Business analyst jobs involve developing or updating a computer system for their employers. They establish what the firm needs from its tech systems, then produce a brief for either an in-house IT team or an external supplier.
The business analyst then shepherds the development process so that the tech solution actually meets the company’s needs, and also supports the business to make any required changes in their own procedures and practices.
To be an effective business analyst, you need to be able to bridge the gap between tech workers and the business – which often means dealing with the senior leaders in your firm. So you’ll need great communication skills and an ability to think clearly and solve problems.
Having some understanding of IT and tech is very useful as you’ll need to understand what the tech specialists tell you. At the same time, you need to have a very clear understanding of what the business needs, and an ability to adapt when those needs change.
How to start a career as a business analyst
A degree in computer science or a related IT discipline is a good starting point, but there are also diplomas that can help you become a business analyst. If you are a recent graduate, there are graduate schemes for business analysts which can lead to quick career progression. Completing a course in Agile, Prince2 or Management of Risk methodologies is also helpful.
If you’re already in a job and want to make a career change, then you need to show you have the right skills and develop your experience by volunteering to get involved with activities like testing, software workshops or designing procedure manuals.
Core skills you can develop now to become a business analyst
In addition to problem-solving and general communication skills, it’s important to have the ability to provide excellent documentation. A significant part of the job is writing a clear and concise brief, and writing it quickly – in the agile world, you’re likely to have to write a new brief again very soon.
Other important skills include visual modelling techniques like work-flow diagrams which help people understand processes very quickly. It’s also important to be able to run workshops to both help elicit ideas for business solutions – or even just to establish what the problems area – and also to communicate new working practices when implementing a new system.
Why you should consider Bristol as a place to start a career as a business analyst
Bristol is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs, making it perfect for starting a career in a business analyst role. Bristol has attracted large numbers of firms working in the creative and digital sectors, attracted by the presence of major players in the creative and tech industries like Aardman Animations, the people behind Shaun the Sheep, and the BBC’s prestigious Natural History unit.
There are already 15,900 jobs in tech in Bristol and Bath, and industry is expected to grow at 20 percent each year, according to Creative Industries, a Government-funded organisation which promotes tech, video games, TV and design.
That’s not Bristol’s only pull factor. Contractors are in high demand in Bristol and freelance rates are almost as high as London. The average daily rate in London is £475 for a business analyst, according to itjobswatch.co.uk, whereas in Bristol it’s £398 a day. Since the cost of living is so much lower Bristol, it’s a highly attractive place for freelancers and contractors – £398 a day in Bristol is equivalent to £564 a day in London, according to cost of living index Numbeo.com.
Start looking for your business analyst job now
A career as a business analyst can be both demanding and rewarding. Acting as a bridge between senior business leaders and tech workers gives you great access to the decision-makers in your company, and that in turn can lead to some great opportunities if you’re on your game.
Since so many of a business analyst’s core skills are easily transferable and useful in the higher levels of management, you can also expect your career to progress with your successes.
With such impressive growth in tech and the creative industries in Bristol, it’s a good place to consider taking that next step with your career.