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    Business Analyst Role, JD, Skills, Salary, Certifications, Training

    Image of LN Mishra, CBAP, CBDA, AAC & CCA
    LN Mishra, CBAP, CBDA, AAC & CCA

    Everything one would like to know about Business Analyst Profession - Business Analyst Job description, Skills, Salary, Certifications

    Business analysts are mainly efficient in bridging the gap between business and IT using data analytics for process assessment, determining requirements, and delivering data-driven recommendations and reports to the business executives and stakeholders.

    Business Analysts interact with both users and business leaders to understand how data-driven changes take effect, to process how products, services, software, and hardware can improve efficiencies and add value. They must articulate those ideas but also keep in mind technological feasibility and financial and functional efficiency. Depending on the role, and company interests, you might work with data sets to improve products, hardware, tools, software, services, or process.

    According to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), a nonprofit professional association, a business analyst is “an agent of change.” It states, “business analysis is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits.”

    BA JOB DESCRIPTION

    Business analysis has been identified as a key discipline in organizations across the globe. Business analysts enable the enterprise to articulate its needs, the rationale for change, and to design and describe solutions that deliver value. Business analysis can be performed in a project or across the enterprise. It is used to understand the current state, define the future state and determine activities required for the transition.

    International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) defines business analysis as the practice of enabling change in an organization, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.

    According to Wikipedia, business analysis is a research discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems. Solutions often include a software-systems development component, but may also consist of process improvement, organizational change or strategic planning and policy development. The person who carries out this task is called a business analyst or BA.

    A business analyst is a role where one can contribute to an organization’s strategy, its offerings, its revenue, and its margin. It offers a great opportunity to interact with many stakeholders, develop innovative solutions, and improve existing solutions. Business analysts work as a bridge between business stakeholders and technology architects.

    "Business analysts help guide businesses in improving processes, products, services, and software through data analysis. These agile workers straddle the line between IT and the business to help bridge the gap and improve efficiency." According to CIO.com.

    A Business Analyst is an important part of any project team. Acting as the key interface between the users and the project manager they gather information, document processes, and confirm the final documents with users.

    Key Responsibilities

    The definition of business analysis allows for many different approaches to the role. Although the role of a Business Analyst will vary dramatically from industry to industry and from company to company, some key roles a business analyst performs remain the same.

    To be a good business analyst, one must have a clear-cut idea of what is required of them regarding their roles and responsibilities. One primary job of the business analyst is to locate business opportunities and inefficiencies and provide recommendations (principally through implementing IT and technological solutions).

    Some of the core responsibilities of a business analyst, irrespective of their industry are-

    • Understand the problems and goals of the enterprise
    • Analyze needs and solution
    • Devise change strategies
    • Drive change
    • Facilitate stakeholder collaboration

    Validating and elaborating business requirements are at the core of a business analyst’s role. Requirements management is one of the core skills a business analyst is expected to possess. Managing requirements both at the project level and organization level are vital in fulfilling business needs.

    Business analysts take lead in the following key activities:

    • Assisting with evaluating the business case for the proposed change
    • Planning and monitoring
    • Eliciting requirements
    • Requirements organization
    • Defining Risk Factors
    • Translating and simplifying requirements
    • Requirements management and communication
    • Requirements analysis
    • Supporting the UAT process

    Skilled business analysts also use requirements to drive the design or review of test cases, process change requests, and manage a project’s scope, acceptance, installation, and deployment.

    One of the main responsibilities of Business Analysts is creating new business models that support business decisions. This is done by working with financial reporting and IT teams, to establish initiatives and strategies to improve importing and to optimize costs. Victoria Cupet, an instructor at the Adaptive US says “You’ll need a strong understanding of regulatory and reporting requirements, plenty of experience in forecasting, budgeting and financial analysis combined with the understanding of key performance indicators,” regarding BA job skills.

    According to Peter Johnson a business analyst job description typically includes:

    Outlining opportunities, problems, and solutions for a business by creating a detailed business analysis,

    • Forecasting and budgeting.
    • Monitoring and planning.
    • Variance analysis
    • Price estimation
    • Reporting
    • Defining and outlining business requirements and reporting them back to stakeholders

    Lora McCoy, the regional Director for IBA Central Americas Chapter and an instructor at the Adaptive US says “Identifying and then prioritizing technical and functional requirements tops the business analyst's list of responsibilities.

    “Elicitation of requirements and then using those requirements to get IT on board and making them understand what the client really wants is one of the biggest responsibilities for Business Analysts. They have to think and work as a product owner, even though the business is the product owner,” Lora says.

    L N Mishra, Co-founder and Lead Instructor at Adaptive US says “Business Analysts need to ask: How to get everyone to agree on an idea and its implementation process, what should be the uses of the systems and their working method, who do we need to get reviews and feedback from, The BA’s life revolves around defining requirements and prioritizing requirements and getting feedback and approval on requirements.”

    As companies have started relying more on data to advise business operations the role of a business analyst is constantly evolving and changing. From dealing with outdated legacy systems, changing technologies, broken processes, poor client or customer satisfaction, or siloed large organizations the roles or Business Analysts change from company to company.

    Finding Success in 2021 as a Business Analyst

    Business analysts have a huge role in solving today’s business problems with technological solutions. Most business models and processes have been rendered inefficient by the new norm; hence analysts will have to resolve business problems and transform business models through technology architecture and software application. As they help businesses improve their products through data analysis, business analysts will have to become more innovative and creative.

    The following are ways a business analyst can oversee success in 2021:

    1. Embrace remote working.

    Remote working models have become part of the new norm since the outbreak of the pandemic. As we navigate across 2021, BA will also be working from home. However, employees need to develop adequate infrastructures to smooth the transition from the in-office working environment to working from home. Though there are challenges, it is advantageous as there is extra time gained from the time one could have used in traveling. Apart from allowing workers to have a better work-life balance, remote working increases productivity, save money and resources, and creates no room for office distractions.

    2. Go for in-service training or get new certifications.

    In-service training or additional skill certifications let workers gain skills while not missing a beat. Analysts can get IIBA, ECBA, BA, CBAP, and CCBA certifications. These certifications allow analysts to improve confidence, mentor capacity, management prowess, and decision ability. It can give analysts a one-up on the competition and keep their skills sharp.

