Strategic Business Analyst: Job Outlook & Career Requirements

Learn about what education and skills a strategic business analyst needs. Discover salary and employment outlook as well as work duties to decide if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for Strategic Business Analysts

Strategic business analysts identify business needs and solutions within the context of the overall direction of a company. They develop and implement critical business solutions through information gathering, synthesis, review, and testing. They secure and allocate resources, manage implementation schedules, and facilitate meetings. Strategic business analysts are commonly part of the IT field and usually work in the financial, banking, computer, or IT industries. A strategic business analyst's projects can involve software development and acquisition, systems development, and process management.

Education Bachelor's or master's in business or related field
Job Duties Develop and implement business solutions, secure and allocate resources, manage scheduling
Median Salary (2015)* $81,320 (all management analysts)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 14% (all management analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Strategic business analysts often hold a bachelor's degree in business, computer science, information management, or a related field, along with several years' related experience. A master's degree in business administration can increase career opportunities. Strategic business analysts may earn certification as a Certified Business Analysis Professional with a high school diploma, relevant experience, and references through the International Institute of Business Analysis. A strategic business analyst can expect to study business process evaluation, business management, analysis and design, business systems analysis and technology, business and IT trends, and requirements documentation.

Skills Required

Successful strategic business analysts are skilled in practicing various research methodologies and are able to balance the information gathering and human resources aspects of strategic business analysis. They also require powerful motivational and communication skills in order to successfully interact with a variety of project stakeholders who may have competing interests. As they are often independent consultants, they must be able to size up a business quickly and develop a rapport with others quickly.

Career and Economic Outlook

The job duties and responsibilities of strategic business analysts are closely related to those of management analysts, a competitive career expected to grow by 14% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that management analysts earned an annual median salary of $81,320 in 2015.

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Alternative Careers

Other analyst positions to consider include the following:

Budget Analyst

If helping an organization manage spending and keep expenditures within budget sounds interesting, consider becoming a budget analyst. These professionals work with management to analyze needs and develop a spending plan for their departments. They also make sure budgets meet regulatory requirements, find alternative ways to meet goals, track expenses, explore future spending needs, and analyze monetary requests.

To enter the field, a bachelor's degree in an area such as finance, accounting, statistics, or business is required, but a master's degree may be necessary for some positions in larger organizations. In 2015, the BLS estimated that approximately 56,300 budget analysts were employed nationwide and earned a median salary of $71,590 that year. Based on projections from the BLS, budget analysts should experience employment growth of 3% during the 2014-2024 decade.

Operations Research Analyst

Performing duties somewhat similar to a strategic business analyst, operations research analysts explore issues in areas of sales, supply chain management, or company productivity. They use mathematical and statistical methods to determine if prices are set at the right levels or if production and delivery practices can be improved to increase profits and efficiency. Operations analysts collect data during interviews and from computer system databases, compiling this information into reports for upper-level management to review.

A bachelor's degree in a research-oriented field such as mathematics, engineering, or computer science may be all that is necessary to find an entry-level job in this profession; however, many employers require a related master's degree. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for operations research analysts are predicted to grow by 30% between 2014 and 2024, resulting in the creation of over 27,000 new positions. These professionals earned a median income of $78,630 in 2015, as seen in BLS data.

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