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Business Analyst Career Ladder

Aug 23, 2019

Business analysts have a diverse background in technology and business, as well as an understanding of how to improve corporate efficiency and workflow. A skilled individual in this field has several opportunities for advancement.

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Career Advancement for Business Analysts

A business analyst, also referred to as a management analyst, examines a business's workflow, structure, and technology in order to make recommendations for improved efficiency. Business analysts must have a broad background in business and technology in order to understand how IT infrastructures impact various areas of a corporation. Because of this, most have a bachelor's in business administration or a similar field along with IT-related coursework or work experience. Business analysts can work in a wide number of professional sectors, including finance, industry, and information technology. Advancement for a business analyst can happen through an IT specialization, or by moving up the ladder through increased work experience in his or her chosen industry. A few common career options are examined here, including qualifications beyond a bachelor's degree for each.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2016-26)** Qualifications
IT Business Analyst $67,994 14% (management analysts) Master's in information technology or similar; previous IT business analyst experience; knowledge of database & other computer languages
Technical Product and Program Manager $104,508 12% (computer and information systems managers) Several years of related experience; industry-specific work experience
Senior Business Analyst $83,938 14% (management analysts) Several years as a business analyst; industry-specific work experience
Senior Business Consultant $91,641 14% (management analysts) Client/supplier experience

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information

IT Business Analyst

A business analyst with a strong background in information technology can specialize in IT business analysis. An IT business analyst focuses on the IT infrastructure and its effects on the corporation's overall efficiency. He or she provides management with improvement recommendations for software, hardware, and overall IT operations. A strong understanding of database languages, as well as a working knowledge of other computer languages, is a must. Also needed are skills in finance and communication. A standard requirement is a master's in information technology or similar degree, though some employers may value previous IT business analysis experience more than an advanced degree. Consultant agencies and large corporations are common employers for this role.

Technical Product and Program Manager

A possible next step for a business analyst with an IT specialization could be a job as a technical product and program manager. The experience provided as a business analyst would prove valuable to this role, which requires a keen eye for improving progress, productivity, and quality on multiple, simultaneous projects. Technical product and program managers are responsible for technical projects from conception through completion. They often oversee other staff, and therefore must be skilled leaders and clear communicators. Most technical product and program managers have a bachelor's degree in a technical or business field. An average of 5-7 years of related experience, as well as work experience in the employer's industry, are common requirements.

Senior Business Analyst

An experienced business analyst can also find advancement as a senior business analyst. While the two roles are similar, greater knowledge brings greater responsibility in terms of project complexity. Senior business analysts are expected to understand all aspects of their clients' or employers' companies, identifying strengths and outlining weaknesses toward the goal of improving overall efficiency. Strong communication, scheduling, resource management, and data analysis are just a few skills needed for this job. In addition to a bachelor's degree in a business-related field, qualifications can include several years as a business analyst as well as work experience in the employer's specific industry.

Senior Business Consultant

A working knowledge of a large variety of business operations such as data analysis, effective management, project tracking, and corporate initiatives can lead a business analyst to advance into the role of senior business consultant. Senior business consultants use their expertise to advise clients on factors that affect cost, quality, and customer satisfaction. They also manage budgets and corporate forecasts. Interpersonal and communication skills are vital, as their success largely depends on an ability to communicate updates and advice to their corporate clients. A bachelor's in business or a related field and experience in a client/supplier setting are common minimum requirements.

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