    3. Adoption of technology.

    In analyzing business problems and coming up with remedies, analysts will have to engage stakeholders through technological tools such as Zoom, Webex, Go-to-meting, and Go-to-Webinar. These technological platforms will help analysts gather enough feedback in solving problems associated with different business models.

    4. Have a plan.

    It would be best to have a schedule of the day’s tasks and time to be spent. Make the plan known to your team and ensure the team remains updated with your progress. Let your team know when you are out for a break, especially for coffee or lunch. You should ensure that you are available during the stipulated working hours. A proper plan will ensure that you manage your time well

    5. Maintaining work discipline.

    Every business analyst will be required to set up a conducive workplace while working from home. The workstation has to be clean, comfortable, organized, and free from distraction and noise.

    Though the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every sector in 2020, 2021 is a year for game changers to maneuver around and find success in the new norm. Since analysts are also affected by the pandemic, they have to be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy. They should exercise, meditate, pick up hobbies, and stay in touch with family and friends.

    Business Analyst skills 

    The business analyst position requires both soft skills and hard skills. Business analysts should be skilled in analyzing, extracting, and reporting data trends, and be able to share that information with others and also apply it on the business side. As long as they have an understanding of how systems, tools, and products work, Business Analysts can still be skilled without coming from an IT background. Most Business Analysts have a strong IT background and less experience in business and are interested in shifting away from IT to more hybrid roles.

    According to the IIBA these are some of the most important skills and experience for a business analyst:

    • Written and oral communication skills
    • Consultative and interpersonal skills
    • Facilitation skills
    • Problem Solving and Analytical thinking
    • Being detail-oriented and task accurately
    • Organizational skills
    • Knowledge of the business structure
    • Stakeholder analysis
    • Requirements engineering
    • Costs benefit analysis
    • Processes modeling
    • Understanding of networks, databases, and other technology

    As a business analyst, one must learn how to interact with a sponsor, Domain SME, End users, and all other business-side stakeholders, including suppliers. Business analysts need to have a combination of hard and soft skills. In order to be good at your job, you will need to acquire/hone skills in behavioral aspects.

    Most of the time the technology folks within IT, the external consultants & software vendors, and the business people don't speak the same language. Business Analysts must be able to understand often not-so-eloquently-explained ideas and phrase them in such a way that they can be understood by all the stakeholders.

    Every BA will have a unique blend of interpersonal skills but some soft skills that would be well worth your while to master are

      1. Communication Skill – As BAs, we need to be effective communicators, thus establishing a bridge between the various stakeholders.

      2. Negotiation Skill – Balancing between those demanding requirements of the customer/stakeholder and the internal organization would definitely need a good amount of negotiation skills. Creating a fine balance while looking at the requirements from a holistic point of view will for sure make us a perfect BA.

      3. Facilitation Skill – As a bridge between various stakeholders we need to have excellent facilitation skills to ensure that communication is proper and all the requirements are articulated well and explicitly.

      4. Analytical thinking Skill – Get analytical and problem-solving skills brushed to analyze all the scenarios well and come up with solutions and ensure that there are no conflicts in the team and all the members communicate well with each other.

      5. Problem-solving Skill - A definite skill for all BA, as given in the above point.

      6. Decision-Making Skill – You have come up with multiple options for a particular problem using your analytical skills, now you need to weigh the options well and come up with a decision to present to the steering committee, this is why you need this skill.

      7. Ability to see the bigger picture – This is a very important skill for all of us BA’s out here focusing only on the given set of requirements and not seeing the bigger picture a lot of times leads to a situation where the product does not see the light of the day or gets abandoned. Hence this is one of the very important skills to have, you need to have the good business knowledge and knowledge of technology/business advancements to see a bigger picture and keep it in mind, while the designing of the system is being carried out.

      8. Ability to appreciate and empathize – See the points coming from all stakeholders and the Basis of all requirements and make a good judgment of the same keeping all in mind.

      9. Ability to influence without authority – As BA’s there are numerous meetings we need to spearhead/facilitate, this is where we need to be good to influence senior stakeholders and decision-makers/sponsors of the project.

      10. Good interpersonal skills – Above all skills, we need to have good interpersonal skills and a good rapport with the team and all stakeholders to make the project successful.

    A business analyst needs to be abreast of tools and software concepts to do their job properly. Let us understand the top 10 software concepts and tools for business analysts.

    Software Engineering Methodologies like SDLC e.g. Waterfall, Iterative (Agile/Scrum)

    We should be aware of the concepts related to methodologies like Waterfall and Iterative. Business analysis approaches differ as per SDLCs followed and being knowledgeable on SDLCs helps us to plan our activities better.

    High-Level Technology like DataBase structure, OOP

    As business analysts, we need to have some flair for technology like OOPS, Database concepts. A good understanding of database concepts is a great skill for all business analysts.

    Reporting Tools

    Another great area of interest for a Business Analyst is Reporting tools, BI and reporting mechanisms, etc.

    UML Modeling Tools

    Modeling tools are something like a paintbrush for an artist; we are going to color our canvas with this skill. So get yourself conversant with this tool today if you have not. The popular ones in use in the industry are Rational Rose, Star UML (Free software), and Enterprise Architect.

    BPM Tools

    BPM Tools like MS Visio and BizAgi (free software) are great tools to depict the process map in a visual manner. Visual representations are great ways to communicate the process flow. The beauty of this is it makes the whole process comprehendible in few mins by having a quick look at the process flow diagram.

    Testing Tools

    Testing tools are ultimately going to be the one that is going to make or break the release of the system/application. Business analysts are testers on behalf of most stakeholders and sponsors for the application to see the light of the day.

    Requirements Management Tools

    As business analysts, we are going to be the owner of the requirements of the applications/projects that we are part of. A few popular requirements management tools in the market are OSRMT – Open source Requirements management tool, DOORS, Rational Requisite Pro.

    Mind mapping

    As business analysts, we are expected to explore details about a particular situation or solution. A mind map is a very helpful technique to elaborate on any concept.

