Organizations collect copious amounts of data and requirements meant to guide strategy and streamline processes. They need professionals who can turn all that information into action and value. Business analysts are up for that challenge.

If you’re looking for a concrete path for how to become a business analyst, it will be hard to find. Many industries hire business analysts to fill a variety of roles. The best way to enter the field is to seek further education and experience based on your interests. Furthermore, you must ensure that you have the analytical skills needed to be the keeper and interpreter of vast amounts of knowledge.

Glassdoor ranked business analysts in their top 50 jobs in America for 2019.

This diverse field is great for those with investigative, creative minds who love finding solutions and bridging gaps. Glassdoor ranked business analysts in their top 50 jobs in America for 2019. The profession has an overall job satisfaction rating of 3.7 out of 5. It also pays off monetarily with a median salary of $72,000 and top earners making six figures.

What’s more are the job opportunities. Glassdoor has 13,340 job openings for business analysts and related roles. Let’s talk about what those in this career do and how to become a business analyst.

What a Business Analyst Does

Business analysts are naturally inquisitive professionals who work on a multitude of projects. They provide valuable insight in various industries from the public sector to multibillion-dollar global companies. The job will constantly change depending on business goals, as well as the structure and specialization of their organization.

Some key tasks of a business analyst on a day-to-day basis might be:

  • Investigating issues within the organization.
  • Communicating with multiple stakeholders.
  • Identifying opportunities for the future.
  • Documenting findings in a clear way.
  • Evaluating potential solutions to issues.
  • Analyzing existing data.
  • Standardizing workflows.
  • Analyzing IT systems.

Some business analysts spend a lot of time interpreting and reporting data. Others concentrate on being a bridge between the business and product teams. No matter their focus, the purpose of a business analyst is to be a catalyst for positive change in organizations.

A Few Business Analyst Roles

A career as a business analyst can lead you down many paths, and organizations use many titles to capture the duties related to the job. These specialized roles create unique career paths for those with a passion for analysis, planning and communication.

Data Scientist

A data scientist’s primary goal is to find value in data. They collect information from various sources for a better understanding of how an organization is performing. Then, they make recommendations for how the company can perform better in the future through business decisions, technology choices and more. It’s important that data scientists understand statistical analysis and machine-learning tools.

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In 2019, Glassdoor ranked data scientist as the best job in America. It offers a median base salary of $108,000 a year and a job satisfaction score of 4.3 out of 5, even higher than the salary and satisfaction rating of business analysts as a whole.

Strategic Analyst

A strategic analyst is primarily focused on plans that address business needs. They work closely with business leaders to monitor trends and outline concrete strategies for the future. This requires careful analysis of business landscapes and finances. Strategic analysts need a firm understanding of business and the industry they’re in and must be up to date with new technologies and developments.

Those in this role can expect to make an average base pay of $65,233 a year, according to Glassdoor, with the highest paid making six figures.

Computer Systems Analyst

A computer systems analyst seeks to better the computer systems of an organization. They take a hard look at user requirements and problems to improve existing systems or recommend better solutions. They also act as a bridge between production teams and business leaders. Glassdoor states that computer systems analysts make an average base pay of $70,198 per year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that demand for computer systems analysts will grow by 9% between 2016 and 2026. They stated that the further adoption of cloud computing by business and health care facilities will play a role in increasing demand, so a concrete understanding of information technology and development will help those in this role.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts spend their time studying market conditions to make sales of a product or service more profitable. They measure the effectiveness of marketing programs and gather data about consumers and competitors. Unlike some of their peers, they spend a lot of time looking outward for roadblocks and opportunities.

Glassdoor listed the average base pay of a market research analyst at $57,599, and employment is expected to grow.

Glassdoor listed the average base pay of a market research analyst at $57,599, and employment is expected to grow. According to the BLS, there will be a 23% growth in employment of market research analysts between 2016 and 2026.

These are just a few of the paths available as the field offers a world of opportunity. So, how do you become a business analyst?

Becoming a Business Analyst

There’s no one track that leads you to a career as a business analyst. With every specialty and industry comes multiple avenues to this rewarding career. Some qualifications that most have in common are:

A Bachelor’s Degree

Most business analysts have undergraduate degrees in business, finance, accounting or similar concentrations. Others have a background in technology. A firm grasp of business principles is key to understanding issues and opportunities, translating vast amounts of data or requirements, communicating clearly with diverse audiences and understanding multiple stakeholders’ viewpoints.

Relevant Work Experience

Since this is a career based in predicting and explaining outcomes, experience is key. An internship or working in a different type of business or technology role will probably provide the insight needed to start the road down a successful career as a business analyst.

A Master’s Degree or Certification

Many universities offer master’s degree programs or certifications that focus exclusively on business analytics. Advanced courses in business, data science and computer programs can help catapult your career as a business analyst.

Notre Dame of Maryland University offers a master’s in data analytics online. The online Master of Science in Analytics helps you become an asset in your current role while preparing for the jobs of tomorrow. In fact, 75% of graduates are directly applying their research projects to their jobs. Help manage the architecture of knowledge with a master’s degree from NDMU.