The role of a business analyst is one of those roles that people don’t particularly understand. Everyone has heard of business analysts however if you are one and are asked what you do, your response will likely be met simply with relatively blank nods of approval. One of the reasons that people don’t entirely get the role is that it is an incredibly varied profession. You are likely to even find that what one business analyst does for a living can be entirely different to what another does despite having the same title.
The essential task of any business analyst however is to evaluate an overall structure and subsequently assess how to improve it. This can be the structure of an entire business or simply a portion thereof. Should it be an entire business, the job will consist of analyzing it’s sales and marketing departments, accounting, systems management, labor, data warehousing and even its facilities. Through this activity the business analyst will evaluate the level of efficiency offered by the current structure and if found lacking will suggest alternatives. This is done with the intention of increasing overall business efficiency, stability and of course productivity and corresponding profitability.
There is also the misconception that business analysts work primarily in the IT sector but this is not the case. Though there are many IT business analysts, there are also business analysts working in marketing, accounting and various other financial capacities. The primary reason that this misconception exists is because a very high proportion of business analysts do indeed work in IT but this is solely because this is where there is currently the most demand for their services.
A Career Full of Variety
Business Analysts can of course be found in IT but also in finance, banking, telecommunication, insurance and a wealth of others. The reason that somebody with experience as a business analyst can move between industries so easily is that they generally take a very abstract view of businesses when they are analyzing and evaluating them. Therefore the analysis and evaluation of two completely different companies in completely different industries can essentially require an identical skill set.
Many people choose this career specifically for this reason. Such choice means not only a lot of freedom to move between industries should you find yourself tired of the one that you are currently in but also by being qualified to work in many different industries your career becomes pretty recession proof as you can always hop into an industry that is currently experiencing growth.
There is also the fact that even within an individual industry, the role is by no means fixed. The role is not even pre defined in many situations and in one company a business analyst may primarily be involved in strategy devising and sales planning, while when he goes to work at another company, he may be involved in analyzing the developmental process for example.
Due to the extent of the variation present within this career path, there exist no particular educational requirements to take on the role. However due to the fact that a business analyst is essentially tasked with improving the overall efficiency of a business, some demonstration of an ability to not only do so but to do so better than the existing management is of course required. Therefore many of those that end up working as business analysts enter the role after having acquired a lot of experience in either technical matters such as programming or engineering or within more general business roles.
There are still some qualifications that can be gained and though not a requirement they will definitely increase your chances of obtaining employment as a business analyst. They include but are not limited to the Certified Business Analyst Professional certification offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis. There are also a few consulting companies that offer training courses in this area.
For many years now there has been a surge in positions for analysts of all kinds. Unlike many career paths, the recession has done little if anything to slow this down and may even have done the opposite, as companies are now fully aware of the costs of not maximizing the overall efficiency of their operations.
Should you find yourself in this career, you can expect to earn between 48,000 and 73,000 dollars per annum depending on both the size of the company that you work for and the amount of experience that you have amassed. There are also multiple possible contract vacancies across many industries and therefore freelancing is not only possible but also potentially incredibly lucrative.