How to Become a Business Analyst [Degree Guide] | BestColleges (2023)

  • Business analysts work to improve a company's efficiency to drive growth.
  • Business analytics is data-driven, and professionals rely on business and data science skills.
  • Professionals need a bachelor's degree in business, data science, or related fields.
  • A master's degree in business or analytics can improve career and salary prospects.

Business analysts use data to analyze a company's processes, improve decision-making, and enhance outcomes. Business analysts work to identify goals, best practices, opportunities, and strategies to streamline processes. Responsibilities include monitoring costs and financial returns, meeting with stakeholders, and overseeing project completion.

Becoming a business analyst requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree, although many professionals hold graduate degrees. People who enjoy working with data and business statistics are well suited for this career. An aptitude for mathematics and computer science can help business analysts. Continue reading to discover how to become a business analyst.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to Start Your Journey?

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

A business analyst is responsible for analyzing business data and performance to improve decision-making within an organization. Business analysts use data to drive decision-making. A skilled business analyst can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and identify issues from organizational structures to staff development.

Business analysts follow different paths or may change careers as they rise to senior positions. Business analysts can move into jobs as senior analysts, technology architects, enterprise architects, or senior project managers. An advanced degree can create opportunities for senior positions in any of these careers.

Business Analyst Responsibilities

  • Create a business analysis that highlights problems and solutions.
  • Drive decisions through data.
  • Set pricing based on current analytics and performance.
  • Identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Report to the CEO and CFO to guide business decisions.
  • Meet with key stakeholders.
  • Set performance goals and monitor outcomes.

Business Analyst Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Business Administration Careers Link

Finance Careers Link

(Video) How to Become a Business Analyst

What Are the Steps to Become a Business Analyst?

To become a data analyst, the first step is to earn a bachelor's degree. Many professionals then gain experience in an entry-level position before completing a master's degree in business or data analytics. As the field of business statistics and small business statistics is evolving, professionals can benefit from continuing education or a specialization.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Business or Data Science

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average net cost of a four-year bachelor's degree ranged from $56,720 at a public institution to $112,200 at a private school in 2019-2020. In addition to specialized courses, bachelor's degree students gain a general education foundation which includes soft skills applicable to any workplace.

One of the most common degrees for business analysts is a bachelor's in business administration. Business analysts can also hold degrees in computer science, finance, economics, or accounting. Data science or computer information systems are two other options.

Common career advice is to choose a major that meets your interests and fits future career goals.

Step 2: Get an Entry-Level Business Analyst Job

For recent college graduates, finding and landing a job is the next step in their career trajectory. Students can consider career bridge programs, internship opportunities, and networking or mentorships to find the right fit.

Entry-level business analyst jobs are often available at large firms and corporations. Applicants can look for junior business analyst jobs. Consider companies with positive employee reviews and opportunities for advancement as a starting point.

According to Payscale, the average base salary for a junior business analyst was $50,870 as of July 2022. Many junior business analysts may be promoted to a business analyst within three years. Others choose to earn a master's degree after earning 1-2 years of experience.

Step 3: Earn Your Master's Degree

While it's not necessary to go to graduate school as a business analyst, it can help you build advanced skills for career growth.

(Video) What College Degree Do I Need To Become A Business Analyst?

Common master's degrees for business analysts include business analytics, business intelligence, business administration (MBA), or data science. Students who do not want to commit to a graduate degree can consider alternatives like business certificate programs.

For many students, the potential debt from going to graduate school can be a major factor. Total tuition can vary widely by institution. NCES data reports that the average tuition and fees of graduate school was $19,749 per year in 2020-2021. Business analysts can choose MBA specializations including data science or business statistics.

According to Payscale, the average salary of a senior business analyst with less than one year of experience is $74,000, as of August 2022. That exceeds $23,000 more per year than the average salary for junior data analysts.

Step 4: Get a Job as a Business Analyst

With a master's degree, graduates are prepared to apply for positions as a business analyst or senior business analyst. According to Payscale August 2022 data, the average salary for all business analysts is $64,330. The top 10% of senior business analysts earn an average salary of $118,000.

