So you want to be a business analyst

So you want to be a business analyst

Business analysts act as a bridge between technology specialists and the wider business, and as employers become increasingly reliant on technology, demand for such positions is growing.

But what experience and skills are necessary to excel in this role, and what day-to-day tasks are typical for a business analyst?

What is a business analyst?

A business analyst assesses technical system designs, business models, and strategic business requirements. They must also identify stakeholder needs and coordinate communication between functions.

They play a key role in fulfilling business needs using the available technical capabilities.

What responsibilities are typical?

These will vary depending on the focus of the business analysis or individual project being worked on, but can include:

  • Developing a clear understanding of all existing data requirements
  • Running specific analysis projects
  • Supporting initiatives to improve reporting quality
  • Working with stakeholders at all levels as defined by the individual project
  • Improving the quality of the products and services delivered by technology
  • Assisting with integration and acceptance testing
  • Supporting the development of training and implementation material
  • Providing support during and post implementation
  • Acting as a “translator” between the business and technology
  • Developing project plans and providing project management assistance

What technical expertise is required?

Strong knowledge of business analysis is necessary, including knowledge of appropriate analysis or modelling tools. Proven experience working in a similar industry or environment is also highly preferred. 

The ability to use systems analysis applications, such as SQL and desktop data analysis tools, are also ideal. Experience managing stakeholders at all levels is extremely important as well. 

What personal qualities are required?

Excellent interpersonal and communication skills – written and verbal – are fundamental to success as a business analyst, including the ability to adapt message to different audiences. You should be a creative thinker who can provide alternatives to existing or proposed solutions.

You should also be proactive, dynamic and have the desire to make a difference, coupled with strong business knowledge. As a business analyst, you must be able to notice the details but also take a big picture approach.

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