    Prototyping tools

    Prototypes are great ways to evaluate and collect feedback on requirements and features. Prototyping tools such as Pencil, iRise, SmartDraw are few popular prototyping tools. Of which Pencil is a free plugin, whereas iRise and SmartDraw are licensed products.

    MS Office

    Last but not the least, it may sound very generic, however as business analysts at any point in time we will have to be fairly proficient on the MS office tools like MS Excel, MS Word, and MS PowerPoint. These office tools are going to be handy for all our life, hence definitely worth investing some good time with these tools.

    Keeping one abreast of upcoming technologies, trends, and practices in the area of interest or domain is going to keep one in demand.

    Business Analyst Deliverables:

    A deliverable is any unique and verifiable work product or service that a party has agreed to deliver.

    The specific job deliverables of a business analyst vary according to the employer’s needs. Some may be limited to IT-related projects only, while others may be involved in areas such as finance or accounting, marketing, or operations. Business analyst training online can be beneficial to professionals currently in banking, insurance, information technology, telecommunications, and marketing – since the essential skills and business knowledge required for success in any of these fields can facilitate understanding of an employers’ needs.

    Some key business analyst deliverables are-
    • Business Case
    • Business Analysis Plan
    • Business Requirements Specification
    • Functional Specifications using User stories / Use cases
    • Non-Functional Specifications
    • Traceability matrices

    Digital Business Analysis Skills

    “You are alive till you are learning” Anonymous quote.

    Business Analysis as a profession has been growing in demand over the years. It has evolved over the years, so business analysts need to acquire new skills to stay relevant. To stay relevant in today’s competitive market conditions, one must keep learning every day. Digital technologies are impacting businesses in all sectors – be it retail, financial services, health care, or manufacturing.

    For business analysts, digital transformation isn’t just a buzzword. Business analysts should be at the forefront to advise senior management and help in implementing the right approach in this transformational journey. As digitalization is a new initiative, it is bound to have challenges. Traditional BA skills in application development may not be sufficient for digitalization. In the age of digitization, the need will be for key 5 digital technologies, such as Cloud, Internet of Things, Social media, Mobility, and Artificial intelligence.

    Cloud technologies have matured over the years. Business analysts should explore opportunities to reduce hardware and maintenance costs by leveraging cloud technologies.

    IoT is bound to disrupt many industries. Designing real-time systems require knowledge of hardware interfaces and working with signals than data.

    Social media now has a large following and allows organizations to reach out to target customers. Business analysts must understand and leverage social media's ability to influence customer behavior. Digital marketing skills will be a very valuable skill for business analysts.

    Consumers consume more and more content on mobile. Mobile devices have the advantage of being location context-aware, allowing organizations to provide location-specific inputs to customers. Mobile designing skill is quite different from designing traditional PC applications.

    Artificial intelligence technologies such as image recognition, Robotic process automation, and intelligent chatbots can help businesses to improve their quality and productivity significantly. Business analysts must be trained and proficient in analytics tools and techniques to take advantage of improved data capture ability by organizations.

    Must-Have Soft Skills for a Business Analyst

    Hard skills will get you a job but soft skills will take you to the top!!

    Soft skills typically don't come on the top skills people wish to acquire/learn but are equally essential for a professional to grow up in his career.

    As we all know, a Business Analyst is someone who analyzes an organization and designs its processes and systems, assessing the business model and its integration with technology to achieve a certain objective.

    Business Analysts typically talk to the stakeholders, get the requirements, document the requirements, get the development team’s nod on the same, negotiate with both the parties for the requirements to sign off, get the requirements to sign off from the stakeholder/sponsor.

    This for sure calls for a good amount of ability to communicate effectively, the ability to convince/influence without authority, negotiate, etc.

    Here is a good list of skills you need to acquire/hone over the years to be a better Business Analyst professional:

    Keeping one abreast of upcoming technologies, trends, and practices in the area of interest or domain is going to keep one in demand.

    Business Analyst Qualifications

    According to IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge v3.0 (BABoK®), business analysis is the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. Business analysts, therefore, understand the problems and goals of an enterprise, analyze needs and solutions, devise change strategies, drive change, collaborate with stakeholders and also advise organizations on improving efficiency, finances, and various other aspects of the business.

    While entering the field of business analysis, a broad understanding of businesses and specific knowledge of business processes is desirable. A good understanding of technology and business will enable a business analyst to be successful in his/her career as the role involves a lot of interaction with the business side as well as the technical side.

    When it comes to business analyst qualification, a bachelor’s degree is desirable. Organizations may prefer candidates in business administration or related degrees for entry-level positions, but it is not really mandatory. A bachelor’s degree in business administration includes knowledge in communication, accounting, business, law, and other specialized streams. Occasionally employers also prefer candidates with a Master’s degree.

    The most popular route into business analysis without a degree is to transfer from a role in a related field. Many successful BA’s have started their careers in any department of the organization like - business management, human resources, information technology, or related fields and gain work experience. Once they have gained enough professional experience, candidates can apply for entry-level positions as business analysts.

    Along with a degree and experience, getting a Business Analyst certification carries a lot of weight with organizations and also helps the candidate to acquire the requisite knowledge and meet their professional goal. Certification can improve overall performance, remove uncertainty and widen market opportunities. A certified business analyst has a broader perspective of the BA techniques and approaches. It also shows commitment, as preparing for these certifications and clearing the exam is not an easy task. Organizations also recognize individuals for the hard work and commitment which the candidate has put into it.

    How Much Business Analysts Earn

    LinkedIn ranks Business Analysis as the top sixth hard skill companies need most from employees. This data was sourced from LinkedIn's network of over 660+ million professionals and 20+ million jobs to reveal the most in-demand soft and hard skills. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, business analysts' employment opportunities are expected to grow to 14% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The practice of business analysis is a highly flexible field as the work Business Analysts do is very diverse. With the increasing demand for senior and entry-level jobs, business analysis is growing exponentially. Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, Infosys, HCL Technologies, Capgemini, Accenture, EY, and Deloitte are major companies with good business analysts' salary packages. As companies continue to get more data-focused, this career path will continue to grow as Business Analysts are essential to guide companies to make the best decisions possible.

