🤔 What does a Business Analyst do?
Business analysts are problem solvers with strong analytical skills. They look for ways to increase revenue, reduce costs, or improve efficiency. Then they help implement those changes and measure the results.
💸 Business Analyst salary and job market
💵 Entry Salary
💵 Senior Salary
📈 10-Year Growth
🤖 Automation Risk
🙎 What it's like to be a Business Analyst
Businesses today have metric tons of data—on their customers, their competitors, their market, and themselves. But all that information is worthless if nobody uses it.
Business analysts study that data to find ways the company can operate better and make better decisions.
Here are some of the things business analysts do:
Evaluate business processes for efficiency, cost, and revenue generation
Make recommendations for improvements
Lead the research, design, and implementation of the new processes or technology they recommend
Measure and report the impact of their recommendations
It sounds vague, but that’s because every business and project is so different. If you enjoy problem solving and analysis, being a business analyst can be a very interesting job.
Problems you’ll solve
One of the best ways to understand what someone does is through the questions they answer and problems they solve.
Here are some examples of questions a business analyst might have to answer:
What’s working about the way we do things? Why does it work?
What’s not working about the way we do things? Why isn’t it working?
What new process or technology could save us time or money?
How do I convince senior leadership they should change this?
Here are some examples of real projects a business analyst might have to complete.
You work for a construction company that manages large commercial real estate projects. Recently, several large projects have fallen significantly behind schedule, and the clients are getting very unhappy.
Your boss has asked you to find the cause of the delays and recommend some process changes that will prevent similar delays in the future.
You work for an electronics company that builds large household appliances. The company just purchased new manufacturing equipment, and you’ve been asked to measure the impact of the new equipment on the factory’s productivity.
Tools and tech you’ll use
You’ll analyze and visualize data using programs like Microsoft Excel and Tableau.
You’ll present your findings to decision makers using PowerPoint or Google Slides.
You’ll use task management tools like JIRA and Trello to manage projects once you get the go-ahead to implement something.
Important traits you’ll need
As a business analyst, you need excellent problem solving and critical thinking skills. This is a job where nobody gives you the answers—you have to find them.
Great communication skills are a must. As an analyst, you’ll have to work with people from all parts of the company as you gather and study the data. You’ll then need to present your findings and recommendations to managers and executives and convince them to take action.
Another part of your job will be helping plan and implement the changes you recommend, so project management is another skill you’ll need to develop.
That means coordinating the work of a group of people, keeping things on schedule, being good at conflict resolution.
Business analysts also need solid technical skills for the data analysis they do. Here are a few:
Structured query language (SQL) is the programming language that is used to build databases and then talk to them. At least a basic understanding of SQL will be indispensable.
Data analysis and visualization
You’ll use software like Tableau or Power BI to analyze data, then turn the brilliant insights you have into easy-to-understand graphs, sleek charts, and sexy dashboards.
Where you’ll spend your time
When you aren’t working at your computer, you’ll probably be in meetings—often as the person leading them.
You’ll frequently have to give presentations, either in meetings or to larger groups.
What's awesome about the job
Great visibility and networking—leaders see you and the work you do.
Ownership and autonomy—you’re given a lot of freedom to solve problems the way you think they should be solved.
The work is interesting and varied.
You learn more about your business and industry than almost anyone else.
Your skills are in high demand.
After a few years as a business analyst, you can take your career in a lot of different directions.
What can be not-so-great
Your primary job is change, and many people don’t like change. This means dealing with conflict.
People may be resistant to giving you the information you need.
You’re often the liaison between departments or individuals with competing priorities.
A big part of the job is project management, which can be frustrating and stressful.
🏢 What companies look for in a Business Analyst
Bachelor’s degree is required—business administration, economics, and finance are all common majors.
Many business analysts now get an advanced degree in analytics.
R or Python (not required, but very helpful)