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Business Analyst Role, Salary, Certifications | Free BA Guide

Everything You Wanted to Know About Business Analyst

Become a Business Analyst

Speak to a Learning Advisor to learn more about how our bootcamps and courses can help you become a Business Analyst.

Business Analyst Definition

Business analysts analyze business processes, performance, products, and services to understand the root cause behind the problems and how the problems can be overcome through IT solutions.
Business analysts bridge the gap between business and IT using business needs analysis and data analytics for process assessment, determining requirements, and delivering solution recommendations to stakeholders.

Business Analysts interact with 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 also 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 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.”

Business Analyst Role

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.

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

Core Responsibilities

Irrespective of their industry are:

1. Understand the problems and goals of the enterprise

2. Analyze needs and solution

3. Devise change strategies

4. Drive change

5. 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

 

Business Analyst Qualifications

Business analysts 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 gained 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 that the candidate has put into it.

Business Analyst Skills

Business analyst skills can be grouped into 3 broad categories: Process Skills, Tools and Technology, and Behavioral skills.

Process skills

• Software Engineering Methodologies like SDLC e.g. Waterfall, Iterative (Agile/Scrum)
• Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring.
• Elicitation and Collaboration.
• Requirements Life Cycle Management.
• Strategy Analysis.
• Requirements Analysis and Design Definition.
• Solution performance evaluation and improvement.

Tools and Technology skills

• High-Level Technology like Data Base structure, OOP
• Requirements management tools such as Jira
• Wireframing tools
• MS Office
• SQL
• Visualization tools such as Tableau


Behavioral skills

• Communication Skill
• Negotiation Skill
• Facilitation Skill
• Analytical thinking Skill
• Problem-solving Skill
• Decision-Making Skill
• Ability to see the bigger picture
• Ability to appreciate and empathize
• Ability to influence without authority
• Good interpersonal skills

Business Analyst Salary

Business analyst salary is determined by various factors such as location, qualification, experience level, and job specialization. For example, BAs' 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 basic 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.

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 BAs 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, BAs 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. Top industries that hired business analysts were IT, healthcare, banking, and transportation, with all these sectors providing a global pay average of $82,100.

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 BAs by countries:

Let us have an in-depth look at regional salary and benefits of BAs 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

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

In the USA, BAs are working mostly for finance, consultation, pharmaceutical, and IT industries. BAs 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.

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

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

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

In Australia, BAs 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 BAs 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

  • BAs who hold a certification have a higher basic paygrade of £75,064

In the UK, the top sectors where the BAs 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.

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

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 2010 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 BAs 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 BAs 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 analyst certifications

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?

Business analysis certifications for Beginners

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

ECBA 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.

CPRE-FL Certification from IREB, Germany
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.

BCS Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis from BCS, UK
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.

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.

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.

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.

AAC from IIBA
IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (IIBA 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Business analyst training

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 analysis learning can be expedited by undergoing a formal training. Many colleges, universities, professional training institutes provide structured training on business analysis. 

Business analyst job descriptions

Business analysts enable the enterprise to articulate its needs, the rationale for change and to design and describe solutions that deliver value. In a business analyst role, one can contribute to an organization’s strategy, offerings, revenue, and margin. It offers a great opportunity to interact with many stakeholders, develop innovative solutions, and improve the existing solutions. Business analysts work as a bridge between business stakeholders and technology architects. 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.

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).

We will describe core responsibilities of 3 different types of business analysts below.

Job Description of IT Business Analyst

 

  • Plan business analysis approach

  • Plan stakeholder engagement

  • Plan business analysis governance

  • Plan business analysis information management

  • Identify business analysis performance improvements

  • Prepare for elicitation

  • Conduct elicitation

  • Confirm elicitation results

  • Communicate business analysis information

  • Manage stakeholder collaboration

  • Trace requirements

  • Maintain requirements

  • Prioritize requirements

  • Assess requirements changes

  • Approve requirements

  • Analyze current state

  • Define future state

  • Assess risks

  • Define change strategy

  • Specify and model requirements

  • Verify requirements

  • Validate requirements

  • Define requirements architecture

  • Define design options

  • Analyze potential value and recommend a solution

  • Measure solution performance

  • Analyze solution performance measures

  • Assess solution limitations

  • Assess enterprise limitations

  • Recommend actions to increase solution value

 

Job Description Business Data Analyst

 

  • Define Business Problem or Opportunity

  • Identify and Understand the Stakeholders

  • Assess Current State

  • Define Future State

  • Formulate Research Questions

  • Plan Business Data Analytics Approach

  • Select Techniques for Identifying the Research Questions

  • Plan Data Collection

  • Determine the Data Sets

  • Collect Data

  • Validate Data

  • Select Techniques for Sourcing Data

  • Develop Data Analysis Plan

  • Prepare Data

  • Explore Data

  • Perform Data Analysis

  • Assess the Analytics and System Approach Taken

  • Select Techniques for Analyzing Data

  • Identify and Understand the Stakeholders

  • Plan Stakeholder Communication

  • Determine Communication Needs of Stakeholders

  • Derive Insights from Data

  • Document and Communicate Findings from Completed Analysis

  • Select Techniques for Interpreting and Reporting Results

  • Recommend Action

  • Develop Implementation Plan

  • Manage Change

  • Influence Business Decision-Making

  • Understand Organizational strategy

  • Define Talent strategy

  • Define Data strategy

  • Select Techniques for Guiding Company-Level Strategy for Business Analytics

 

Package Implementation Business Analyst

 

  • Understand current business processes

  • Understand how the package can support current business practices

  • Organize and conduct Product Walkthrough

  • Conduct gap analysis

  • Prepare and review the Functional Specification Document (FSD)

  • Get customer sign-off on Functional Specification Document (FSD)

  • Collect sample application configuration data

  • Configure application with sample data

  • Organize and conduct conference room pilot

  • Discuss with the Client regarding feasibility, desirability, and priority of conference room pilot findings

  • Collect and configure complete application configuration data

  • Create, review and baseline design as per Customization Requirement

  • Update User Manual

  • Investigate and conduct data cleaning

  • Create Detailed Mapping for Data Migration

  • Set-Up Data Migration Environment

  • Select Data for Migration

  • Execute Sample Data Migration

  • Analyze Migrated Data

  • Investigate and Correct All Anomalies

  • Get Customer Sign-Off on Sample Data Migration

  • Convert source data

  • Verify converted data

  • Get Customer Sign-Off on Data Migration

  • Invite Key Users For UAT

  • Finalize Training Schedule for UAT Team

  • Conduct Training for UAT Team; If necessary

  • Review the acceptance test environment

  • Install the application in an acceptance test environment

  • Conduct UAT

  • Validate and rectify defects

  • Re-Test and Close Defects

 

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