Common specializations for business analysts include:

  • Strategic planning
  • Market approaches
  • Improving workflows and process design
  • Optimizing system requirements

Professionals should look for companies with a good culture and opportunities for career growth.

Step 5: Consider Continuing Education or a Specialization

It's a good idea for business analysts to pursue continuing education to stay ahead of improving data systems and business best practices. Professionals can earn certificates for advanced training or specialized skills that can lead to a higher salary or promotion.

There are also Ph.D. programs in business analytics. A further advanced degree opens academic careers in research or as a university professor. Some doctoral degree-holders choose to pursue business analytics careers in government or private corporations.

Possible specializations or research areas include:

  • Multivariate analysis
  • Data mining
  • Simulation
  • Data analytics
  • Data structures
  • Applied statistics

What to Know Before Becoming a Business Analyst

Accreditation

Students should choose an accredited college for all bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Accredited colleges are held to rigorous academic standards to ensure students' general education and degree-specific preparation. Online schools and programs are also accredited to ensure academic quality and career potential.

(Video) How To Become A Business Analyst With Little To No Experience!

Licensing and Certification

Licensing or certification is not required to work as a business analyst. However, certifications can lead to career growth. Common certifications for business analysts, such as those from the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), include:

  • Academic business analysis certificate
  • Certification of competency in business analysis
  • Certified foundation level business analyst
  • Professional in business analysis

Cost

According to a BestColleges data report, the average cost of a four-year bachelor's degree is $56,720 or more. Tuition and fees for graduate degrees in the U.S. cost an average of $12,394 per year at public institutions, as per NCES data.

Students should consider true program costs, which include tuition, fees, room and board, transportation, hidden college costs, and lost income while attending school. Students can compare costs of on-campus and online programs to find a program that suits their lifestyle.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial analysts earned a median salary of $81,410 in 2021. Management analysts earned a median salary of $93,000.

According to Payscale, the average salary for senior business analysts is $87,890 as of August 2022. For junior business analysts, the average salary is $50,870.

New York, Alaska, and Connecticut are states with the highest average annual wage for financial analysts, according to the BLS. Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Illinois are the highest-paying states for management analysts, as per the BLS.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Business Analyst

What qualifications do you need to become a business analyst?

Becoming a business analyst requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Many business analysts go on to earn advanced degrees such as an MBA with a specialization in business analytics, or a master's in data analytics. Degrees and certifications can build high-demand skills and experience necessary for advancement.

Professionals can consider certifications for further career growth. These include:

  • Agile analysis certification
  • Academic business analysis certificate
  • Certification of competency in business analysis
  • Certified foundation level business analyst
  • Professional in business analysis

What is the fastest way to become a business analyst?

The fastest way to become a business analyst is to earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in business, finance, data analytics, or a related field. After earning a bachelor's, graduates can apply for entry-level business analyst positions.

A typical bachelor's degree takes four years to complete. With accelerated programs or summer semesters students can complete a bachelor's degree in three years.

(Video) What Qualifications Do I Need To Become A BA - Business Analyst Training

Students can finish a bachelor's degree faster by earning credit for work experience or AP coursework. Taking more courses online or completing an online degree are other options to complete a bachelor's degree faster.

How do I become a business analyst without a degree?

Most companies prefer to hire professionals with a minimum of a bachelor's degree. However, it may be possible to gain experience and become a business analyst without a degree.

Some professionals choose to take on projects that demonstrate their ability to identify problems and implement meaningful change. Professionals can practice the skills used in business analysis, including:

  • Volunteer with a nonprofit and work to improve operational efficiency.
  • Write case studies of marketing problems and strategies businesses can take to solve them.
  • Look at business situations in your current position and suggest ways for technological automation or to streamline processes.

In all cases, be sure to document the steps you took and the results to demonstrate your experience and expertise to potential employers.

Can I become a business analyst with an online degree?

