Business analysts help businesses evaluate various areas of a company, such as finances or operational efficiency. Most businesses will work with a business analyst at some point, so the job is an important one. However, this career doesn’t require a degree like other business careers.
Do you need a degree to become a business analyst? Business analysts need to prove they can help a business improve and reach various goals. While aspiring business analysts can learn essential skills during a degree program, it’s not necessary. Most clients want to hire a business analyst who has a proven track record. Because of that, hands-on experience is just as important if not more important than a degree.
Whether you have a degree or not, you may be wondering about the life of a business analyst.
Business analysts can work with tons of different companies, and there may be multiple projects going on at once. Degree or not, a business analyst helps a company solve problems to improve various aspects of the business.
Training for Business Analysts
There are many routes you can take when becoming a business analyst. Of course, you can go to school for business or technology, and you can get a job that way. However, college isn’t the only place to train for a career as a business analyst.
- You can participate in a business analyst certification program. These programs will teach you what you need to know, and they’re only a couple of months long.
- Some community colleges offer certificates in business, and these programs can be done in a semester or two.
- Another option is to start offering your services on a freelance basis. You can contact local companies to see if they’re willing to work with you so that you can gain experience.
- You can also contact a business analyst in your area. They can help you find work, and they may even have work for you.
As a business analyst, the best thing you can do to propel your career is gain experience. While formal education and certificate programs can give you credentials, they’re not the same as working on real analysis assignments. If you can’t afford any training, freelancing is a great way to break into the industry with few or no startup costs.
You can also network with people to see if someone you know needs your services. Even if your contacts don’t need a business analyst, someone may know someone who you could work for. Don’t sweat about not having a degree; you can learn more about training options for business analysts here.
The Business Is Your Business
When you start working for a company as a business analyst, it becomes your job to make the business better. Whether they need an analyst for one area or the whole company, you should know the ins and outs of the business. That way, you can come up with solutions to various problems as they arise.
You should learn as much as you can about what the business is, how they make money, and the technology they use. Business analysts often serve as a point of contact between different departments. So even if you’re hired to focus on one part of the business, you should have a basic understanding of the other areas.
The more you know about a business, the more you will be able to anticipate problems. That means it will be easier for you to devise solutions. You won’t have to spend as much time dwelling on a single problem.
It may seem like a waste of time to learn about a business for a short-term contract. However, you need to be efficient with your time so that you can truly help the business. A doctor wouldn’t be as good if they didn’t take time to read a patient’s medical chart, so a business analyst should do the same for companies.
Understand the Tech
Different companies have unique workflows, and that includes which pieces of technology they use. As you acquaint yourself with a business, you should figure out what technology is important. That way, you can learn whatever you don’t already know, so you can help fix IT problems.
- The operating system that a company uses serves as the basis for their technology usage. At the least, you should know how to use both Windows and Mac.
- You should also learn how to use a company’s email client. Be it Outlook, Gmail, or something else. Email is an essential form of communication for almost every company.
- Many companies use Microsoft Office for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. If you don’t use Office already, you should learn as much as you can so that you can use the programs to collaborate with others in the company.
- Consider any other programs that a company uses every day. That can vary depending on the company, but knowing the basics will help you navigate the software to solve problems.
No two companies use the exact same programs, though there are some standards that are common. Learning how to use common software and hardware means you won’t have to spend time on that when you land your first job as a business analyst. If you want to know more about how business analysts use technology, click here.
If You Can’t Communicate
Basic communication skills are essential to almost any job, but they’re especially important for business analysts. In many cases, you’re the person that people will talk to when problems arise or when one department needs to talk to another. Being able to communicate with others can happen in two ways.
You need to talk about complex topics so that others in the business will understand.
You need to take notes efficiently and completely when starting a project.
You need to be able to teach others so that they can remember the information later.
You should be able to write well and organize information as needed.
You need to know what questions to ask stakeholders so that you can understand the problem.
You should be able to convey information so that others can understand it without asking you for clarification.
Odds are you’ll have a tough time landing any job if you can’t communicate well. However, business analysts sometimes have to deal with complex topics that most people can’t understand. That means you need to make those complex topics easy to process, either verbally or in writing.
Change Is Inevitable
While you might be able to land a long-term, full-time job as a business analyst, many analysts take on short-term clients. That means you will probably experience a lot of different projects and businesses in your career. Business analysts need to be flexible and understand that change is bound to happen.
Even if you work with one company for a while, they may have different projects. You may have to work with different departments within the same company, and those departments may have different workflows.
- Freelancing is a common way to start working as a business analyst. However, freelancers might have to take on multiple clients at a time.
- When one contract ends, you’ll have to search to find a new project or company. That means you can’t get too comfortable in one position.
- Flexibility is one of the most important qualities of a business analyst. Switching between different projects can be difficult enough as it is.
“Good business analysts are not content to do the same things the same way every time.” -Bridging the Gap
Business analysts have a tough job, so it makes sense to think they might need special training. However, experience on the job is just as educational as a formal degree. Still, you should know the basics of the job before you set out to make it your career.