    Business analysis salary is determined by various factors such as location, qualification, experience level, and job specialization. For example, Business Analysts' average salary in the Asian region is not as high as the average salary in North America. Analysts in the UK who specialize in data processing may receive better compensation. Compensation also depends on the company you are working for. Many prominent analytics companies specializing in Risk and Market Analytics profiles usually tend to pay higher entry-level salaries. Even though many consulting and services firms might pay you a lower Business Analystsic compensation, they make it up by offering a lucrative bonus at the end of the year.

    IIBA conducted its annual salary survey for the year 2020 with 5491 participants from across 129 countries. The main factors that were considered when conducting the study were age, education, employment experience, salary, career development, certification, business analysis maturity level, agile approaches, digital transformation, and cybersecurity. It reported that there had been an active growth in agile, product ownership, data analytics, digital, cybersecurity, and other areas of work that come under the practice of business analysis. The survey reports a global average salary of $72,228 for women and $66,305 for men, with the global pay for women being 9% more than men's salary.

    The majority of respondents were under the age bracket of 25-35 years, with 40% being female, 59% being male, and 1% non-binary. 40% of respondents held a bachelor's degree, 35% had a master's degree, and the rest held associate degrees, with only 2% having a Ph.D.

    Image showing certification benefits recorded from IIBA Salary Survey 2020
    With the age bracket of respondents leaning on the younger side, around 80% were employed as full-time business analysts. A majority of 46% with 2-10 years of work experience were hired. Countries like the USA, Australia, and the United Kingdom having a high average salary package ($94,343), mostly employed Business Analysts with a minimum work experience of 10.5 years.

    Career opportunities as a business analyst are plenty, with some major specializations like data analyst, information security, IT, quantitative analysis. Hence, Business Analysts have a lot of employment options making business analysis one of the most sought-after jobs. Almost 80% of the global survey respondents worked in the private sector, while others were divided among education, government, and non-profit organizations. The top industries that hired business analysts were IT, healthcare, banking, and transportation, with all these sectors providing a global pay average of $82,100.

    IIBA Salary Survey 2020

    Worldwide salary data


    Worldwide average salary ranges for business analysts based on experience:
      • Entry Level: $40,000 to $70,000
      • Mid-Career: $55,000 to $95,000
      • Experienced: $70,000 - $150,000

    The average salary comparison of Business Analysts by countries:

    Salary-survey-2018
    Let us have an in-depth look at regional salary and benefits of Business Analysts USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK, that have higher average salaries compared to other countries:

    USA:

    The United States has an average BA salary of $104,502 (in US dollars USD)

    Average salary by gender: Women - $102,979 USD, Men - $107,210 USD.

    Average salary by education level: Bachelor’s degree - $101,135 to $101,729 USD, Master’s degree - $105,729 to $109,317 USD

    Business Analysts who hold a certification have a higher paygrade of $121,364 to $124,096 USD.

    In the USA, Business Analysts are working mostly in finance, consultation, pharmaceutical, and IT industries. Business Analysts working for consultation/professional services earn around $146,982, which is 41% more than the country's average salary.

    CANADA:

    Canada has an average BA salary of $108,090 CAD (in Canadian dollars CAD)

    Average salary by gender: Women - $97,620 CAD, Men - $115,520 CAD

    Average salary by education level: Bachelor’s degree - $85,517 to $91,643 CAD, Master’s degree- $102,637 to $110,402 CAD.

    Business Analysts who hold a certification have a higher pay grade of $87,886 to $115,665 CAD

    In Canada, Business Analysts are in most demand in the banking sector. The top-paying industries are energy and utilities and healthcare. Business Analysts working in the energy and utility industry earn around $153,693 CAD, 42% more than the country's average salary. Around 54% of Business Analysts are interested in moving to product owner analysis roles. 70% of Business Analysts in Canada work for the private sector.

    AUSTRALIA:

    Australia has an average BA salary of $137,681 (in Australian AUD)

    Average salary by gender: Women - $137,668 AUD, Men - $139,274 AUD

    Average salary by education level: Bachelor’s degree - $127,321 to $129,263 AUD, Master’s degree - $133,611 to $148,146 AUD

    Business Analysts who hold a certification have a higher paygrade of $102,225 to $138,319 AUD

    In Australia, Business Analysts working for the information technology field, finance, and government sector have a challenging position due to strong job growth and high demand in these fields. Analysts working in the government sector earn around $160,028, which is 16% more than the country's average salary. Around 47% of Business Analysts are interested in moving to product analysis.

    UK:

    United Kingdom had an average BA salary of £74,923 GBP (in British Pounds Sterling)

    Average salary by gender: Women - £66,991 GBP, Men - £80,182 GBP

    Average salary by education level: Bachelor's degree - £68,905 to £70,491 GBP, Master's degree - £64,949 to £97,243 GBP

    Business Analysts who hold a certification have a higher Business Analystsic paygrade of £75,064

    In the UK, the top sectors where the Business Analysts work is insurance, banking, and IT industry. Analysts working for the government sector earn around £129,439 GBP, which is 72% more than the country's average salary. Analysts working for the education sector earn about £85,910 GBP.

    Business Analysts working in the cybersecurity field in all USA, Canada, UK, and Australia mostly specialize in risk management, compliance knowledge, and disaster recovery. Business Analysts in these countries show top problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, and other agile skills. Business Analysts practice agile approaches like Scrum, Scaled Agile, Lean and Kanban, and DevOps.

    Business Analysis as a Profession

    Business analysis is a research discipline used to identify and articulate the need for change in how organizations work and facilitate that change through the most efficient means. The most crucial aspect of a BA's work is to derive requirements from the client's needs and then provide a structured approach to the technical team to work on it. Business Analysis is a multidisciplinary field. Professional titles for business analysis practitioners include business analysts and the following - business systems analyst, systems analyst, process analyst, product manager, product owner, enterprise analyst, business architect, management consultant, business intelligence analyst, data scientist, and more.

    An analyst can work at all organization levels, from defining strategies to creating enterprise architecture to taking a leadership role. Business Analysis is a career that can put you on a High Growth Path Leading to a C Suite Role.

