Step-by-Step Plan for Becoming a Business Analyst


This plan will show you exactly how to become a business analyst candidate companies can’t ignore.

It’s based on recent job posts and discussions with hiring managers and business analysts to give you everything you need to land a job as a data analyst.

To become a business analyst, you'll need to get a bachelor's degree, but you can't stop there.

To be a business analyst companies want to hire, you need to have in-demand skills and demonstrate you can use them.

Financial Recommendation

Keep student loan debt below $70,986. This will ensure your student loan debt-to-starting salary ratio is below 1.25x.

Assuming a 6.8% interest rate and 10-year loan repayment, your maximum monthly payment would be $817 or 17% of a starting salary of $56,789.

How to use this plan

To help you build your skills, we’ve included best-in-class education sources and projects throughout the plan.

You can use other sources as well, but the most important thing is that you can apply what you've learned.

Complete steps on this plan to start receiving job opportunities. The more skills and experience you have, the more opportunities you'll receive.

👋  NOTE: StepLadder is currently in beta and the job placement feature is limited to Denver, CO.

However, this plan can still help you become an incredible candidate and you'll have an advantage when we launch in your city.

Career Plan

🎓 Education

As of 2021, you need to get a bachelor's degree to become a business analyst.

We strongly recommend you major in an analytical field—mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, economics, or finance are all good choices.

Some employers will hire business analysts with a marketing or business degree, but the majority prefer one from the list above.

💵  Cost: $35,348 - $172,256

⏳  Time: 4 years

🗃 Hard Skills

Structured query language (SQL) is the programming language used to build and talk to databases. Knowing how to write SQL queries is a critical skill for a business analyst.

It's the key that gives you access to the data you need to do every other part of your job.

💵  Cost: $0 - $175

⏳  Time: 10-22 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

Data visualization allows you to create the reports and dashboards to tell stories with your data. It's one of the most important things you can learn.

There are a variety of data visualization tools on the market, but we recommend getting started with Microsoft PowerBI.

Even if the company you end up working for uses a different analytics platform like Tableau or Google Data Studio, most of the principles are the same, so you'll be able to learn it quickly.

💵  Cost: $85 - $95

⏳  Time: 5-24 hours

Excel is one of the most frequently-mentioned skills in job posts for business analysts. Make sure your knowledge of Excel is advanced and rock-solid.

💵  Cost: $150 - $150

⏳  Time: 18-28 hours

With so much business conducted online, analyzing customer behavior and business performance online is often part of a business analyst's job.

Learning the basics of web analytics now will give you a head start.

💵  Cost:  Free! 

⏳  Time: 0 hours

💼 Experience

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience while doing some good. Here are a few resources you can use to find opportunities.

If you're up for a challenge, gigwork platforms allow you to market yourself and gain experience while getting paid.

When you're just starting out, set your rates low and take any job you can.

Additional Resources

🤝 Networking

These groups are good places to meet other business analysts—to network, learn, and even find job opportunities.

Rank: Unkown 🤔

Create an account to how you stack up as a candidate.

Complete steps on this plan to unlock job opportunities!