what is a business analyst?

As a business analyst, you assess a company's needs and help it achieve its strategic goals. You create analytical models to identify shortcomings in various departments and areas for improvement. You develop solutions based on your analysis and find new opportunities for business expansion. Having identified areas of weakness, you create new systems to boost productivity and increase profits. Business analysts also help businesses optimise costs by assisting with budgeting and financial reporting. For instance, you evaluate areas with high costs in the company and find solutions to limit expenses without affecting productivity. As a business analyst, you support a business during transition periods and help the organisation achieve its goals by providing data-driven insights. You can work internally in any industry to help improve profitability. Some business analysts work for technology and software development organisations, while others work for management consultancy firms serving multiple organisations. The role requires exceptional problem-solving skills and critical thinking, as every day brings new challenges. You also require excellent interpersonal skills to collaborate with various professionals. Would working as a business analyst suit your problem-solving skills and critical thinking ability? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a business analyst role.

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average business analyst salary

According to National Careers, the average compensation package for business analysts in the UK ranges from £22,000 to £55,000 per year. Entry-level business analysts with less experience and skills earn as little as £22,000 annually, while experts in the field can take home a salary of over £55,000 a year.

how to increase the salary of a business analyst

As a business analyst, your role involves investigating corporate circumstances to identify areas for improvement. That means your tasks vary depending on the size of the company. When you work for a small start-up, you analyse data from all departments. However, in larger companies, the tasks are complex since they collect a lot of data. A business analyst in a large company earns more than those in start-ups. Your experience and qualifications also influence your earnings. For instance, you can negotiate a higher compensation package when you have extra certifications.

The location also influences the salaries of business analysts. Working in a large city increases your salary prospects, as large cities have a high demand for business analysts, and employers factor in the cost of living.

smiling female looking back
smiling female looking back

types of business analysts

Some of the types of business analysts include:

  • business process analyst: as a business process analyst, you evaluate business processes and recommend changes. You collect data from various processes and create a process map that examines corporate workflows and identifies opportunities for automation or other money-saving measures.
  • business systems analyst: as a business systems analyst, you use technology to analyse a company's operating systems. For instance, you check the effectiveness of the information technology systems in automating company processes. You also recommend upgrades or the introduction of new technologies to improve efficiency.
  • generalist business analyst: as a generalist business analyst, you combine process and systems analysis to create the best practices for data collection and evaluation. You also identify areas for improvement in the company and suggest growth opportunities.

working as a business analyst

As a business analyst, you assist companies in making informed decisions by generating business intelligence to support the viability of various decisions. Let's explore business analysts' daily duties, work schedules and job outlook.


education and skills

Business analysts require the following academic qualifications:

  • university education: a business analyst requires knowledge of business analytics, and any degree that imparts analytical skills is useful in the role. Pursue an undergraduate degree in business information systems, computing and systems development or business management. Entry requirements for degree courses are 2 to 3 A-Levels.
  • apprenticeship: find an apprenticeship programme and gain the necessary skills. For instance, a project management higher degree apprenticeship or a business analyst higher apprenticeship prepares you for the role.
  • work experience: you will have a competitive advantage if you gain experience in the role. For instance, an internship or work placement helps you learn how to manage projects and analyse data. Also, consider entry-level roles in analytics to learn the skills.

business analyst skills and competencies

As well as academic qualifications, a business analyst requires personal attributes relevant to the role. Some of the desirable soft skills include:

  • communication skills: as a business analyst, you interact with clients and business executives to explain the outcomes of your analysis. You require exceptional communication skills to communicate effectively. Active listening skills enable you to understand your client's needs and answer questions about your presentations.
  • critical thinking skills: anyone can research and present findings, but they may not be viable. As a business analyst, critical thinking enables you to evaluate the solutions generated by your analysis and determine their viability. Critical thinking skills help you make informed decisions.
  • research skills: as a business analyst, you provide viable solutions to the management. That means you conduct extensive research to collect the necessary data for decision-making. Your research skills help you identify problems in the business and develop solutions to optimise costs and grow the business.
  • technical knowledge: as a business analyst, your primary role is to optimise business operations. You require technological experience and extensive knowledge of statistical modelling tools and other IT systems to excel in your role.
  • problem-solving skills: as a business analyst, you solve problems in business operations. For instance, you identify departments with low productivity or high expenses and identify the causes. Your problem-solving skills help you deal with unexpected problems and develop viable solutions.
colleagues having a conversation, monitor showing data in the foreground
colleagues having a conversation, monitor showing data in the foreground

FAQs about working as a business analyst

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a business analyst.

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