How to Become a Business Analyst? - A Complete Roadmap

  • 26th Jun, 2023
  • Jay D.
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How to Become a Business Analyst? - A Complete Roadmap

26th Jun, 2023 | Jay D.

  • Business
Business Analyst

There is a lot of hype buzzing around the career path of a business analyst. According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an anticipated 14% growth in demand for business analysts by 2024. Let’s explore the bigger picture behind the profile and the career opportunities of a business analyst in this blog.

According to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), a non-profit professional association, a business analyst serves as an agent for change. Business analysis is a methodical approach to bringing about and managing change in organizations.

Business analysts (BAs) play a vital role across organizational levels, engaging in a wide range of responsibilities, including strategy definition, enterprise architecture development, and assuming leadership positions where they establish goals and criteria for projects and programs or facilitate ongoing enhancements in technology and processes.

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

Business analysts offer a crucial layer of support in modern organizations by aligning business goals with technology solutions. Through careful assessment of current practices, they identify areas of inefficiency that could benefit from process upgrades aimed at enhancing corporate revenue streams.

By gathering key stakeholder perspectives and documenting relevant details comprehensively, these professionals ensure an effective flow of communication between various organizational departments. Capitalizing on their exceptional know-how in data analysis, problem-resolution approaches, and project management competencies enables them to aid companies in making informed decisions that enhance productivity levels while meeting overall strategic objectives.

Prerequisites to Become a Business Analyst

1. Degree & Domain Knowledge

A bachelor's degree or higher is typically a prerequisite for most entry-level business analyst roles. A master's degree is always a plus or even a mandatory requirement, depending on the organization. Domain knowledge, along with relevant experience, also plays a crucial role in becoming a BA.

2. Analytical Skills

BA should possess good analytical skills for understanding customers’ business needs and translating them into application and operational requirements.

3. Negotiation Skills

BA serves as a liaison between developers and users, clients and companies, and management and IT. While working on any client projects, negotiation skills come into frequent use with the goal of achieving a profitable outcome for the company and a working solution for the client.

4. Communication Skills

BA is responsible for maintaining various types of business documentation like Scope of Work (SoW), Business Requirement Document (BRD), Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM), User Stories, System Requirement Specification (SRS), etc. BA needs strong written communication skills for documenting their work. BA should also possess verbal communication skills to influence their teammates, superiors or stakeholders, etc.

5. SQL

BA can leverage their SQL skills to access, retrieve, manipulate, and analyze data. BA also works on entity-relationship (ER) diagrams, which consist of data and its flow, in which basic SQL knowledge is useful.

6. Programming

BA can use programming knowledge to solve complex problems and perform faster data analysis. Specifically, knowledge of R and/or Python is good to have.

7. Data Visualization

The responsibilities of a business analyst (BA) include generating reports and dashboards, analyzing data for forecasting, and making critical business decisions. It’s good to have knowledge of Data Viz tools like Tableau, PowerBI, or QlikView.

Knowledge Areas of Business Analyst

The IIBA's core publication, the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABoK), is one of the standard practises used by BA around the world. It focuses on 6 knowledge areas, as shown in fig 1.

Fig 1: Knowledge areas of BA

1. Business Analysis Planning & Monitoring

This knowledge area sets up the framework for approaching the objectives of a project. The tasks involved in this area produce outputs that are useful as key inputs, guidelines, tools, etc., for other tasks throughout the project.

2. Elicitation & Collaboration

This knowledge area involves communication with the relevant stakeholders to gather the project requirements and facilitate the key findings. Further, collaboration with stakeholders is needed throughout the project for future business analysis activities.

3. Requirements Life Cycle Management

This knowledge area involves managing and maintaining requirements and design information throughout the project lifecycle. It also includes prioritizing requirements and assessing change requests throughout the project.

4. Strategy Analysis

This area of knowledge focuses on determining the optimal approach to utilize enterprise capabilities in order to achieve a specific set of goals and deliverables. This area is related to gap analysis in business in order to maximize business efficiency.

5. Requirements Analysis and Design Definition

This particular field of knowledge encompasses both incremental and iterative business analysis tasks, spanning from the early stages of concept and need exploration to the conversion of requirements into a recommended solution.

6. Solution Evaluation

The main focus of this knowledge area is to eliminate any obstacles or limitations that could hinder the complete achievement of value. It also assesses the performance and value delivered by the solution.

What Does a BA Path Look Like?

As the role of a BA includes bridging the gap between business requirements and technology, it provides career opportunities for its practitioners. The granularity of different BA roles and opportunities is shown in fig 2.

Fig 2: BA Career Path

BA Standard Certification

IIBA offers the most popular business analysis certification in the world. More details can be found in the official link over here.

1. Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)

This certification was introduced by IIBA in 2016. The aim of this certification is to target entry-level aspirants and help them understand the process of business analysis. The primary focus lies on requirements analysis, modeling, and management of requirements throughout their life cycle, with significant emphasis placed on modeling concepts and tools.

2. Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA)

The CCBA certification is designed for business analysts with at least 2-3 years of experience in business analysis, providing them with an opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills at a level two accreditation. It is highly valued in the BA industry as it emphasizes work experience, personal development, and competencies of the professionals.

3. Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

CBAP certification is a level three business analysis certification for business analysts who have an experience of more than 5 years in business analysis. It explores in depth real-time life scenarios involving business analysis tasks, techniques, planning, and execution. Business professionals with CBAP certification can handle competencies in all phases of business analysis roles.

Job Outlook of Business Analyst in 2023

As we move further into an era where decisively actionable intel is gleaned from huge datasets, organizations across various sectors now realize how valuable skilled business analysts are becoming. Efficiently capturing and sifting through massive volumes of data has become a pivotal pillar in paving the way towards strategic growth and an integral reason why analysts are now in high demand.

The job outlook for business analysts is promising, with growth projections exceeding the national average. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), business analysts and related roles, such as operations research analysts and market research analysts, are expected to experience significant growth rates ranging from 22% to 25% by 2030. These positions offer opportunities to leverage data analysis skills in diverse sectors, ranging from improving internal operations to driving sales strategies.

The versatility of business analyst skills is another advantage for aspiring professionals in this field. While the BLS doesn't have a specific "business analyst" category, the skill set is transferable across various job titles and industries. Whether it's market analysis, operations research, or budget and management analysis, the ability to collect, analyze, and present data effectively opens doors to various career paths.

In this age of big data, companies crave valuable insights from skilled professionals who can make sense of complex information puzzles. Consequently, we see more firms seeking out well-rounded talents as they explore growth opportunities or pivot strategies.

Business analysts looking to thrive in this environment must strengthen their foundational knowledge in analytical skills while developing strong strategic thinking capabilities and mastering data interpretation.

Key Takeaways

BA as a career opportunity offers the following benefits in its role with time and technology. BA does offer a flexible profile to its practitioners in terms of working with areas of both business and technology. BA as a profession encourages us to stay aligned with emerging technologies and trends.

A business analyst's profile also enhances the soft skills of the practitioner over time. To conclude BA are active participants in understanding project bidding, client correspondence, team dynamics, change management, procurement process, etc.

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