How to become a business analyst
Business Analysts (BAs) are crucial cogs in the corporate machine. Business processes are getting increasingly complex and new technologies and methodologies have made their jobs more dynamic than ever before. This means that the need for continuous on the job training is now mandatory and professionals must endlessly adapt and evolve their skill sets.
A lot of this learning is done on the job. As professionals execute their daily routines, they face challenges and in overcoming those obstacles, build new skills and internalise new lessons. But how to start with the whole process? How to get your foot in the door if you want to be a Business Analyst? Here is a simple 4 step guide to help you get started. For detailed job descriptions and qualifications for Business Analyst roles, do check out these other articles, see the article on Job Description and article on Qualifications pages.
Step 1: Know what you want to do
Business Analysts perform a wide variety of roles. Some are generalists who help their employers with many things related to business management, analysis, improvements, etc. While others are specialists who might focus on technology, finance, operations, HR and so on. Knowing where your interests are will help a great deal in determining where you will succeed. If someone has a natural proclivity towards automobiles while also being interested in analytics, they might do well as a BA at an auto manufacturer who works on operational optimisations. Having such special skills will only add to your value as an employee.
Step 2: Get the right education/certifications
Business degrees, while preferred, are not mandatory for Business Analysts. Other technical qualifications can work as well – as long they demonstrate your analytical abilities.
Certifications are increasingly becoming a popular way to demonstrate your role-specific skills and companies seem to prefer them as well. Such certifications reduce the time and effort that the employer must spend on evaluating a candidate. They can be assured that the candidate meets certain basic minimum criteria if he or she has cleared a certification related to their roles. Business Analysts have some choices available in terms of certifications which are specified in the linked article.
Step 3: Learn on the job
Business Analyst roles require more on the job learning than most other contemporary roles. It might make sense to start with an internship or a BA role at a smaller firm before moving up to more specialised roles in larger companies. Such natural progression allows for building a comprehensive understanding of what the job entails and will prepare you for all the curve balls sent your way.
Step 4: Stepping up/broadening your horizons
Business Analysts can eventually specialise or rise to become expert consultants in their fields. For example, being an expert BA in an agile environment or specialising in an industry will undoubtedly increase your value as a potential employee. There are plenty of leadership opportunities as well – leading a team of other BAs in a large organisation, for example.
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