The primary focus of the business analyst is to analyse data and then by understanding the business processes, identify areas for improvement and then propose effective solutions,implementing them if necessary. This all has the ultimate goal the aim of enhancing efficiency and effectiveness as well as achieving the goals set by the organisation. They are the ‘in between’ for IT and business teams.
To become a successful business analyst you will need to have a keen interest in business management, possess critical thinking skills as well as having great communication and customer service skills. You will also need to be competent with the latest software and technology and be keen to keep up to date with the inevitable rapid advancements.
Attending university and gaining an appropriate degree or equivalent e.g, in business management or computer sciences is the preferred way of becoming a business analyst and to gain entry to university you will usually need the required A levels which vary for different degree courses. However, there are interesting apprenticeships available where you will earn a wage as well as gaining the relevant skills but you will require certain qualifications from school, college and/or university.
Key responsibilities are extremely varied and may include collaborating with stakeholders in order to elicit and to document business requirements. This involves having an understanding of various departments and having the ability to translate this into clear and concise specifications.
You may analyse data to identify trends, patterns and insights that can help informed business decisions to be made. You will invariably be working with large and intricate data sets to extract relevant information. You will be maintaining comprehensive documentation throughout.
You will be required to create visual representations of current and future business processes as this helps with understanding and monitoring of the flow of business activity, allowing how any changes may have an impact.
You will be evaluating solutions and providing recommendations based upon the analysis which will include a blend of technological, financial and operational factors.
Business analysts often find themselves acting as an intermediary between business departments and IT teams to ensure that everyone has a grasp of the current projects and requirements of each team. You will be collaborating with project managers and often be involved in planning. Testing and quality assurance teams are another set of professionals that you will form close links with.
It is an extremely dynamic, demanding and sometimes complex role where you will need to be meticulous, adaptable and highly focused at all times. With continuous learning and experience, there are many progressive paths at your disposal which can lead to good salaries in distinguished and respected global companies or you could even work for yourself.