    How business analysis salary has changed over the years

    Over the last decade, due to digitization, there has been immense growth and reformation in businesses, which has rendered the need for robust business models and strategic planning. This resulted in an explosion in demand for business analysts, making them an integral part of every business and organization.

    According to the 2020 survey statistics, the average salary for business analysts in the United States was $82,493, which is 22% less than today's average salary. The average salary of business analysts globally was around $58,000, which is 21% less than today's salary.

    To know about the future of business analysis, we need to understand how business analysts contribute to business performance and economic growth. As humans rely on sophisticated technology to make our lives easier, the need for more complex systems keeps increasing. We are in a technologically driven age where businesses rely on ever-changing industry trends and need Business Analysts to simplify making recurring decisions. For example, without a BA, companies cannot prepare a comprehensive document using which technical teams can implement a feature. Business analysis is a techno-functional job, meaning there are always new business functionalities being learned along with the projects you are working on, making career progression in the field extremely easy compared to other technical jobs like IT or software development. Furthermore, a BA's role requires soft skills and a conscious reciprocation to the business needs in the volatile market, so it has no threat from technological advancement.

    Around 90% of business analyst jobs require nothing more than a bachelor's degree. Even though certifications are not a stated factor in many open positions, getting certified increases employment opportunities like fair remuneration and promotion. Around 60% reaped benefits from earning accreditation within the first six months of working and the rest within a year. IIBA surveys show that Business Analysts who hold at least one certification earn 13% higher than non-certified respondents. IIBA core certifications, like CBAP, CCBA & ECBA, cover foundational knowledge and competencies that business analysts should possess. It is based on individual work experience and skillsets and recognizes career development as you gain work experience and take on more extensive project responsibilities.

    Business Analysis Training and certification

    BA Certification

    To be a distinguished BA and to increase your chances of success, earning a business analyst certification is important. Certification can improve overall performance, remove uncertainty and widen market opportunities. A certified business analyst has a broader perspective of the BA techniques and approaches. It also shows commitment, as preparing for these certifications and clearing the exam is not an easy task. Organizations also recognize individuals for the hard work and commitment which the candidate has put into it. There are a number of industry-recognized certificates aspiring Business Analysts can acquire. Their acceptability, qualification criteria, and fees vary widely.

    IIBA Business Analysis certifications are the most popular business analysis certification in the world. IIBA has been promoting the business analysis profession and certification for more than a decade now.

    The certification space for the BA community has been dominated by IIBA with its certifications ECBA (Basic level), CCBA (intermediate level), CBAP (Advanced level), and AAC (Agile Analysis Certification) each requiring a different level of experience.

    IIBA has been very popular in the corporate world as well as among professionals. Since these certifications have the backing of IIBA and corporate recognition, the job opportunities that it brings in is much higher than others.

    CBAP

    CBAP essentially is meant for business analysts who have 5 + years of business analysis experience. This is the most popular and recognized BA certification in the world. CBAP exam has a case study and scenario questions Based on the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABoK).

    CCBA

    CCBA is for business analysts who have between 2 to 3 years of business analysis experience and is targeted towards business analysts who are performing business analysis independently. CCBA® exam has scenario questions Based on the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABoK).

    ECBA

    In 2016 October, IIBA introduced another interesting certification, ECBA. ECBA is targeted towards professionals who would like to become business analysts, would like to understand the business analysis process, and business analysts who have a very low amount of business analysis experience. ECBA exam has concept questions Based on the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABoK).

    AAC

    The AAC certification recognizes the competencies of BA professionals with 2 to 3 years of experience executing analysis-related work in an agile context. The IIBA-AAC exam is closely aligned to the Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide, version 2 and tests one’s ability to answer questions focused on real-world scenarios.

    If you are looking to be certified, it is highly recommended that you undergo proper training from seasoned BA coaches with proven approaches. This will help increase the chances of passing in the very first attempt and in the shortest possible time. Being trained by experts and seasoned BA coaches not only helps one pass the certification with ease but also helps them be better equipped in business analysis skills and tools.

    Business Analyst Boot camps

    BA boot camps are designed to teach new skills and improve the current skill set, unlike certifications, which are there to prove the skills you already have. Boot camps can be full-fledged, instructor-led courses that run for weeks or months at a time or traditional workshops held over the course of a few days. You can find a boot camp to suit your needs irrespective of your preferred learning style.

    Bootcamp courses are offered both in-person and online. Organizations bring boot camps to the company to run a four-day workshop. Many boot camps are free but depending on the program some might require a subscription fee or a one-time fee. The one-time fee ranges from $100 to $2,500. Bootcamps are designed to give hands-on experience and help you build your resume and portfolio — some even offer career guidance and mentorship.

    Master’s programs

    There are plenty of programs designed to provide a formal business analyst education. The type of degree you go for will depend on what area of BA you want to work in. If you have a business degree or a computer science degree, you might want to look at a master’s in business analysis.

    Business analytics tools and software

    Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, SQL, Tableau, Google Analytics are some software Business Analysts typically rely on, that help Business Analysts collect and sort data, write documents, create graphs, and design visualizations. The types of software and tools you’ll need to use will depend on your job title and what the organization requires. Programming or database skills are not absolutely necessary for a business analyst position, but if you already have these skills, they will be extremely beneficial.

    Role of Business Analysts in Software Development

    As data and software become more valuable to organizations, so do business analysts. Business Analysts use real-time user data and analytics programs to identify user trends, successful functions, and potential user adoption problems with the applications.

    Ann P, co-founder of Adaptive US says “One of the key values in the process of the BA taking on the role of product owner, as the whole line between IT, software development, business, and digital shifts, is that the role becomes more and more exciting.”

    “Given the ever-growing list of responsibilities put on the position, some companies have created product manager positions that work with Business analysts or have teams of Business Analysts reporting to them,” Ann says.

    The expansion of software development has changed the degree and timing of the BA’s involvement with a given development project. A Business Analyst working in a classic waterfall development environment is mostly involved at the front end. After gathering, analyzing, and prioritizing user requirements, before handing those off to developers and then moving on to another software development project. Business analysts working on agile projects generally stay with the project during implementation and through multiple releases.

