Is business analysis just about gathering data?

While it may vary from company to company, there is a baseline of business analyst skills that one should qualify for succeeding in their career. Here are a few of such business analyst skills:

Project Management Variance Analysis
Documentation Process Modeling
Database Management Costs Benefit Analysis

At the core of what constitutes a BA, you will find such business analyst skills along with other data analysis and stakeholder management skills. To qualify for business analyst jobs, you need to be equipped with a portion of these business analyst skills to gain even entry-level roles.

Business analysts rely on software like MS Office, Google Analytics, SQL, and Tableau to manage their work and perform optimally. Such business analyst tools also aid their work functions of gathering and interpreting data, documentation, and data visualization.

However, you need not be disheartened if you do not possess any of these skills. With the current education scenario, you can gain expertise in any subject with the help of certifications and other upskilling courses!

Here are some frequently asked questions to explore this topic:

What Do Business Analysts Do?

By evaluating past and existing business activities and data, business analysts develop innovative routes to boost company growth. They coordinate with business stakeholders to analyze company goals and facilitate them through profitable solutions.

They conduct thorough research to understand the market and put to effect scalable solutions at the right time to benefit companies. Through data-driven decision-making, business analysts do a great job of helping companies realize their targets.

Here is a standard description for business analyst jobs:

Business Analyst Roles and Responsibilities

  • Evaluate business processes and identify areas for improvement
  • Lead reviews of business processes and develop optimization strategies
  • Stay updated with the latest technologies and IT advancements to increase efficiency and performance of business processes
  • Conduct market research while exploring requirements of business authorities and stakeholders
  • Communicate insights and recommendations to departments to derive business growth
  • Document work functions for presenting to business stakeholders and guide employees to perform optimally with enforced practices
  • Lead cross-functional teams by effectively communicating business trajectories
  • Manage projects and oversee completion of tasks within stipulated timelines
  • Ensure business solutions meet stakeholders’ needs and implement changes as and when required

Business Analyst Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in business or related field
  • Analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Excellent documentation and communication skills
  • Competency in Microsoft applications including Word, Excel, and Visio
  • Track record of leading successful projects

Read more: Is business analyst job description the same across all companies?

Business Analyst Skills in Demand

Since they analyze business operations to optimize them for maximum growth, business analysts need to acquire important skills that improve performance and efficiency.

With the help of such in-demand skills, business analysts stay on top of company activities and constantly work towards improving the quality of their work.

Read more: What is a Business Analyst

Business Analyst Technical Skills

One of the greatest skills for a business analyst is to be familiar with upcoming technologies and integrate them into their work. Here are some of the skills that you should gain expertise in:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Software Design Tools
  • SQL Queries
  • Business Process Models

According to data from Zippia, these are the most popular technical skills listed on business analyst resumes. We can also deduce that these are business analyst key skills in demand that recruiters cannot do without.

Research

In such a competitive market, business analysts constantly try to find new ways to boost company growth.

It is a revered skill because as business analysts take on the responsibility to transform companies, they ensure that the solutions they enforce are foolproof.

Through research, they find innovative ways to tackle business roadblocks and ensure everyone on the team is on the same page.

Statistical Analysis

After business analysts research to educate themselves on their company environment, they analyze their research material to come up with solutions.

The data review process entails risk assessment and interpretation of data to derive meaningful conclusions to scattered data. Such conclusions bear fruition once the company finds its desired solution from the options gathered by business analysts.

Financial Planning

Undoubtedly the defining feature of the process of business analysis is financial planning. Setting realistic goals for companies by following stringent budget restraints is what gets companies floating above sea level.

Business analysts do a great job of informing companies on how much they can spend on several courses of action that will get their company to achieve success.

Documentation

One of the business analyst skills that must go hand-in-hand with every other skill is documentation. No matter how extensive or complicated the work functions are, business analysts record them for ease of understanding.

Be it, company stakeholders or high-profile clients, accurate representation of data is important as it will show companies the profitability of the chosen courses of action.

Is Coding Required for Business Analyst?

As business analysts are responsible for implementing solutions that solve technical challenges, it is widely considered to be an IT job. However, business analysts utilize technology to overcome challenges revolving around managing projects and finding solutions.

Such tasks do not require technical expertise in coding, as there will be dedicated people to do them.

Business analyst skills include other tasks like project management and financial forecasting. So, while you need not do a course in coding, you must have basic knowledge about the IT field.

Over time, business analyst skills like requirement analysis and functional knowledge will get you ahead in your professional career.

Read more: What does an IT business analyst do

Soft Skills

Aside from business analyst technical skills, business analysts need to be equipped with the right soft skills to succeed in their roles. Soft skills rank higher among business analyst skills as the position itself entails a degree of responsibility and coordination.