Accredited online degrees require the same rigorous academic standards as on campus degrees. Students can earn an online degree in business, economics, data science, or computer science and become a business analyst. Accredited online bachelor's degrees are widely accepted by employers and graduate programs.

Online degrees give students more flexibility to adapt their schedule to personal commitments or to work schedules. With an online degree, students benefit from many of the same faculty as on-campus students.

How much money can I make as a business analyst?

Earning potential for business analysts depends on each professional's degrees, certifications, and years of experience. Salaries are also relative to the region, cost of living, and the individual company.

According to Payscale, the top 10% of earners with the title junior business analyst earned an average salary of $67,000 per year. The top 10% of senior business analysts earned an average annual salary of $118,000. The average salary for all senior business analysts was $87,890 as of August 2022.

In related careers, the BLS reports that the top 10% of financial analysts earned a median of $166,560 in 2021. The highest-paid 10% of management analysts earned $163,760, as per BLS data.

FAQs

Which degree should I do to become a business analyst? ›

Any degree that teaches analytical skills can be useful for this role. Some employers may prefer you to have a degree or postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject, such as: business information systems. business management.

How do I become a business analyst for beginners? ›

Skills Required to Become Business Analyst
  1. Degree and Domain Knowledge. You should hold a degree in the relevant field. ...
  2. Analytical Skills. Business analysts must possess analytical skills, along with logical and critical thinking. ...
  3. Microsoft Excel. ...
  4. Negotiation Skills. ...
  5. SQL. ...
  6. Programming. ...
  7. Data Visualization. ...
  8. Communication Skills.
30 Nov 2022

How do I pass business analytics exam? ›

We recommend the following tips that can help you pass the Business Analysis Certification:
  1. Keep your eye on the time.
  2. Don't change your mind if you are unsure of the answer.
  3. Skip questions you don't know the answer for.
  4. Read the questions first, then the answer, and then the scenario.
5 Jun 2020

How much IT knowledge is enough for a business analyst? ›

A bachelor's degree in information technology and at least three years of expertise with computer programmes are required. You must be a Microsoft Office professional, including Project, with great written and oral communication abilities. You'll need to be an expert in data analysis and have programming skills.

How many years does it take to become a business analyst? ›

It takes 4-years to become a business analyst.

Around 66% of business analysts have a bachelor's degree and 17% have master's degrees. The qualifications needed to become a successful business analyst include a bachelor's degree, certifications, and on-the-job experience.

Is business analyst hard to study? ›

Business analysis is a varied and demanding career which utilises many skills including problem solving, relationship management and time management. It can be very satisfying but is NOT an easy ride. It is important that you enjoy a challenge and see that providing you with job satisfaction.

Is business analyst a 9 5 job? ›

Business Analysis is Not a 9 to 5 Job.

Is business analyst a lot of math? ›

Contrary to popular belief, business analytics does not involve extensive coding, math, or knowledge of computer science. It's a great career fit for those who enjoy solving complex problems and offering practical conclusions based on real business data.

Can you become a business analyst with no experience? ›

Can You Become a Business Analyst With No Experience? In short, yes. While many organizations seek candidates who have at least some experience in a business analyst role, there are ways to work around this requirement by developing and demonstrating the skills needed to do the job of BA.

Is business analyst easy to learn? ›

If you desire to begin your career as a Business Analyst but are unsure where to start, or have begun the process but got lost along the way, then you are at the right place. I'm here to tell you the truth. The path to becoming a Business Analyst is not short nor easy.

Is business analytics high paying? ›

Business analytics is one of the highest-paid data analytics jobs.

Is business analytics a stressful job? ›

Business analysis could become stressful in some way at some point in time. But it doesn't mean, only your job is stressful and other jobs are easy to do. Every job could lead to a stressful situation but it is up to the person, how he/she handles it.

What is the most difficult part of being a business analyst? ›

One of the biggest challenges that business analysts face is knowing the project scope. The project scope is the “what” and “why” of a project. It is the foundation of a business analyst's job. Answering the “what” and “why” gives us a clear picture of our role in the project and how we will be involved.

