with organizations about the information they have about customers or users. 

Enrolling in certification courses can help individuals advance their careers and qualify for better-paid entry-level positions. 

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

IT Management – B.S. Business Administration

IT managers are needed in nearly every organization:...

IT managers are needed in nearly every...

IT managers are needed in nearly every organization:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Vice president of risk management
  • Product security incident manager
  • Vice president of technical services
  • CTO and CIO
  • Director of IT

Key competencies of these online courses align with industry needs: management and leadership, networks and security, and information systems management.

Data Analytics – M.S.

Lead businesses with strong analysis skills:...

Lead businesses with strong analysis skills:...

Lead businesses with strong analysis skills:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 22 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,235 per 6-month term.

Master data mining, visualization, and SQL—and lead analytics at the business of your choice.

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What Skills Does a Business Analyst Need?

Business analysts need to be flexible individuals who are action-oriented. They need to have a wide range of skills to work in fast-paced settings and provide effective solutions for difficult problems. Some of the most important skills include: 

  • Analytical thinking: Business analysts will need to tackle complicated data and evaluate information while detecting patterns in databases.
  • Facilitation skills: Business analysts need to be prepared to lead meetings. This skill set includes time management, active listening, and the ability to stay neutral.
  • Cost-benefit analysis: Business analysts need to take a systematic approach to the strengths and weaknesses of businesses.
  • Knowledge of networks and databases: Business analysts need in-depth knowledge of how to interpret and use databases with SQL.
  • Knowledge of business structure: Business analysts provide critiques on business structures and need to understand how their unique industry functions.
  • Stakeholder analysis: To be successful, business analysts must determine how to involve and communicate with stakeholder groups. 

Business analysts should seek to improve their leadership and communication skills to make better suggestions to their employers.

How Much Does a Business Analyst Make?


A business analyst’s salary will fluctuate based on the industry, location, and skill level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the lowest 10% make less than $56,510 a year, while the highest 10% earn more than $152,060 a year.  

The breakdown of median annual wages for business analysts is as follows: 

-Information systems: $96,430 

-Company and enterprise management: $96,170

-Computer systems design: $96,040

-Finance and insurance: $94,040

-Government: $82,560 

Business analysts earn higher wages than the median salary for all occupations in the United States. They often work full-time hours, averaging over 40 hours per week.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Data from BLS suggests that business analyst employment is expected to grow by 7% between 2019 and 2029. 

Management analyst jobs are expected to grow 11% by 2029, adding more than 93,000 jobs. Businesses demand management analysts who will watch market trends to ensure that their business is producing the best products on the current market. As businesses become more competitive and more aware of consumer needs, the demand for management analysts will also increase. 

Do I Need a Certification To Become a Business Analyst?


Although business analysts aren’t required to get certifications beyond an MBA, having one or more of the following certifications can make your resume stand out from others. 

Schools such as the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), the International Qualification Board for Business Analysts (IQBBA), the Project Management Institute (PMI), and the International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) offer certifications for business analysts to advance their careers.

In addition, business analysts may benefit from certifications in: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Access, SQL, Google Analytics, Tableau 




Interested in Becoming a Business Analyst?

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