Business Analyst: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

Business analysts help companies and organizations identify problems and develop solutions. Learn about the education you need to become a business analyst, as well as the employment outlook for this career. Schools offering Business Intelligence degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

Business analysts are a subset of management analysts that work with organizations to identify different problems within business structures and help to develop solutions. They use a variety of tools and techniques, from interviewing employees to analyzing documents and data, in order to find out what issues may be present. They then recommend changes to management and higher ups that can solve these problems. Employment can be found at both long standing companies looking to grow or new businesses trying to start out strong.

The table below details some key facts about this occupation.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, though some students may pursue a master's degree
Education Field of Study Business, management, economics, political science and government, accounting, finance, marketing, psychology, computer and information science, or English.
Key Responsibilities Identify and develop solutions for problems, improve productivity, working with others
Job Growth (2014-2024) 14% (management analysts)*
Median Salary (2015) $81,320 (management analysts)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Job Duties Will I Have as a Business Analyst?

You'll collaborate and communicate with a company about their needs in order to investigate and facilitate improvements. By examining their documents and requirements, you can come up with innovative solutions to any problems you may identify. You might help a business with its information systems, policies, and business processes. You'll work with management and other departments, like information technology, to determine problems and opportunities for growth within the company. You could work with an existing corporation or help a new business with its business model.

What Is the Career Outlook?

Jobs for management analysts in general was expected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow 14% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). This sunny outlook is anticipated to be due to the demand for professional expertise in organizations and governing bodies; however, individuals entering the analyst profession could expect to face keen competition. Challenging work, and fairly high salaries (the median in 2015 being $81,320) make this career popular. Large consulting firms and specialized private ones had the highest employment rates in the industry.

What Are the Education Prerequisites?

You can choose from a variety of ways to become a business analyst, since there are no set requirements. To begin, you might want to earn a bachelor's degree in a business-related major. Some options could include business administration, finance, or information technology. You may then go on to a master's degree program in business administration (MBA) or a related field. A typical MBA program involves courses in decision making, financial analysis, and marketing. Additionally, MBA programs often require internships, which is a major factor in future employment.

Some employers may prefer to hire a certified business analyst, since the designation can establish you as a professional in your field. The International Institute of Business Analysts offers a certification called the Certified Business Analysis Professional (www.theiiba.org). You may also obtain a Certification of Competency in Business Analysis. Both designations require you to have significant work experience in business analysis.

What Are Some Related Careers?

There are several similar careers to business analysts. One would be a budget analyst, who help to prepare budget reports and regulate company spending in order to promote good practices and maximize profits. Market research analysts observe market trends to help companies understand what kind of products and services consumers are buying.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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