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Your Guide to Becoming a Business Analyst

by | Mar 16, 2023

Wondering how to become a business analyst? Learn what a career in business analytics is about and what the industry is like. This guide also gives you information on recommended skills, courses and everything you need to become a business analyst.

What is a business analyst?

A business analyst analyses data from a company to evaluate the company’s performance. Through this analysis, a business analyst can then identify potential ideas to improve the efficiency of the organisation. Some examples of solutions may be adopting new software systems or adjusting the business strategy.

What is the main role of a business analyst?

A business analyst may be involved in all aspects of a business and overlap with other departments or business functions. However, a business analyst’s main role is to conduct research and use data to optimise a company’s effectiveness. This improvement may be quantifiable and is typically measured in money or time. For example, increasing efficiency by reducing the time taken for a process, or cutting costs to increase profit margins.

What does a business analyst do?

A business analyst usually works on multiple projects at once depending on the needs of their company or clients. At the start of a project, the business analyst would identify the business problem and outline the project’s goals.

Then, the business analyst identifies the information required and how to obtain it. This could be internal information, such as sales data, or external data from industry reports or market researchers.

This data is then collected in an internal system and cleaned before an analysis is performed by a business analyst. This may involve using statistical models or machine learning algorithms to uncover insights. The business analyst will interpret this processed data within the context of the company and make sense of the findings.

The business analyst weighs the potential risks and benefits of different solutions to present to the company’s stakeholders. This requires the business analyst to create data visualisations or dashboards to summarise findings in a clear and concise way. Business analysts may also have to follow through with the implementation of these solutions after stakeholders have made a decision. This may involve implementing new systems and training staff on it, as well as monitoring the effectiveness of the solutions.

Does business analytics pay well?

Yes, business analytics is a well-paying career path.

The average salary for a business analyst in Singapore is $68000 per year, which is above the national average. While the pay varies depending on industry and work experience, it can be especially lucrative for mid-career switchers. This is because prior experience in other business functions or industries can be highly applicable and desirable for business analysts.

How do I start a career in business analytics?

If you are interested in business analytics, there are a few pathways to kick off your new career.

How do I start a career in business analytics? - Vertical Institute

Source: Villanova University

Formal Education

A business analyst should be able to use their data analytics skills and apply business knowledge to solve issues. Therefore, formal education in business and data analytics can provide business and technical competencies for a business analyst.

This formal education may be in the form of a degree or diploma in business, data analytics or business analytics. However, this pathway typically takes a longer time and may be less flexible for working professionals seeking a career switch.

Work Experience

Business analysts are in high demand across a variety of industries, both in the private and public sector. Some consulting companies or firms specialising in business analytics may hire business analysts to work on clients’ projects. Government companies may also seek out business analysts to develop strategic data-backed solutions to improve their operations. Larger organisations are also likely to employ in-house business analysts. They typically have a substantial amount of internal data and multiple business analytics projects to work on.

Therefore, business analytics is a growing field with plenty of opportunities regardless of interests. However, a lack of education in business analytics may pose a challenge if you are looking for a career switch.

Can I become a business analyst with no prior experience?

Yes, it is possible to become a business analyst with no prior experience. If you are looking for a way to learn business analytics, Vertical Institute offers a business analytics course for beginners. This course allows you to gain an accredited certification in business analytics quicker and with more flexibility than a degree. Learn all the necessary skills to become a business analyst with no prior experience in just one month!

What are the different types of business analysts?

There are a few different types of business analysts. While business analytics is a multidisciplinary role, they may sometimes be categorised as pure business analysts or IT business analysts.

Pure business analysts typically have a business background, with added technical knowledge to perform analyses. They mostly focus on business issues, such as analysing the initial problem and measuring the business impact of a solution.

IT Business analysts manage the technical implementation of business solutions and the analysis of data. This role includes translating business goals into functional software systems and determining the technical practicality of a project’s implementation. IT Business analysts typically have a technical background in information technology or software engineering.

However, it is important to note that not all businesses categorise their business analysts accordingly and there are often overlaps.

What skills do I need to be a business analyst?

Business analysts need technical skills to process data, as well as the business knowledge to contextualise this and draw insights. The top three skills for a business analyst are research skills, analytical skills and technical skills.

What skills do I need to be a business analyst? - Vertical Institute

Source: freepik

Research skills

Business analysts need to have strong research skills to find out what information and data is required for a project. This also allows business analysts to identify how and where to obtain this data, both from internal and external sources. Business analysts should also research the reliability and comparability of data from varying sources to allow for effective analysis.

Analytical skills

Business analysts should also have strong critical thinking and analytical skills. Business analysts not only have to collect and analyse the data, but also be able to identify trends and insights. Therefore, business analysts need these skills to critically interpret and assess the relevance or significance of their data. This also ensures that they can effectively communicate their findings and its implications to the company’s stakeholders.

Technical skills

Finally, business analysts should also have the technical competencies required to collate, process and analyse the data collected. Different companies may require their business analysts to use different software to carry out their business analytics projects. However, the most common technical skills required for business analysts are in Excel, SQL and Tableau.

While businesses use a variety of business analytics tools, Microsoft Excel is an essential skill for business analysts. Most businesses use Excel as a primary tool to import data between systems for processing. Therefore, business analysts should be competent at managing Excel spreadsheets and using Excel formulas in their analysis.

Since business analysts often work with large data sets, SQL is an important technical skill for managing this data. SQL is a programming language used to pull data from databases, allowing for comparison between multiple data sources. Business analysts use SQL to retrieve data from various data tables for analysis, making it a key technical skill.

Finally, business analysts should also be adept in Tableau. After the data has been analysed, business analysts often use Tableau for data visualisation. Business analysts can represent their findings in charts or graphs to make it more understandable for non-technical stakeholders.

Conclusion

In conclusion, becoming a business analyst requires a combination of skills, knowledge, and experience. Aspiring business analysts should focus on developing strong analytical and research skills, as well as technical skills. Vertical Institute’s Business Analytics course can equip you with all the technical skills you need to become a business analyst. Led by industry professionals, Vertical Institute offers an online data analytics certification for beginners to enter this growing, dynamic field.

Interested in pursuing a career as a data scientist, UX designer or digital marketer? Vertical Institute offers a range of courses to help you gain the skills and knowledge you need in no time. Check out our recommended courses and take the first step in upskilling to achieving your career goals!

About Vertical Institute

Vertical Institute prepares individuals for the jobs of tomorrow. We specialise in teaching in-demand skills, building the next generation of changemakers and inventors through our world-class tech courses and certifications. 

Singaporeans and PRs can receive up to 70% IBF Funding off their course fees with Vertical Institute. The remaining fees can be claimable with SkillsFuture Credits or NTUC UTAP Funding.