While drafting business analyst skills for resume, you need to make sure that you make a valid case. Instead of stating your business analyst soft skills as phrases, try to integrate them into sections like professional experience, volunteer experience, or even the summary.

Problem Solving

Once you start exploring solutions to roadblocks, business analysis skills to employ is effective problem-solving. If you are quick on your feet and able to solve issues as they arise, your ideas will greatly contribute to the success of companies.

Decision Making

Keep in mind that business analyst positions are higher up in the hierarchy of positions within a company. They evaluate company needs and develop solutions to overcome business problems.

In such a case, decision-making is one of the crucial skills needed for business analysts to progress further in companies. Trusting your instincts and working independently to come up with innovative solutions is no doubt a revered quality.

Managerial Skills

Business analysts do not work in isolation but constantly collaborate with different company departments to develop scalable solutions. Additionally, delegating work and overseeing operations that you assign is also a must-have business analyst skill.

Communication

For any employee in any given sector, communication is an essential skill as it entails interacting with fellow employees about important matters.

It is also a valuable business analyst skill because they interact with management and financial stakeholders, company authorities, and other employees regarding business roadblocks and solutions.

Negotiation

Business analyst as a profession is a lot of back-and-forth with company authorities and other stakeholders. To employ business solutions and navigate company shortcomings, the business analyst skill of negotiation should shine through.

Some may not see eye to eye with your work, but it is up to you to break through to them through your persuasion. You need to coordinate with multiple departments and their multiple personalities to reach valuable conclusions.

Critical Thinking

Business analysts constantly evaluate options and address various routes to enhance business growth. In such a case, it is not always possible to coordinate with everyone while making minor decisions.

So, one of the skills for a business analyst is critical thinking which enables them to ensure their solutions are robust. Instead of waiting for someone to explore inconsistencies, business analysts must foresee them through investigation and understanding.

Can I become a business analyst without people skills?

Business analyst strengths of having vast knowledge and technical expertise only bear fruition if you have the means to exercise them.

Verbal communication, written communication, and listening are a few of the business analyst skills that define your ability to succeed. Since it is a role that involves a lot of personalities and demands constant communication, you must be a people person.

Read more: How Much Do Business Analysts Make?

Become a Business Analyst with No Prior Experience

Maybe you want to start your career as a business analyst or perhaps you want to switch up your job and change industries. Where do you start? Is there a starters course? Would I have to do a degree?

Let’s look at the basics.

Equip Yourself with Business Analysis Fundamentals

If you are at the start of your career, taking a degree in the subject may be your best bet to get successful opportunities. Business analysis is a culmination of a lot of subjects, and hence degrees in business administration, finance, accounting, statistics, or computer science or programming will kickstart your business analyst career.

However, if you find yourself in a position where you work in an entirely different field, you may want to take some training or familiarize yourself with business analysis concepts.

A few of the major skills that business analysts boast are:

  • Data Analysis
  • Market Research
  • Data Modeling
  • Budgeting
  • Forecasting

Be Well-Versed in Data Analytics

At the core of everything is loads and loads of data! Business analysis is mainly concerned with gathering and analyzing data to drive insightful conclusions that will then benefit business operations.

So, if you were waiting for a good opening to start, a data analytics course could be just what you need to get the ball rolling. A comprehensive understanding of data analysis will get you well-versed in all the basics of business analytics.

Practice Your Analytical Skills with Projects

In order to impress recruiters with your golden skills, you need to exactly show them what you can do. Yes, show them your work. If you have not already, preparing a passion project in your subject is an invaluable asset to have!

Be it your college project or independent research, deploying valuable business analysis skills and exhibiting them in projects is a solid way for recruiters to assess your expertise.

Practice Data Visualization

Even if you are fantastic at what you do, your findings may not have much impact if you are lacking in the communication department. For that reason, you need to perfect your visualization skills and make sure that every last bit of your effort bears fruition!

You can get a fair idea of it by practicing with visualization tools like Tableau, PowerBI, Bokeh, Plotly, or Infogram. As it is a skill that is very important to the role of a business analyst, showing your skills via projects will compel hiring managers to shortlist you!

Develop a Business Analysis Portfolio

It can be greatly beneficial to keep a running list of all of your work. Starting from your college projects, you can continue to update them as and when you take on major projects.

Github can be your best friend when it comes to maintaining your portfolio. The idea behind it being recording your expertise so that it’s not a struggle to show your competence to hiring managers from bigshot companies.

Apply to Business Analysis Jobs

All the theoretical knowledge aside, you need to gain work experience to truly master the art, no matter what it may be. If you are apprehensive about starting out, you can apply for business analyst internships or business analyst entry-level jobs and then move on to full-time jobs.

For that, you need to prep yourself with a stellar resume and a business analyst cover letter.