    Companies often assign Business Analysts to several projects at once if the projects are small enough, or they may assign them a single project if it’s complex. Ann notes that organizations also assign multiple Business Analysts larger software development projects. But IT departments today are not involving their business analysts in all in-house application development projects, Ann says.

    According to L N Mishra, companies normally don’t assign Business Analysts to development work on new classes of applications like mobile marketing apps and apps “because they’re operating very lean or doing DevOps.”

    “It’s all happening very fast in continuous delivery mode, and it’s data-driven and not using lengthy requirement documents. Especially today in the digital-first applications, like digital e-commerce, it’s not the traditional business analyst involved.”

    On the other hand, Business Analysts are always used for the development of core business software products and back-office applications.

    “A lot of those back-office applications are under a lot of regulations, so [companies] need that BA interface to document processes and ensure compliance,” says, LN Mishra.

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that Business Analysis is one of the fastest-growing occupations, with 14% growth projected between 2016-2026. Multiple other industry reports also indicate that business analysis is among the fastest-growing occupations and is among the top desired skills.

    The scope for the business analyst profile is ever-expanding and is quickly becoming one of the sought-after jobs. A good business analyst is one of the best assets that an organization can have. Having a good and competent BA in the organization is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

    According to IIBA, “Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. The set of tasks and techniques that are used to perform business analysis are defined in A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide).”

    Business Analysis is a set of tasks, knowledge, and techniques required to identify business needs and determine solutions. Although the general definition is similar, the practices and procedures may vary in various industries.

    Business analysis is a fabulous career choice. As more companies realize the need to fix outdated processes and adopt new technology to stay competitive, business analysts are in high demand. A business Analyst is a role where one can contribute to the organization’s strategy, its offerings, its revenue, and its margin. A ‘Business Analyst’ helps the business to grow and become more efficient, organized, and more successful. Business Analysts are change enablers in an organization.

    A ‘Business Analyst’ helps the business to grow and become more efficient, organized, and more successful. In short, being a successful business analyst means that you will need to wear different hats. Although the role of a Business Analyst varies dramatically from industry to industry and from company to company, most of the key roles a business analyst performs remain the same.

    Some of the key tasks business analysts perform are-
      • Understand the problems and goals of the enterprise
      • Analyze needs and solution
      • Devise change strategies
      • Drive change
      • Facilitate stakeholder collaboration
      • Document project needs
      • Organize meetings
      • Communicate and present the solutions to the client

    Responsibilities-of-a-Business-Analyst-1024x651

    A huge advantage that any BA can give to his/her career is to get certified. BA certification can help business analysts stand out in the field and provide proof of competence. Market research has shown that certified business analysts earn much higher salaries than those who are not certified. Besides higher salary, the other benefits of doing a business analysis certification are-

    • Certification help improve overall performance
    • They remove uncertainty and widen market opportunities
    • A certified business analyst has a broader perspective of the BA techniques and approaches and demonstrates better capabilities in principle and practice.
    • Employers show increased confidence when hiring a certified business analyst as it also shows commitment, as preparing for these certifications and clearing the exam is not an easy task.

    There are multiple BA certifications. Their acceptability, qualification criteria, and fees vary widely. Some of the points which you need to consider before choosing which BA certification is correct for you are-

    • How much experience do you have as a business analyst?
    • What is your employment status?
    • The popularity and recognition of a certification location wise
    • What are your future goals?
    • What are the Best Business Analysis Certifications available in the market?

    The following business analysis certifications provided by three institutions, namely, IIBA, PMI, IREB, and BCS are the best certifications available to professionals-

    IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis)

      • ECBA
      • CBAP
      • CCBA
      • IIBA AAC
      • CBDA

    PMI (Project Management Institute)

    PMI-PBA

    IREB (International Requirements Engineering Board)

      • CPRE-FL
      • CPRE-AL
      • CPRE-EL

    BCS

      • BCS


    This blog has the details of the above certifications Based on their eligibility criteria, the focus area of the certification, and the cost of the certifications.

    No-link-IIBA-Prep-Webinar-CTA-1024x303-5
    Business analysis certifications for Beginners

    While entering the field of business analysis, a broad understanding of business analysis tasks and techniques is the prerequisite.

    BA-Certification-for-Beginners-914x1024ECBA from IIBA
    The Entry certificate in Business Analysis, ECBA, is the first level of certification by IIBA. ECBA certification is ideal for individuals entering the field of business analysis. ECBA recognizes individuals ready to develop their business analysis skills, knowledge, and behaviors, to join the business analysis profession.

    ECBA certification is framed rightly to suit the needs of an entry-level Business analyst focusing on requirements analysis, modeling, requirements life cycle management with a good amount of emphasis on modeling concepts and tools. The questions in this certification exam are based on the business analysis body of knowledge BABoK version 3.0 by the International Institute of Business Analysis, IIBA.

    The eligibility criteria for the ECBA Certification examination are as follows:

    • 21 hours of verifiable professional development in the last 4 years. Adaptive US is an authorized EEP of IIBA®, its training will provide you with the desired professional development (PD) hours for the ECBA certification examination.
    • Agreement with the ECBA Code of Conduct.

    ECBA exam focuses on-

    The exam blueprint of ECBA is aligned with v3.0 of the BABOK® Guide.
    Business Analysis Knowledge Areas and Questions Distribution

    Business Analysis Knowledge  
    Domain % Distribution
    Business analysis & the BA Professional 2.5%
    Underlying Competencies 5%
    Business Analysis Key Concepts 5%
    Techniques 12.5%
    Business Analysis Knowledge  
    Domain % Distribution
    Business analysis & the BA Professional 5%
    Elicitation and Collaboration 20%
    Requirements Life Cycle Management 20%
    Strategy analysis 5%
    Requirements Analysis and Design Definition 24%
    Solution Evaluation 1%


    ECBA certification cost has the below components:

    1. ECBA Application Fee – $60
    2. ECBA Exam Fee – $110 for IIBA members and $235 for non-IIBA members

    IIBA membership fee varies Based on the country of residence

      

    Member 

    Non-Member 

    Membership fee 

    As per the country of residence 

    (Between $55 to $125) 

     

    Application Fee 

    $60 USD 

    $60 USD 

    Exam Fee 

    $110 USD 

    $235 USD 

    ($125 more than members) 

    Retake Fee 

    $85 USD 

    $195 USD 

    ($110 more than members) 


    CPRE-FL Certification from IREB

    The CPRE-FL certification is designed for those working in requirements engineering (RE), Business Analysis, and Testing. The IREB Certification Model consists of three subsequent levels. The CPRE Foundation Level covers the fundamentals of the Requirements Engineering domain, methodology, and available techniques.
    This certification has lifetime validity. The IREB states that the CPRE is “Based on the fundamental methods and approaches of Requirements Engineering, and these alter only slowly,” so, at this time, they don’t see a need for renewal. The prices for the certification are fixed by the Certification Bodies and vary depending on the country.

