Business Analyst JD, Salary, Training, Certs | Free BA eBook

11 min read
9/4/22 12:00 AM

Business analyst has become quite an in-demand profession. As technology becomes more powerful, organizations are hiring larger number of business analysts.

There exists a lot of confusion on what business analysts are, what skills are needed to become a business analyst and what kind of support is available to pursue business analyst career.

In this blog, we will describe what business analysts are, their job description, skills, training and certifications.

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 2022 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

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 (CBDA). 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 Bootcamps

BA bootcamps 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 Analytics Job Description

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

Jump Start Your BA Career with Adaptive US Business Analyst Bootcamp

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