Read more: How to Become a Business Analyst

Get a Business Analyst Internship

If you have work experience in roles like sales associate or data analysis, it might be time for you to diversify your repository with a business analyst internship. However, you must possess a fairly decent skill set to successfully bag internships.

Here is a detailed list of skills that you need to add in your entry-level business analyst resume to prepare you for internships and advanced business analyst jobs.

Business Process

Anything that a team does to promote company products and bolster business growth is referred to as business process. It involves troubleshooting errors and foreseeing roadblocks to ensure smooth operations and a stress-free path to success.

As a business analyst, this will be your core function.

Call it an analyst’s intuition, as this is a skill that you can perfect only through experience. However, for internships you need to exhibit a degree of acquaintance. For that you can develop business analysis projects and showcase your familiarity with this skill.

Project Management

Strategizing business growth and ensuring progress takes a lot of coordination. Project management is a crucial business analyst skill that will decide your competence at your job.

Project management is an umbrella term for several tasks that comprise a standard business project. It could include contract management, stakeholder management, external and internal communication, grant review, financial modeling, and so on.

Not only would you have to juggle all of these at once, but get better at it through efficient scheduling and follow-ups. Your attention to detail will be proven through your ability to get individual tasks done effortlessly.

Data Analysis

The main resource that business analysts work around is data, which leads them to insightful conclusions. Hence, data analysis is a major business analyst skill which once you perfect, will bump your competency as a professional.

Data can come in various ways, it could be going over past performance or performing predictive analysis. Whatever it may be, business analysts interpret the given data with respect to company’s goals and objectives, making it a very valuable asset.

Market Research

In the current scenario, it is vital to track competitors and trends because of the boom in startups and fresh ideas. Instead of thinking they are beyond trends, companies should follow public interest and focus on creating trends that will hit off.

By analyzing trends and public interest, business analysts give companies the impetus to bring traction to their brand and extend its influence. Market research is an important business analyst skill as it entails a requirement for performing extensive groundwork to build a solid foundation for bolstering business growth.

Technical Skills

Since business analysis involves big data and data manipulation, a few technical skills can come in handy for you. When it comes to data analysis, a few programming languages like R and Python used for statistical computing are popular to interpret data and find patterns.

Aside from that, familiarity with test scripts and SQL databases can come in handy to widen your range of opportunities. While it may not be crucial business analyst skills, it can help you gain a deeper understanding of your subject.

If you are unfamiliar with these technical skills, you can build them up in no time with online certification courses and training! You could either build your knowledge separately in all subjects or have a holistic approach to these technical skills through packaged business analysis courses.

Here are some of the many business analysis courses available online:

Business Analyst Skills on Resume

Recruiters do not get a lot of time to spend on one business analyst resume. So, to present yourself as a deserving candidate, you must enlist all the skills they would expect. By creating a section for Key Skills, you can include all of your hard skills.

It is advisable not to list soft skills, rather create a convincing story in your work experience section. Rather than listing Communication in your key skills, it would be better if you showed how you practiced the skill in past experiences.

Evaluate your business analyst job description to get an idea of what to include in your resume. Doing so will help you get past the ATS scanner, and recruiters will be able to find the exact skills that they're searching for.

Read more: How to list soft skills in your resume

Business Analyst Skills to Look Out For

Business analyst skills are a culmination of hard, soft, and technical skills. From Project Management to Microsoft Visio, all of the business analyst skills listed here are what companies search for:

Business Analyst Skills Business Analyst Tools
Business Analysis SQL Server
Functional Requirements Jira
Test Cases Scrum
Financial Modeling Python
Data Analysis R
Application Development UML
UAT DOORS
JAD Caliber
CRM HTML
SDLC Unix

You may not have every one of these skills, and that’s fine! As long as you evaluate your potential and work towards maximizing it, you will find valuable opportunities to succeed in your career.

Key Takeaways

Business analysts are pioneers when it comes to catapulting business growth. They hone into business roadblocks and collaborate with business partners to develop scalable solutions.

However, your reservoir of business analyst skills must be regularly updated and on par with industry trends. Here is what you can take away from this guide:

  • Business analyst skills of research, data analysis, financial planning, and documentation are of utmost use to companies as part of the business analysis process
  • While it is not entirely crucial to learn to code, it is an appreciable skill among business analysts which you can compensate with strengths in other areas such as data interpretation or project management
  • As it is a role that requires coordination with multiple departments, business analysts are effective communicators and employ their critical thinking and negotiation skills to help companies realize their goals
  • Business analyst skills such as SDLC, test cases, Jira, SQL, requirements analysis, etc., are some of the in-demand skills of the current job market

For queries regarding this definitive guide or other business analyst skills, you can visit our career service platform or contact us at support@hiration.com, and we’ll get back to you asap!