The job of a business analyst (BA) is to evaluate the different facets of a business and provide solutions or measures on improving productivity and efficiency, thereby increasing a company's profitability as well as ensuring its longevity. This business professional is trained to be a liaison with management, sales, marketing, production, accounting, information technology, human resources and all the other groups that make up an organization.
If you are planning to get a job as a business analyst, there are certain skills that you must possess. It is not enough to say in your cover letter that you are a hard worker and willing to learn. You'll definitely want to be able to show that you have a strong education.
Before, a business analyst's skills could easily fit in any kind of business because the basic principles of analyzing processes in different companies were generally the same. However, as businesses developed and with the advent of computers, different companies now have different requirements as far as business analysis is concerned. A company may need a technical analyst, database analyst, functional analyst or banking analyst depending on their business needs and functions.
Seek training for the skills below if you want to become a business analyst:
- Analytical - A business analyst must be very detail-oriented. He must possess good analytical skills in order to understand the different business functions. Business analysts must know what planning, documentation and evaluation techniques or methodologies to use. He needs investigative skills in order to diagnose business system problems and come up with efficient solutions.
- Communication - Different communication skills like listening, facilitation, interviewing, and writing skills are a must. He should be able to explain both technical and business concepts to a wide audience (technical and non-technical). BAs should be clear, concise and tactful and should possess good negotiation skills. After all, part of their job is to persuade both the leadership of the company and the employees to accept his proposals.
- Business - On the business side, a BA should know strategic planning, business improvement methodologies, case development and business writing.
- Management - A business analyst must be adept at decision-making, time management and organizational skills. He must have a working knowledge of project management techniques and tools.
- Technical - On the technical side, a business analyst should have a working knowledge of computer hardware and software used in his field. If he is on the more technical side of the business, he may be required to know information technology concepts and principles, engineering systems, modeling techniques, technical writing and others.
- Interpersonal - To be able to get the cooperation of all levels of the organization, excellent interpersonal skills are a must. He must be able to work with different personalities and bring them together towards a common goal. Some BAs work in multi-cultural environments therefore, sensitivity and understanding of different work approaches is also important.
There are many skills required to take on the role of a business analyst. If you expect to earn a high salary from this type of job, seek the proper training or education. If you are already working and want to become a professional analyst, there are many different training and consultancy firms offering business analysis seminars. You can take it online or through workshops held at various venues. Colleges and universities offer business analysis as part of their curriculum if you want to major in this subject.
In today's demanding business environment, companies understand the need for a business analyst. A BA can either be an outside consultant or part of the organization. Business analysts are needed to continuously ensure the success of a company through improvements on work processes and procedures; if you choose to pursue this career, don't forget to keep your skills sharp by taking continuing education classes online.