How To Become A Business Analyst
Career Video: Business Analyst
Do you have analytical talents and a desire to work in business? Are you interested in assisting various types of organizations to optimize profits and reduce waste? Do you think you could help organizations to run more efficiently? Does your dream career include a senior-level management position? If your passion lies in business and you have the skills needed to provide valuable insights, then you could advance yourself in a career as a business analyst.
Why Become A Business Analyst
A business analyst acts as a management consultant. They help organizations operate more efficiently. They may be responsible for advising management on a variety of business aspects. This can include finances, policies, personnel, public relations, and more. Once business analysts evaluate an organization’s practices, they will consult management about successful practices and necessary changes. It is also their job to help the organization create solutions to their specific needs.
Business analysts’ roles can be project-based or holistic. They can work solely for one organization. They could also travel to various businesses, working as a contracted consultant. Their work can be team-oriented or independent. Much of a business analyst’s work depends on specialization and industry. If analysts work for the government, their jobs often depend upon agency objectives. Often, contracted business analysts are hired for one project. They typically have to submit a comprehensive bid against other contractors. It is a competitive occupation.
The competitive nature of this job requires many unique talents and traits:
- Effective communicator
- Problem solver
- Understanding of basic business models
- Sound judgment
- Provides clarity
Business Analyst Work Environment
Business analysts work for a variety of industries. Most work for management, scientific, and technical consulting firms. Others may work in finance, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, and various levels of government. A small percentage of business analysts are self-employed.
This occupation requires a significant amount of travel because their jobs are client-oriented. They most likely work in an office environment. Nearly three quarters of all analysts will work more than 40 hours per week. This occupation may be stressful because of tight deadlines and pressure to perform.
Business Analyst Salary
Business analysts make a median annual salary of $80,880. Salaries can range from $45,360 to $148,110. Most salaries depending on industry, geographic location, experience, and education. Those working for the federal government will likely make the most. Those working for local and state governments making the least. Although some jobs may pay based on hourly or project-based commitments, the majority of business analysts work on salary. Most Business Analysts have an expectation of a bonus.
Business Analyst Career Outlook
This occupation is expected to grow 14 percent in the next decade. As organizations look for ways to optimize productivity and cut costs, they will look to hire business analysts for almost every area of operations. The healthcare industry will see the most growth. This is mostly because of the aging population and new federal mandates. Smaller consulting firms that specialize will also see an increase of hiring. This is due to their ability to focus on specified needs. Government agencies are always looking to reduce waste and spending. The job outlook for analysts with the government is strong.
Business Analyst Degree
To become a business analyst, one must complete at least an undergraduate program in a relevant field. Many organizations will seek employees and analysts with a graduate degree. Certification helps but it’s not required.
Step 1: Obtain a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level positions will hire an analyst with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, business, economics, marketing, finance, management, or computer/information sciences. The most common degree is in business administration. This is where students can choose to take courses to help them specialize. Students should take courses that will improve their communication and analytical skills. You should develop a strong understanding of business, law or finance. Whichever industry you choose to work for.
Step 2: Acquire experience. Many organizations prefer analysts and consultants that have work experience in a particular field. With this experience comes more opportunity and higher pay. This work experience will also help analysts become senior partners. This is typically for a non-consulting job. These positions can offer more stability, pay, and benefits.
Step 3: Become certified (optional). Many business analysts choose to become a Certified Management Consultant (CMC). This designation can help earn better paying jobs and land more competitive placements. The Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) provides this certification, and CMCs must recertify every three years.