There’s growing demand for business analysts in all kinds of organisations and sectors. If you’re interested in a career as a business analyst, whether you’re just starting out or are looking to retrain, it helps to know what’s required.
We explore what this role involves and what business analyst skills are in most demand.
The role of a business analyst has become increasingly vital in the workplace. Business analysts act as the bridge between business needs and digital solutions, to help organisations make informed decisions to help achieve their objectives.
Business analysts explore business processes, identify problems and propose solutions to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Business analysts work across various industries and departments, providing valuable insights to inform investments and key decisions.
To excel in this dynamic and rewarding field there are a number of essential skills you need:
At the core of a business analyst’s role is the ability to assess complex data, identify patterns, and draw meaningful insights. You will need to understand business processes and systems to find the challenges within them. Thinking critically and making data-driven decisions are essential attributes for success.
Communication is a fundamental skill for business analysts. You will interact with stakeholders at various levels, including executives, project managers, developers and end-users. Active listening is important, along with the ability to ask probing questions and articulate your findings clearly. Excellent interpersonal skills will help you build strong relationships, understand diverse perspectives and drive collaboration between different teams.
You will need to quickly develop a solid understanding of your industry. Domain knowledge is an important part of understanding challenges, objectives, and processes better. It can be helpful to work in a field where you already have good knowledge.
While business analysts aren’t developers, a basic understanding of technology is important. You will need to be comfortable working with software tools and databases, as well as understanding data structures and information flow. There are various business analysis tools and techniques such as data modelling, process mapping and prototyping, that will help you effectively explain requirements.
Business analysts are often involved in projects that require managing timelines, resources and deliverables. You will need to work within project constraints, set realistic goals and manage change. Project management skills are important in driving successful implementations that meet business requirements.
The business landscape is constantly evolving, with new technologies and ideas emerging all the time. Business analysts need to be adaptable and open to learning in order to stay relevant. You should be willing to explore new tools and techniques, and continuously improve your skills.
A significant portion of a business analyst’s work involves reporting on your findings and project progress. You need to be proficient in creating comprehensive reports, user stories, business cases and other documentation to convey complex information in a concise, visual and understandable way.
Business analysts often find themselves in the midst of conflicting interests and priorities. By understanding stakeholders’ perspectives and concerns, you should be able to find common ground and ensure agreement to get better outcomes.
Becoming a business analyst requires a diverse set of skills spanning the technical, analytical and interpersonal. Many of the skills can be learned, and there are many training and educational opportunities in this field, including dedicated degree courses. Take a look online for ideas of the options available.
It’s also helpful to take a look at the business analyst jobs that are currently available to get a sense of the job description and skills needed. You could also take a look at our Jobseekers page to get more advice on finding the right role for you.