Business AnalystJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Business analysts analyze statistical data to identify effective ways to boost organizational efficiency. They leverage data analytics to assess processes and determine requirements for the delivery of policy recommendations. They provide data-driven insights that improve decision-making capabilities for the company. A business analyst must have strong analytical skills to develop data-focused strategies that add value to an organization’s bottom line. They should be familiar with the company’s processes, services, hardware, software, and products. Good organizational skills and a solid business sense are needed for this role. 

A business analyst should have a strong background in computer science and experience working with database queries, writing stored procedures, and working with data cube technology. A business analyst needs to have excellent communications skills as they often run meetings and give presentations. They must be able to present technical information to stakeholders who may not have technical expertise. Solid decision-making and managerial skills are essential to a business analyst because often the direction of the organization depends on their decisions and ability to handle projects from beginning to end.

Sample job description

Business analysts analyze data to assess and help improve the processes, products, services, and software of an organization. Business analysts need to have excellent verbal and written communication skills and strong interpersonal skills. They are analytical thinkers and have solid problem-solving skills. [Your Company Name] is looking for an experienced business analyst to take our company to new heights. As an ideal candidate, you have experience in data-driven forecasting, budgeting, and financial analysis, and a deep understanding of key performance indicators.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Determine operational objectives by studying business functions, gathering information, and evaluating output requirements and formats
  • Review and analyze data from multiple internal and external sources
  • Communicate analysis results and make recommendations to senior management
  • Validate resource requirements and develop cost estimate models
  • Maintain user confidence and protect operations by keeping information confidential
  • Monitor project progress by tracking activity, resolve problems, publish progress reports, and recommend actions
  • Conduct regular stakeholder meetings to share project progress

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, or engineering; several years of work experience with database queries, stored procedure writing, and data cube technology.

Microsoft Access and/or SQL certifications and International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Certification strongly preferred.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Determine operational objectives by studying business functions, gathering information, and evaluating output requirements and formats
  • Review and analyze data from multiple internal and external sources
  • Communicate analysis results and make recommendations to senior management
  • Validate resource requirements and develop cost estimate models
  • Maintain user confidence and protect operations by keeping information confidential
  • Monitor project progress by tracking activity, resolve problems, publish progress reports, and recommend actions
  • Conduct regular stakeholder meetings to share project progress

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience serving as a Technical Business Analyst or Systems Analyst in a software application development organization
  • Experience with enterprise application development
  • Strong SQL skills to organize and analyze data efficiently
  • 3+ Years of Tech Pseudo Code/ Functional Processes and Analytical Skills

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for Business Analyst is $75,800 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$75,400 $102,000 
Los Angeles, California$85,050 $115,050 
Denver, Colorado$70,900 $95,900 
Washington, DC$86,350 $116,800 
Miami, Florida$70,550 $95,450 
Orlando, Florida$65,100$88,050 
Tampa, Florida$65,750 $88,900
Atlanta, Georgia$68,950 $93,250 
Chicago, Illinois$79,250 $107,250 
Boston, Massachusetts$85,700$115,950 
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$68,300 $92,400 
New York City, New York$90,200 $122,050 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$73,450 $99,400 
Dallas, Texas$71,550 $96,750 
Houston, Texas$70,850 $95,900 
Seattle, Washington$82,450 $111,600 
National Average$64,450 $87,150 

Typical work environment

Business analysts typically work in offices in front of a computer. Most Business analysts work full time during regular business hours. Some Business analysts might be required to travel to attend professional meetings or to recruit employees. 

Typical hours

The typical work hours in an office setting for a Business Analyst are usually from

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many Business Analysts work more than 40 hours per week, and some must travel to meet with clients.

Available certifications

Business analysts are found in almost every type of industry, and many institutions offer certifications that can help enhance their skills. Here are two of the best certifications for business analysts: 

  • Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA). The CCBA, administered by the International Institute of Business Analysis, proves your expertise in business management. The exam tests your knowledge of business analysis planning and monitoring, elicitation and collaboration, requirements life cycle management, strategy analysis, and more. You must recertify every 3 years by earning a minimum of 60 Continuing Development Units (CDUs) from your date of certification.
  • Professional in Business Analysis (PBA). The Project Management Institute offers the PBA for project or program managers who perform business analysis in their roles. The certification program ensures that all certification holders have demonstrated competency in business management. Candidates are assessed on education and experience, testing, and continuing development. To maintain your credential, you must complete 60 professional development units every 3 years.

Career path

While pursuing a bachelor’s degree, students are encouraged to supplement their coursework with technical courses in computer programming and computer science. Business Analysts are a liaison between a company’s core departments and its IT department, and Business Analysts with more technical skills are considered more valuable. In addition, companies often prefer to hire Business Analysts with Microsoft Access and/or SQL certifications, as well as candidates with International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Certification.

Business Analysts work closely with IT departments, product managers, software development teams, and quality assurance (or work within one of those departments), so it’s not uncommon for Business Analysts to cross over into those areas and job titles after a few years in their careers.

Because this is a field that requires some technical skill, it is always recommended that Business Analysts keep up on emerging trends and maintain the latest certifications available to be as marketable and valuable to their company as possible.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 13-1111

2020 Employment907,600
Projected Employment in 20301,032,000
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 14% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift124,400 increase

A recent survey showed 70 percent of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one. Business Analysts facilitate digital transformation in companies by designing the systems to execute those strategies. In addition, many companies are also asking Business Analysts to work on projects beyond software development, so developing skills in data analytics and information security will be key for people entering the Business Analyst profession.

According to the industry publication BA Times, companies are increasingly using the Agile project management methodology. Because of this, many organizations are working to become more flexible and nimble, and Business Analysts will be called upon to facilitate those kinds of tasks.

Soft skills like relationship-building, communication, and critical thinking are also more in-demand for Business Analysts. As companies continue to transition to more modern, digital ways of doing business, it’s more critical for Business Analysts to develop relationships with stakeholders in the company, assist with solving complex transitional problems, and communicate new ideas to people of varied experience levels.

Sample interview questions

  • What is the role of a business analyst in an organization? 
  • What qualities do you have as a business analyst?
  • Which business analysis tools are you familiar with?
  • What is INVEST?
  • How do you stay abreast of the latest business trends and knowledge?
  • What are the main stages of a business project?
  • What is UML and how is it used?
  • What is SRS? What are its key elements?
  • Can you explain the difference between requirements and needs?
  • What is business modeling? What are the business modeling steps?
  • How do you go about initiating a project?
  • What are the essential documents that a business analyst uses? Which documents have you prepared?

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