    The CPRE-FL certification gives the maximum flexibility regarding preparation. Though a classroom training course is recommended, you can prepare via online training or self-study. The exam is usually taken after a classroom training course. It can also be taken in a test center - at a later time and independently of your choice of preparation.

    BCS

    BCS Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis covers a range of fundamental knowledge needed for a business analysis role. This includes the roles and competencies required as well as strategic analysis, business system, process modeling, and business case development.

    The content of this course includes information on how to analyze and model business activities, identify potential solutions, and analyze stakeholder perspectives.

    Business analysis certifications for Mid-level Professionals

    For professionals who have a few years of BA experience, a good understanding of technology and business will enable them to be successful in their careers. Certifications like CCBA, AAC, and CBDA will help you with this.


    BA-Certification-for-Mid-level-professionals-1024x623

    CCBA from IIBA
    The Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA) is the 2nd level of professional certifications by IIBA for business analysis practitioners. It is highly valued in the BA industry as it emphasizes your work experience, personal development, competencies, and up-to-date knowledge of the latest industry trends and developments.

    CCBA certification
    is appropriate for business analysts with 2-3 years of experience, who are keen to expand their skill sets and climb the BA career ladder. It adds a lot of value to a BA’s profile as it is a recognition and acknowledgment of the expertise that a BA practitioner has in the business analysis domain.

    The eligibility criteria of the CCBA certification exam are:

      • Minimum 3750 hours of BA work experience aligned with the BABOK Guide in the last 7 years

      • Minimum 900 hours in each of two of the six knowledge areas or minimum 500 hours in each of four of the six knowledge areas

      • Minimum 21 hours of Professional Development Training in the past four years

      • Two references from a career manager, client or CBAP recipient

      • Signed Code of Conduct

    CCBA exam focuses on-

    The exam blueprint aligned with v3.0 of the BABOK Guide is as follows:

    Knowledge Area 

    % of Questions 

    Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring 

    12% 

    Elicitation and Collaboration 

    20% 

    Requirements Life Cycle Management 

    18% 

    Strategy Analysis 

    12% 

    Requirements Analysis and Design Definition 

    32% 

    Solution Evaluation 

    6% 


    CCBA certification cost has the below components:

    Application Fee 

    125 USD 

    Certification Exam Fee 

    325 USD for Members 

    450 USD for Non-Members 

    Membership Fees 

    $55 to $125 depending on the country of residence 


    CPRE-AL Certification from IREB

    The prerequisite for the CPRE-Advanced Level certification is having obtained the certificate of the previous level, i.e., CPRE-FL.
    The CPRE Advanced Level stands for mastering and using methods and techniques.

    There are four choices for achieving an Advanced Level certificate:

      • Requirements Elicitation
      • Requirements Modeling
      • Requirements Management
      • RE@Agile

    As with the Foundation Level certificate, the Advance Level certification has lifetime validity. The prices for the certification are fixed by the Certification Bodies and vary depending on the country.

    AAC from IIBA

    IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC) is the first agile certification provided by IIBA. IIBA Agile Analysis Certification examination is ideal for Agile Business analysts, BA Consultants, Trainers, Project Managers, Testers, etc.

    There are no eligibility experience requirements or any other prerequisites for this exam. However, IIBA recommends it for BA professionals with 2-3 years of Agile-related experience.

    IIBA-AAC recognizes one’s ability to effectively execute analysis-related work in an agile context. Earning this certification provides potential employers, a clearer indication of the competencies that one has developed.

    The IIBA-AAC exam is closely aligned to the Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide, version 2 and tests one’s ability to answer questions focused on real-world scenarios. The Agile Extension developed in collaboration with the Agile Alliance, describes good practices, techniques, guidelines, and other key information that drives better business outcomes and adds customer value when work is executed using various agile approaches.

    IIBA AAC exam focuses on-

    The IIBA-AAC exam is weighed across four domains and consists of 85 multiple-choice, scenario-Business Analystsed questions to be completed within 2 hours:

      • Agile Mindset – 30% (25 questions)

      • Strategy Horizon – 10% (9 questions)

      • Initiative Horizon – 25% (21 questions)

      • Delivery Horizon – 35% (30 questions)


    IIBA AAC Certification Cost has the below components and breakups:

      

    IIBA Member 

    Non-Member 

    Membership fee 

    As per country of residence 

     

    Exam Fee 

    $250 USD 

    $375 USD 

    Retake Fee 

    $200 USD 

    $325 USD 

    Recertification fee 

    (to be done every 3 years)

    $85 USD 

    $120 USD 

     

    CBDA from IIBA

    IIBA recently launched a Certification in Business Data Analytics. This is a level 2 certification intended for those with 2-3 years of experience and those who are experienced with core BA skills.

    Earning this certification informs employers of your passion for and competencies in performing business analysis on analytics initiatives. The certification helps identify skilled business data analytics professionals to organizations seeking these in-demand skills.

    The certification exam consists of 75 scenario-Business Analystsed questions. As an experienced-Business Analystsed exam, you’ll apply your work experience to answer scenarios common to analytics initiatives.

    The IIBA®- CBDA exam includes questions pertaining to the six Blueprint Domains, five practitioner-Business Analystsed domains as discussed in IIBA's Introduction to Business Data Analytics: A Practitioners View, and one organizational-Business Analystsed domain from IIBA's Introduction to Business Data Analytics: An Organizational View:

      • Identify Research Questions – 20% (Domain 1)

      • Source Data – 15% (Domain 2)

      • Analyze Data – 16% (Domain 3)

      • Interpret and Report Results – 20% (Domain 4)

      • Use Results to Influence Business Decision Making – 20% (Domain 5)

      • Guide Company-level Strategy for Business Analytics - 9% (Domain 6)

    This mid-level certification is priced at USD $450 for IIBA members and USD $575 for non-members.

