The role of a business analyst is a vital one that many companies rely on to find new and innovative ways to improve business processes. As the digital side of business becomes increasingly more important, the role of a business analyst is in greater demand than ever.

This career path can be a great option for people who love problem solving and prefer a role with many different elements and skills required. 

What does a business analyst do?

A business analyst bridges the gap between IT and the business for improved efficiency. Business analysts use data analytics to assess processes, services, and products on the businesses website, and use that data to deliver reports and recommendations to improve those functions.

What qualifications does a business analyst need?

There is no single linear route to becoming a business analysis when it comes to qualifications, but earning a degree in a relevant field is definitely a good starting point. Good degrees for business analysts to have include:

  • Accounting
  • Business administration
  • Economics
  • Computer science

You could choose to enter a career as a business analyst via the workplace, working your way up the ranks as you build your experience. However, you could also choose to get a business analyst certification to get a step ahead when applying to jobs.

Certifications from the International Institute of Business Analysis UK (IIBA) or The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS).

Technical skills required

Bridging the gap between IT and business, a business analyst needs a number of both technical and soft skills in order to be able to communicate efficiently with both sides.

In terms of technical skills, business analysts should be proficient in:

- Data analysis: business analysts work with large volumes of data on a regular basis, which need analysing and processing efficiently. Business analysts should therefore be extremely comfortable with handling data and knowing how to get accurate reports from it.

- Computer science: as the ‘middle-man’ between IT and the business, a business analyst needs to be proficient in computer science so that they can both identify and solve problems.

- Other IT skills: Other IT skills that a business analyst should have include experience in basic operating systems, programming languages, the MS office suite, and a good working knowledge of database programmes such as MS Access and SQL Server.

Soft skills required

As well as needing technical skills, having good ‘soft’ skills is vital for a business analyst - especially because you will be communicating with multiple team members across a project.

  • Good communication: Communication is a vital skill that every business analyst needs. As you’ll be communicating with both the IT department and the client or manager, you need to be able to clearly report back your findings and recommendations in a way that all parties understand.
  • Creativity: Business analysts need to be able to think outside the box to come up with new and innovative solutions for a project.
  • Organisation: Business analysts need to be able to clearly show their workings in order to other project members to be able to execute the resulting recommendations and reports. Being able to consistently and clearly document your work is an essential skill that will serve you well.
  • Excellent time management: This role requires a careful balancing act: you’ll be responsible for analysing and processing data, presenting your findings and recommendations, solving problems, testing, as well as attending meetings to keep all parties informed of your progress. Being able to balance these tasks is essential to ensure you don’t become overwhelmed with your deadlines!

How to jump-start your career as a business analyst

If you have the relevant degree and certification, your next step to really jumpstart your career as a business analyst is to gain some work experience.

If you aren’t at the level where you can land a job at this stage, you could gain some valuable experience by volunteering with a smaller company or even a charity where you can gain experience from others and have an appealing addition for your business analyst resume

Overall, starting a career as a business analyst has no clear path you must follow. The role can be entered from many different avenues, and it’s likely that you will still need to learn even within the role.

If you are just starting to think about careers in this field, first looking into a certification that will give you a solid foundation of the skills you need is a good starting point.

Author's Bio: 

Zac Johnson is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of marketing and branding experience. Be sure to follow his blog and latest writings at