As defined by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), Business analysis is the practice of “enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders”. Business Analysts are the essential change enablers and catalysts that play an important part in implementing a change that addresses an organization’s business goals. As a result, the importance of the business analyst role has increased over time and is becoming a lucrative career option for new entrants as well as mid-level professionals looking for a transition to advance their careers
Considering business analysis is performed at effectively every facet of an organization, every role more or less relates to it in some way or another. There is a strong possibility that you are probably doing some form of business analysis already in your current role, even though your job title does not have any reference to that of a business analysis professional. In case you are looking to move into a full-time position as a business analyst, your past experience will definitely be an advantage in some manner. Regardless of how limited your training has been in business analysis, you still have some experience with it in some form which can serve as the foundation for becoming a full-fledged business analyst.
This article will provide an answer to the fundamental question – How to become a Business Analyst? This is the first question every BA aspirant has or should be having? Let me answer this with a step-by-step road map.
What Responsibilities Does A Business Analyst Perform?
Before you get into understanding the steps on how to become a business analyst, it is of utmost importance to clearly understand the responsibilities carried out by a business analyst. Different organizations have different meanings & understandings of business analysis roles and hence the responsibilities also differ as a result. The responsibilities may also differ based on the type & size of the initiative, the methodology being followed, and various other factors.
Below are some of the primary and standard responsibilities of a business analyst:
- Identify and understand the core business needs which may involve a business problem or an opportunity and recommend solution options.
- Elicit business, stakeholder, solution and transition requirements specific to the solution to be created to address the business need.
- Create requirement documents in the formats as stipulated by the required authorities.
- Communicate requirements to all pertinent stakeholders getting a buy-in from them and ensuring that business & technical team is on the same page. Also, ensuring that there are no gaps and any issues are dealt with by liaising among all stakeholder groups.
- Playing an active part during implementation phase by clarifying any issues/concerns from implementation team and holding discussions with business teams as required.
- Managing the requirements life cycle by maintaining, prioritizing and tracing and assessing any changes to requirements. Ensuring that requirements are accurate, complete and up-to-date.
- Carrying out solution assessment to ensure that the implemented solution features are in line with the requirements and underlying business needs.
- Creating user manuals/guides and fulfilling any training needs for the end users.
Who Can Become A Business Analyst?
Can you become a Business if you are from a non-IT background or if you are a Sales professional or if you are a relationship manager in a Bank? The good news is that you can become a business analyst even if you are not an IT professional. IT industry does not discriminate any background as far as Business Analyst role is concerned.
Why Should You Become A Business Analyst?
A career as a business analyst offers great opportunities and growth prospects. The growth forecasts make it worth your time, with the potential for high salaries at entry-level to draw you in even more.
- LinkedIn Learning ranked Business Analysis as one of the most in-demand hard skills in 2020. It specified that Business Analysis is one of the few hard skills every professional should have, as most roles require some level of business analysis to make decisions.
- As per International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®), the demand for business analysis professionals is expected to rise 14 percent by 2024.
- 14% of job vacancies from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 to 2028.
- According to PayScale, the average business analyst (IT) salary in the United States is $69,984 per year as of September 21, 2021 whereas the average salary stands at around INR 6,05,882 per year in India.
- Here According to Salary.com, the average Business Analyst salary in the United States is $77,995 per year as of September 27, 2021, but the salary range typically falls between $70,041 and $87,137.
- According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for Business Analyst is $77,218 per year in United States as of October, 2021 whereas the average base pay stands at around INR 7,00,000 per year in India.
Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) is an IIBA certification to help you become a business analyst. We are an Endorsed Education Provider (EEP) offer this ECBA certification course to help you meet the eligibility criteria.
You can read many articles on Data Analytics in this Business Analysis blog.
Step By Step Approach To Become a Business Analyst
Here are the steps you need to take to become a Business Analyst. Steps are similar for IT as well as non-IT professionals.
Note: This article is based on my book How to Become a Business Analyst: With Business analysis basics tutorial available on Amazon.
Conduct Skills Gap Analysis
You need to evaluate your skills against the required skills for an entry-level Business Analyst. Which are these skills? We have created a CRAFT framework to map the top 4 skills for becoming a Business Analyst.
You can download this competency evaluation matrix to conduct a skills gap analysis.
Plan to Upgrade your Skills
Once you have completed skills gap analysis, you would know the skills, you need to acquire the skills. Now it’s time to determine the approach, you would like to take to acquire these. What do you need to consider:
- Acquiring the business analysis skills
- Business Acumen: Good understanding of finance, accounting, and core business principles to better comprehend business issues.
- Industry Knowledge: Gaining industry’s business and functional knowledge through different means to analyze business needs better & devise most suited options.