What are the 3 most important skills an analyst should possess? ›

Critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making are three crucial strengths that are required from a good business analyst.

Does business analyst do coding? ›

While the ability to program is helpful for a career in analytics, being able to write code isn't necessarily required to work as an analytics professional. Apart from the above languages, statistical software such as SPSS, SAS, Sage, Mathematica, and even Excel can be used when managing and analyzing data.

Can I learn business analytics in 3 months? ›

Tuition and term of program

The Business Analytics Nanodegree program is comprised of content and curriculum to support four (4) projects. We estimate that students can complete the program in three (3) months working 10 hours per week.

Can a business analyst make 100k? ›

Yes, you can make $100,000 per year as a business analyst.

The chances of earning over $100k for a business analyst are actually pretty good because the highest-paid business analyst positions typically pay at least $106,000 per year. The average annual salary is $80,312 for business analyst jobs.

Is business analyst an IT job? ›

In simple terms, a Business Analyst bridges the role of IT and business while improving the company's overall efficiency.

Which field is best for business analyst? ›

A Business Analyst's Educational Qualifications

Subjects such as business administration, business analytics, and business information systems are good options for jobs in this field, as are business degrees in operations management, human resources, logistics, finance, accounting, math, and marketing.

How many hours does a BA work? ›

Business analysts typically work a standard a 40-hour week, but flexible hours and overtime may be sometimes be required.

What software do business analysts use? ›

Business analysts typically rely on software such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Access, SQL, Google Analytics and Tableau. These tools help BAs collect and sort data, create graphs, write documents and design visualizations to explain the findings.

Is business analyst a stable job? ›

Yes, becoming a business analyst is a good career path.

There is demand for business analysts in numerous areas, as most businesses need professionals that understand both business and technical principles.

What business degree uses the least math? ›

Business Majors That Require Less Math
  • Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership.
  • Master of Science in Management.
  • Master of Leadership.
5 Mar 2020

Can I do business analytics without maths? ›

business analytics does not involve extensive coding, math, or knowledge of computer science. It's a great career fit for those who enjoy solving complex problems and offering practical conclusions based on real business data. You do not need to be a maths or coding genius to be a business analyst.

Do business analysts use Python? ›

Python is one of the most popular languages for business analytics today and continues to grow at an astonishing rate. It's commonly considered one of the easier programming languages to read and learn—its programming syntax is simple and its commands mimic the English language.

What are the disadvantages of being a business analyst? ›

The challenges facing Business Analysts
  • Misconception of BA's scope of work. ...
  • Created specifications do not satisfy the needs of the development team. ...
  • Changing requirements or business needs. ...
  • Conflicts with stakeholders. ...
  • Undocumented processes.

Is MBA or business analytics better? ›

For a career in the data science industry, MS in business analytics will be the best decision. While to broaden their points of view, MBA will be the most ideal choice.

What type of analyst earns the most? ›

Hardware and networking analysts and consultants typically earn more than, say, market research analysts (a more common role).

What is the highest paid field in business? ›

Highest-paying business jobs
  • Corporate controller. ...
  • Portfolio manager. ...
  • Tax manager. ...
  • Finance manager. ...
  • Financial controller. Most common major: Accounting. ...
  • Financial advisor. Most common major: Finance. ...
  • Financial/securities/investment analyst. Most common major: Finance. ...
  • CPA. Most common major: Accounting.

Is business analyst a happy career? ›

Business Analyst is a good career because it offers strong salaries, plentiful job opportunities, and BAs generally report high job satisfaction and work-life balance. Another perk of a career in business analysis: the possibilities are endless.

Are business analysts happy? ›

According to over 1,000 PayScale reviews, business analysts rated the job 3.8 out of 5 stars. Professionals like that the field is fast-paced and competitive. There are also a lot of social and work opportunities.

What skills are needed to be a business analyst? ›

Business Analyst Skills
  • Analytical Problem Solving capabilities.
  • Interpersonal and consultative skills.
  • Oral and written communication proficiency.
  • Creative Outlook.
  • Basic software knowledge and skills.
  • Basic programing language knowledge.
  • Understanding of Databases and Networks.
  • Industry knowledge.

