Those who pursue a career as a business analyst work alongside management professionals to examine a business' or project's productivity, plan business goals and objectives, analyze past business data, and evaluate quality control aspects of a business. A high school diploma is required to be a business analyst, and they typically obtain a bachelor's degree in business administration and at least three years of experience in business analysis, project management, and business planning.
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Business analysts need problem solving skills in order to evaluate conflicts and find appropriate business solutions. Business administration programs teach these essential skills. Students in a business administration bachelor's degree program learn how businesses operate and maintain financial and organizational success.
Students take core courses in communications, legal aspects of business, economics and mathematics. Most business administration programs provide internship opportunities for students to gain practical business experience. Common business administration courses include:
- Business law
- Organizational behavior and management
- Accounting and financial concepts
- Business statistics and analytics
- Operations management
- Marketing and advertising
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Business analysts are not required to be licensed or certified. However, voluntary certification from the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) can lead to improved career prospects. Some business analysts choose to obtain project management certification, which also demonstrates proficiency in business.
Business analysts with at least five years of experience can obtain the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) credential from the IIBA. Analysts must have a high school diploma and at least 21 hours of business analysis training. They must pass a comprehensive exam that is based on the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, an extensive guide that addresses all aspects of business analysis, including analysis planning, elicitation, requirements management and enterprise analysis. Analysts must also provide two professional references and adhere to a strict code of ethics in order to obtain certification.
Some business analysts seek the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, which they can obtain from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Because project management is closely tied to business analysis, PMP certification can demonstrate business operational knowledge and management skills. To obtain certification, business analysts must have at least three years of project management experience. They must complete 35 hours of project management training and pass a comprehensive exam. Business analysts are not required to be members of PMI to obtain certification, but a membership offers discounts on certification fees.
The business administration departments of universities often hold business analysis and project management workshops. These workshops typically last only a few hours, though 1- and 2-day extended seminars may also be available. The IIBA offers a series of online workshops and seminars covering everything from information management to creating strategic performance objectives. Online seminars are typically presented by professional business consulting and analysis companies.
The IIBA offers business analysts a wealth of continuing education and professional development resources. The organization provides access to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, as well as a database of informative articles regarding trends in business analysis. Analysts can take advantage of blogs, forums, communities and a bookstore offered by the IIBA. Additionally, a career center allows job seekers and employers to post and reply to business analysis positions across the world.
The most common form of education for business analysts is a bachelor's degree. Combined with on-the-job experience, these programs can teach you the skills necessary to thrive in your chosen career and lead the way for certification and other continuing education credentials.