    Exam Fee Member: 

    $450 

    Exam Fee Non-Member: 

    $575 

    Exam Rewrite Fee Member: 

    $400 

    Exam Rewrite Fee Non-Member: 

    $525


    Business analysis certifications for Senior Professionals

    As business analysts mature in their careers, the expectations attached to their role expand and it is essential that the BA too, expand their knowledge through training and certifications related to business analysis.

    PMI-PBA Certification
    The PMI-PBA certification is best suited for business analysts who work with projects or programs, or project and program managers who work with analytics. It’s offered through the Project Management Institute. The certification focuses on business analysis training through hands-on projects and testing on business analysis principles, tools, and fundamentals.

    To maintain the PMI-PBA certification, you must earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) in business analysis topics every three years.

    The prerequisites of the PMI-PBA certification exam are-

      • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree

      • 7,500 hours of business analysis experience

      • 35 contact hours of education in business analysis

    OR

      • Bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent

      • 4,500 hours of business analysis experience

      • 35 contact hours of education in business analysis

    PMI-PBA Exam Outline

    Domain 

    Percentages of Items on Test 

    Domain 1. Needs Assessment 

    18% 

    Domain 2. Planning 

    22% 

    Domain 3. Analysis 

    35% 

    Domain 4. Traceability and Monitoring 

    15% 

    Domain 5. Evaluation 

    10% 

    Cost of the certification- Member: USD 405 Non-member: USD 555

    CBAP from IIBA
    Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) is the 3rd level of professional certification by IIBA for business analysis practitioners and is the most sought-after certification for senior business analysts to excel in the corporate world. CBAP certification has proven results in terms of salary benefits, career growth, and opening up new opportunities in the global markets. The CBAP certification examination needs one to understand BABoK in-depth and apply BABoK concepts to various business analysis scenarios.

    Following are the eligibility criteria of CBAP certification:

    1. 7500 hours in the last 10 years, 900 hours of which should be in 4 out of the 6 BABOK Guide Version 3 Knowledge areas

    2. 35 hours of Professional Development in the past 4 years

    3. Two references from a career manager, client or Certified Business Analysis Professional – CBAP

    4. A Signed Code of Conduct with IIBA

    Given below is the exam blueprint with the weightage given to different knowledge areas.

    CBAP Certification Exam Blueprint 

     

    Knowledge Area 

    % of Questions 

    Requirement Analysis and Design Definition 

    30% 

    Requirement Life-cycle Management 

    15% 

    Strategy Analysis 

    15% 

    Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring 

    14% 

    Solution Evaluation 

    14% 

    Elicitation and Collaboration 

    12% 


    CBAP certification cost has the below components:

      • IIBA membership Fee - $55 to $125 depending on the country of residence

      • CBAP Application Fee –$125

      • CBAP Exam Fee – $325 for IIBA members and $450 for non-IIBA members

    CPRE-EL Certification from IREB

    The Expert Level of the CPRE certification stands for the highest level of expert knowledge, which comprises practical experience as well as outstanding knowledge and skills in Requirements Engineering. The prerequisite for the CPRE-EL certification is having obtained the certificate of the previous level, i.e., CPRE-AL.

    As with the previous levels, the Advance Level certification has lifetime validity. The prices for the certification are fixed by the Certification Bodies and vary depending on the country.

    If you want to advance your business analyst career, or change career paths, these globally recognized certifications will help prove your mettle. Business analysis certification is a specialized education that works as a credential for a business analyst professional. Formal recognition from a reputed and authorized body differentiates an individual in the market in terms of both skills and salary.

    Books on Business Analysis

    Education and training requirements for business analyst jobs vary by employer, specific role, and industry. Most business analyst positions require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related degree for entry-level positions, though this is not a strict requirement Some employers prefer business analysts with certification.

    Whilst any degree is advantageous, the following subjects are useful as they’re in a similar field:

      • Business Studies

      • Business Administration

      • Management

      • Information Technology

    Here is a list of the best business analysis books, which can guide you to all that is there to learn about Business Analysis.

    Book Title 

    Author/Publisher 

    Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABoK)   

    This is available for free reading if you are a member of IIBA. 

    IIBA 

    How to Start a Business Analyst Career 

    Laura Brandenburg 

    Seven Steps to Mastering Business Analysis 

    Barbara A. Carkenord 

    Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide 

    PMBoK® Guide and Standards 

    Business Analysis Techniques: 99 Essential Tools for Success   

    Debra Paul, James Cadle, and Paul Turner 

    Agile and Business Analysis: Practical Guidance for IT Professionals   

    Debra Paul and Lynda Girvan 

    Business Analysis and Leadership: Influencing Change 

    James Archer & Penny Pullan 

    Business Analysis: Best Practices for Success  

    Steven Blais 

    Adaptive BABoK Study Guide  

    Adaptive US 

    Business Analysis for Dummies 

    Kate McGoey, Kupe Kupersmith, and Paul Mulvey 

    3D Business Analyst  

    Mohamed Elgendy 

    The Agile Business Analyst: Moving from Waterfall to Agile 

    Barbara Carkenord and Ryland Leyton 

    Design Thinking Business Analysis: Business Concept Mapping Applied  

    Thomas Frisendal 

    Business Analysis Methodology Book  

    Emrah Yayici 

    Mastering the Requirements Process  

    Suzanne Robertson, James C. Robertson 

    Rapid Agile Business System Analysis: Fast, Agile, Measurable Results  

    Trond Frantzen 

    Product and Process Modelling: A Case Study Approach  

    Ian T. Cameron and Rafiqul Gani 

    Software Requirements, 3rd Edition 

    Karl Wiegers and 

    Joy Beatty 

    Writing Effective Use Cases (Agile Software Development Series) 

    Alistair Cockburn 

    IIBA Agile extension  

    IIBA 




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