The Business Analyst Training Path

A career in business analysis offers diversity, variety and exciting opportunities to work within different industries and departments. Companies increasingly need help with business analysis, particularly when reviewing costs, internal structures and identifying ways to improve their effectiveness. There has never been a better time to enter the world of business analysis than now. Read on for advice on the best training path for budding analysts and our top tips on finding business analyst jobs.

 How do I get started?

If you are thinking about becoming a business analyst, you will need a combination of relevant qualifications, skills and work experience. As at the time of this writing, there are no dedicated undergraduate degrees for business analysis but there are many related degrees such as Computer Science or Business Management, which have modules that can help you understand and develop your skills in business analysis. A degree that has IT & business management modules is likely to be useful in the BA space too. In addition to this, there are several Masters degrees that have elements of business analysis you can explore.

 Remember to build up your CV

The role and job title of “business analyst” varies enormously between different industries and companies. The most important consideration is to build up your business knowledge and hands-on experience in areas such as IT, project management and process optimization so that prospective employers can see your direct experience as well as your qualifications. You may start out in a more generalized role within IT or business management and once you have built up your experience and reputation, start looking for business analyst jobs. Depending on time constraints, you could also provide some freelance or consultancy work to smaller businesses or charities.

Look for mentors

Strong business analysis skills always come from extensive experience working in the field. When you are ready, spend time networking and identifying possible mentors who have significant business analysis experience. They will be able to offer invaluable advice and support about getting started and finding the right business analysis jobs.

What are the job prospects in Business Analysis?

With the continued rise of the digital age and an increasing reliance on IT systems and technology, a combination of IT knowledge, project management skills and knowledge of business processes will put you in an excellent position to build your business analysis career. Skills needed for business analysis could also be relevant and transferable to project management roles, although there are notable differences. Essentially, this means that there will be plenty of demand for your skill set. Business analyst jobs can be executed under freelance, contract or permanent arrangements, giving you options to suit your lifestyle and needs.

It takes focus, vision and determination to become a Business Analyst. Even when you’ve started working and are building up your experience and reputation, it’s well worth striving for continuous professional improvement by keeping up to date with relevant courses, qualifications, forum discussions, trends and networks. Business analysis is a demanding, varied and exciting area of work and the rewards can be significant. Set yourself a goal for 2014 and get started on the path to becoming a business analyst today.

Contributed by Cheryl Little.