Is a Business Analyst Degree Necessary to Become a Business Analyst?

While the lack of proper training and formal education can become a hindrance for someone who wants to enter the arena of business, aspiring business analysts have other options, such as diplomas and certifications.

A common explanation for Business Analytics is review of data by means of statistical and operations assessment. It also refers to developing analytical platforms and using optimization techniques. Results are then communicated to clients, business associates and other stakeholders. The program for a potential Business Analyst deals more with quantitative processes along with data based on evidence for business models and decision-making. As catalysts of change, business analysts identify areas that need to be transformed in a corporate organization.

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Multiple Functions of a Business Analyst

Responsibilities of the analyst depend primarily on the industry and nature of business. However, these can be classified according to the following:

  • Study organizational objectives and concerns.
  • Analyze relevant information.
  • Communicate with employees, managers and other stakeholders.
  • Document all findings.
  • Evaluate the viability of proposed solutions.

This service provider in the field of analytics must define and manage structures to accomplish the wide-ranging targets of analysis, planning and synthesis. Business analysts are expected to be at the forefront of carrying out technology-oriented solutions. The method will be cost-effective and communicated to associates, facilitators and other stakeholders.

Training in the field of business analysis explains the need to manage requirements efficiently which happens to be the main skill of all analysts. This responsibility starts with defining, evaluating, documenting, and administering requirements at the program level. At the same time, these experts in conducting assessments must assume control in the following areas:

  • Render support for business cases
  • Planning and monitoring functions
  • Sorting out requirements
  • Simplifying these prerequisites

If you are in this field, it will also be your principal duty to design and appraise test cases, deal with requests for changes and manage the entire scope of the project. Deliverables vary depending on company expectations. The job may be confined to information technology alone. However, some employers require involvement in operations, marketing, banking, and insurance.

Business Analyst’s Areas of Responsibility

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Senior analysts are expected to engage in more intricate and high-profile assignments. Project difficulty assumes multiple forms. Integrated approaches generate complexity since analysts should monitor new requirements using these unified systems. For example, stakeholders produce a level of complication as a result of different perspectives that you need to consider before coming up with a final solution.

The responsibility becomes more complex due to the introduction of enterprise analysis. This entails helping senior executives to tackle interconnected scheme. If you are a business analyst for information technology matters, most of the work deals with software modifications. There will be new business spheres of influence. Hence, analysts will have been very adept in systems knowledge. Competencies should be expanded to the maximum. Of course, the analyst should be at the helm of business analytics. This will also call for coordination as well as teaching junior analysts in the company. Finally, business analysts must be fully aware of the organization’s operations and assist stakeholders in exploring other technology options.

Proper Education for Business Analysts

It is important to obtain the proper education if you want to become a business analyst. The Bachelor’s of Science degree program in accounting, business administration or finance should provide sufficient theoretical schooling for students. Preliminary courses will depend on your major. Yet, these can also cover investment management, taxation principles or fundamental cost accounting. In addition, certain programs oblige foundation in mathematics, statistics and econometrics. These subjects help in the preparation of students for financial modeling.

In certain instances, students are required to maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) for introductory subjects as pre-requisites for major courses. Successful completion of said pre-conditions will allow you to enroll in advanced classes for taxation, business law and financial accounting. This approach enables learners to gain specialized knowledge in higher-level curriculum. For instance, finance majors can start studying about estate planning modules together with risk management. On the other hand, accounting students can focus on auditing concepts and internal controls.

Internships and Graduate Programs for Business Analysts

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As a rule, students get additional credits for taking part in professional practicum or internship programs. Interns in the field of finance have the prerogative of applying techniques mainly to build a folder of financial assets. It is also an opportunity for you to show expertise in formulating investment strategies. Accounting majors have the chance to acquire on-the-job practice in making analyses of balance sheets and income or revenue statements.

There are corporations that choose to hire analysts who have obtained graduate courses. These can be or Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Finance or Master of Accounting. Graduate students also get added insights in business analysis by way of individual assignments and group projects. In the same manner, advanced modules in financial strategies, mathematical models and investments management sharpen skills of students. These can serve as preparatory training for decision making in financial issues as well as cost assessment. MBA graduate students can enroll in additional courses that deal with organizational behavior and strategic operations. These can give you a better comprehension of managing the business competently.

Other Training Options for Business Analysts

Aside from formal education, there are other ways that can lead one to becoming a successful business analyst. What is important is that you demonstrate extreme competence and build up your career growth opportunities. Earning certification as an IT expert is an essential stepping stone. Or, understanding of vertical markets can be an advantage. The vertical market concentrates on meeting requirements of one particular industry. On the contrary, the horizontal market sells commodities or services in multiple industries. It focuses more on broad segments of business. The single niche can be the development of payroll applications for start-up enterprises.