- Requirements Analysis and Modelling: Learning tools & techniques for elicitation, requirements specifications, visual modelling and collaboration.
- Core IT methodologies (IT BA): Understand the various core software development methodologies like Agile, Waterfall, DevOps et al. to adapt business analysis activities within the specific methodology.
- Skills for Hybrid roles (BA cum Tester): Understand the fundamentals of software testing considering business analyst has a big role to play in system testing and user acceptance testing to validate the solution.
- Acquiring the soft skills
- Communication Skills: Strong verbal & written communication and listening skills to communicate effectively with stakeholders.
- Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving Skills: Ability to absorb the core problem and analyze deeply to identify the most fitted solution that deliver the desired value to stakeholders.
- Facilitation & Negotiation Skills: Act as effective facilitators & negotiators to ensure desired participation and avoid/resolve any conflicts among stakeholders.
- Inquisitive and Detail oriented: Natural inquisitiveness to probe all possible aspects and analyze fine details to ensure clarity and completeness of information.
- Getting a Business Analysis certification
Skills Acquisition plan
Your skills acquisition plan must include a certification. The most reputed entry-level Business Analyst certification is IIBA ECBA Certification. You can plan to go for a self-learning approach or an instructor-led training approach. Do keep in mind the gaps in your skills. Your learning approach must include those specific gaps. You can also read about the ECBA Preparation approach.
Timelines: Our experience suggests that you should plan for 100-110 hours of study to achieve your goal. So if you are working or having an extra workload you need to plan accordingly. A 7-10 weeks plan works for most people.
Action time. The next step is obviously to get started and start learning. Focus on learning the concepts first and then apply them to your area of work. That will help you in relating to the concepts better and will also lay the foundation for the interview.
Also, do practice and visualize. For example, Once you have learned use cases, create use cases for your projects/area of work and get it checked. That will give you a lot of confidence.
Communication and presentation skills are also important. If you feel you need to improve in that area, it’s a good time to work on that as well. Join a course.
Basically, you need to put in the effort for all the skills to reach the desired level.
As specified previously, earning a certification can help you acquire & enhance these skills and potentially increase your eligibility for business analyst positions. Below are some highly recognized certifications in the field of business analysis offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) –
- Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) – For Instance, It is for individuals who are planning their career in business analysis and reflects that one has significant knowledge of business analysis concepts and techniques.
- Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA) – It is for BA practitioners with 2-3 years of business analysis experience. So, It certifies that one possesses business analysis capabilities in terms of detailed knowledge and skillset.
- Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) – Since, It is for seasoned BA professionals with 5+ years of business analysis experience and is a testimony to the fact that one has extensive know-how, skills and experience in the field of business analysis and is well equipped to work on most complex business initiatives.
Moreover, attaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree or any other form of advanced education not only helps in acquiring some essential skills. It also helps meet the mandatory eligibility criterion of business analysis openings. Since, Bachelor’s degree in fields like finance, computer science, information management, or a similar field. For instance, It can prepare you for business analysis-specific job openings. So, A Master’s degree in business administration, computer science, information management, or a similar field could help enhance your skills & knowledge, and give you a competitive advantage in the job market.
Work On Projects to Gain Practical Business Analysis Skills
While you are in process of acquiring skills or have already put in the best of your efforts. There is no better way to apply the learnings and even enhance the acquired skills than working on a practical project initiative. If you are already a working professional, try in order to explore the possibilities of gaining useful experience by performing a business analysis role or assisting a full-fledged business analyst. hence, As you work on a real project, you are learning and practicing essential soft skills and hard skills that are required to perform business analysis in an effective manner.
Reshape Your Resume
Resumes are windows to you and your personality. Make it count. An employer looks at the resume first in order to evaluate you. A good resume will help you in getting shortlisted for the interviews.
What Should Your Resume Include?
- Business analysis core skills (Refer to step 3)
- Customer management/handling skills
- Problem solving skills
- Instances/projects where you have used these skills
Build your LinkedIn profile as well. Employers look at your LinkedIn profile these days. Why should you have a LinkedIn profile?
Don’t forget to provide the link for your LinkedIn profile in your resume. Upload your resume to the job sites and start applying.
Prepare For The Interviews
In the software industry, we use the term Dry Run. A dry run is used to refer to trials before the actual go-live day. You should also use a dry run of interviews. Use a couple of interviews as dry runs. Use the experience to assess your preparedness.
I always used these strategies while searching for jobs. Believe me, it is very effective to prepare you for your best day.
All the best for your Business Analyst journey.
We are an Information Technology certifications training Organization for professionals. It offers internationally recognized certifications in the fields of Project Management and Business Analysis. It is a premier Authorized training partner (ATP) of Project Management Institute (PMI), USA and a premier Endorsed Education Provider (EEP) of International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), Canada.