Today more than ever, businesses must operate efficiently to remain competitive in a complex environment. When an organization faces information flow challenges, a business analyst with sharp skills and up-to-date knowledge can quickly analyze the situation, identify the problem and design processes to improve the overall flow of information. Business analyst careers can be exciting and lucrative, and the field is one of the fastest-growing in the country.
Candidates for business analyst jobs can come from many different backgrounds, but they all need essential business skills and the latest training. Many employers look for the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP™) certification by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA™), as well.
Employment Outlook for Business Analyst Jobs
Skilled business analysts should enjoy tremendous job growth in the coming years. In fact, Money magazine and PayScale.com’s report of America’s best jobs for 2009 ranks business analyst in the top 10 of high-growth jobs, with a whopping 29% increase over the next ten years. In addition, a 2008 report on Jobfox.com names business analysis as one of the 20 most recession-proof professions in the country.
Potential Business Analyst Salary
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from May 2009, the average annual salary for computer system analysts, including business analysts, was $80,430. With advanced training and certification, the potential for higher salaries in this field becomes apparent: the BLS data shows that professional computer systems analysts in the 75th percentile earned around $97,200 per year, while the top 10% brought in upwards of $119,170 annually.
With additional training and experience, advancing to senior-level IT management positions is possible, with even higher annual salary potential. PayScale.com records for December 2010 showed that IT managers and project managers had an annual base income in the following ranges:
|Future Careers for Business Analysts||Median Total Pay||75th Percentile|
|Project Manager, IT||$85,206||$103,867|
|Senior Project Manager||$111,464||$129,478|
Professional business analysts perform a crucial role in moving an organization toward efficiency, productivity and profitability. They may work in manufacturing, healthcare, high-tech, financial services or any number of in-demand industries. The primary responsibility of these IT professionals is maintaining the relationship between a business’s operational needs and technology delivery. They typically provide business and data analysis services to a development team.
A business analyst job description usually includes determining the business needs and data requirements of external and internal clients through interviews, consultations, document analysis, surveys, site visits, business process descriptions, and task and workflow analysis. They will then evaluate the information gathered and distinguish between individual wants and actual business needs.
Typically, a business analyst will then start the problem-solving phase, including defining the project scope and objectives, modeling business processes, identifying minimum performance expectations and participating in prototyping solutions to create preliminary user interface scenarios.
Depending on the industry and employer, business analysts may work with users to identify required changes throughout the project; often, they lead efforts related to testing. Other business analyst job duties include communicating required changes to the development team, and assisting in enforcing project schedules and deadlines.
During project execution, a business analyst will likely solicit feedback and apply necessary changes to the project’s scope, as well as maintain standards and manage resources according to the project schedule. Additional job duties for the business analyst include documenting processes, developing relationships at all levels and reporting on project status and results.
Attaining success in a business analyst career takes a broad range of skills. When making presentations or meeting with clients and management, these professionals must exhibit a high degree of confidence – which is usually based in an extensive knowledge of emerging industry practices and significant problem-solving experience.
Education and Training
Education and training requirements for business analyst jobs vary by employer, specific role and industry. It’s possible to enter the field with a two-year degree and relevant experience, but most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree. Some business analyst career professionals go on to earn master’s degrees.
Because business analysis degree programs are not widely available, many professionals earn a degree in a related field – such as information technology or business administration – and pursue specialized training through executive education programs.
In addition, many employers prefer to hire candidates with IIBA™CBAP™ certification, as well. To prepare for industry-recognized CBAP™ certification and develop the critical skills required for business analyst jobs, forward-thinking professionals enroll in continuing professional education – such as the 100% online master certificate programs offered by Villanova University.
Professionals who complete Villanova’s Master Certificate in Business Analysis have the knowledge and skills to:
Each master certificate program consists of three courses. Students receive a handsomely framed certificate of achievement from Villanova University upon completion of each course, and may also earn valuable professional development units (PDUs) and continuing education units (CEUs).
Are You Ready to Accelerate Your Career and Land a Business Analyst Job?
Reigniting your business or IT career is possible through business analysis training. You’ll gain the edge you need to complement your strong communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and understanding of database and system design,. You’ll also be prepared to test for industry-recognized certification – a must for many top positions. Villanova’s business analysis certificate program will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to stand out from the crowd. If you’re ready to pursue the right professional training, you can land the business analyst job that will take your career to new heights!