It is possible to shift to a business analytics profession once you finish a degree in business, accounting, information systems, human resources or related disciplines. You can even get hold of an entry-level position by signing up in a certificate program designed for business analysts. The expertise you obtain is a mode of transitioning to this career. Software developers are also qualified to develop into analysts. Knowledge of data mining and data analysis as well as communications will certainly come in handy. Detailed awareness about the life sequence of software development is also a big plus. Certifications recognized by the industry are important to embarking on this career path.

Prestigious BA Certifications

The next step after completion of formal training programs is to get hold of the highly-valued industry accreditation. The certificate will provide the aspiring analyst an immediate competitive advantage. Some of the highly-regarded certifications include the International Institute of Business Analysis certification test, Certification of Competency in Business Analysis and the Certified Business Analysis professional official recognition.

Other than the distinction, potential employers value these accreditations very much. In fact, said credentials can enhance your chances of securing a desirable position in the corporate world. It will also help if you have the traits of being a diagnostic thinker or talented in coming up with potential solutions for business issues. Continue exploring technology and building your network of contacts. These attributes, along with the possibility of earning your certificate, can only be the beginning of a more exciting career in business analytics.

Skills Acquisition

It really does not follow that earning a degree in Masters of Business Administration will equip you with all the capabilities of emerging as a highly qualified business analyst. This degree will serve as base. Yet, the technical proficiency and explicit business acumen that you need are not endowed by this formal program.

There are additional qualifications that you need:

  • Formidable skills in solving problems, communications and analytical flair.
  • Complete knowledge of J2EE and NET frameworks. J2EE is the acronym for Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition. It is an independent platform (JAVA-centric environment) for the purpose of developing, creating and installing Internet-based enterprise programs. The .NET structure is software from Microsoft that operates on Windows. It consists of the Framework Class Library and supplies language which use code written in different languages across various programming languages.
  • Knowledge in Internet technologies such as Java Script, Hypertext Markup Language or HTML and Active Server Pages will undoubtedly be very useful.
  • Standard Query Language or SQL can also help you. This is a special purpose programming language to manage data stored in Relational Database Management Systems. Unified Modeling Language (UML) and MS Visio are also recommended applications. UML is another general purpose modeling language in software engineering that affords a standard in visualizing systems design. Microsoft Visio is a platform for vector graphics and diagramming.

There are continuous training programs for the business analyst which are designed to help you perform as management consultant who can analyze and propose solutions that create value and produce benefits for the corporate organization. Additional training will also teach the analyst practical skills in analysis of complex business structures.

Outlook for Employment

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The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes information regarding possible opportunities for different categories of business analysts as well as corresponding compensation online. You can check out www.bls.gov on the web from time to time. The classifications range from budget to financial and management analysts.

The average earnings of the entry-level business analyst can start at $45,000 per annum. However, this is expected to increase as you gain more experience and competence. The BLS also disclosed that experienced analysts can earn from $56,000 up to $100,000 annually. Salaries depend on the company, geographical location, educational background, professional qualifications, and other experience. The business analyst is promoted to supervisory level like the Senior Business Analyst after gaining necessary sufficient expertise. You also have the chance to be promoted to a higher position at the administrative level in the organizational hierarchy.

Prospects and Goals

It is time for business analysts to widen cross-functional skills. This is important if you wish to open out your career horizons and look for challenges beyond your comfort zone. Cross-functional curiosity will give you more clout to come up with holistic recommendations for top management. At the same time, the advent of Big Data has transformed many things about the business as well as modified functions of the business analyst.

Business analysts have to study the concept of Data Mining. This is referred to as the technique of analyzing data from various viewpoints before condensing it into valuable information. This data may be utilized by corporate organizations for cost reduction measures or increasing profits. The software for data discovery helps users to look for examples in huge data listings. It is not yet a well-known terminology although the technology has been used by corporate institutions for some time.

Data mining is business intelligence technology which can obtain comprehensive and helpful information from a big population of data. You can use it to unearth unknown trends and prototypes. The product of data mining exercise can assume the form of designs or trends which are embedded in the data. Data mining techniques are classified into two major components. These are model building and clustering.
The first strives to produce an extrapolative model associated with a business question. You can determine how potential customers will be interested in a specific offer. The model can be opaque which means that it is expected to work but the reasons and process cannot be found out accurately. It can also be transparent which implies that you know how the model comes to a specific forecast. Of course, this will depend on the selected method. Both can be acceptable based on the function.

Likewise, analysts will have to know more about information technology to examine and evaluate market research output. There has been constant modernization efforts by IT experts geared towards increasing processing power and disk storage capacity. In fact, software applications make it possible to develop accuracy and lower operational costs. Many companies in the retail, communications, financial and marketing companies make use of data mining nowadays. This program allows entrepreneurs to establish relationships anchored on price, commodity positioning, employee skills, economic indicators, customer demographics, and competition.