Is business analyst a good career for introverts? ›

If you are an introvert like me (accidental confession) and are contemplating the career switch to a business analyst, congratulations! This is one of the best career paths suitable for your personality type.

Which company pays highest to business analyst? ›

Salaries in India
  • Tata Consultancy Services. Business Analyst. ₹7,90,000. ...
  • 4.0★ Deloitte. Business Analyst. ...
  • Accenture. Business Analyst. ₹7,26,820. ...
  • Genpact. Business Analyst. ₹6,63,606. ...
  • Evalueserve. Business Analyst. ₹6,50,419. ...
  • EXL Service. Business Analyst. ...
  • Cognizant Technology Solutions. Business Analyst. ...
  • Wipro. Business Analyst.

How can I improve my BA skills? ›

How to improve your Business Analysis competency
  1. Understand Your Stakeholders: ...
  2. Understand the Business Context: ...
  3. Plan the Business Analysis Work: ...
  4. Set Initiative Scope: ...
  5. Develop Solution Requirements and Design Definition: ...
  6. Manage the scope: ...
  7. Evaluate the Solution: ...
  8. 20 Lines to Write Before Starting Your Pitch Deck.
23 Mar 2019

Is SQL required for business analyst? ›

With big data and relational databases being the new norm for most companies, SQL knowledge is a prerequisite for almost any business analyst job.

What is business analyst in simple words? ›

Business analysts are agents of change—professionals who analyze a business or organization, by documenting its systems and processes, assessing its business model, identifying vulnerabilities, and devising solutions. Business analysts go by many other job titles, including: Business Architect.

Does business analyst have future? ›

Once a Business Analyst gain's knowledge he/she can become a Project manager, Functional consultant, a product owner/analyst, Pre-sales consultant, or can even become IT PMO in the organization since the exposure is more across SDLC.

Do business analysts work from home? ›

They can work full-time, part-time, freelance, or as independent contractors across a variety of career fields. And, because much of the business analyst role includes data analysis and visualization (think: crunching numbers and creating graphs and pie charts), in many cases, their work can be done remotely.

Is business analyst a creative job? ›

Business analysts advocate for the business while communicating what can be achieved with available technology. They way business analyst will transfer the information from one side to another requires creativity.

What should I do after 12th to become a business analyst? ›

Business Analysis: Eligibility Requirements

Candidates must have passed Graduation with a minimum 50% marks from a recognized university. Some courses may require work experience of 2 to 3 years. For the PGDM course and MBA course, a candidate must have passed CAT/MAT/XAT/other management entrance exams.

Is business analytics a BS or BA? ›

Educational Path for Business Analysis. The degree is referred to most often as a Bachelor of Science or Arts in Business Analytics or Applied Business Analytics at the undergraduate level.

Do I need an MBA to be a business analyst? ›

Do I Need an MBA to Be a Business Analyst? Although there are no set educational requirements for business analysts, most professionals have at least a bachelor's degree, and it is becoming more common for a business analyst to have a master's degree.

How do I become a business analyst with no experience? ›

  1. Learn Business Analysis Fundamentals. ...
  2. Take a Data Analytics Course. ...
  3. Work on Projects to Develop Your Practical Data Analytics Skills. ...
  4. Develop Visualizations and Practice Presenting Them. ...
  5. Develop a Business Analyst Portfolio to Showcase Your Work. ...
  6. Apply to Relevant Business Analyst Jobs.

Is Excel required for business analyst? ›

The BAs are usually expected to have advanced or expert spreadsheet skills to qualify for an open role or contract. They regard the abilities to organise data, use Excel features, effectively use spreadsheets to draw insights from data, teach others how to use new systems and stay efficient and business-oriented.

Can introvert become business analyst? ›

What I want you to take away from this is that there's no reason that as an introvert, you shouldn't be a business analyst or you can't be a business analyst, or, really, any role that involves so much critical and analytical thinking. You have a lot of skills that are going to serve you really well in this role.

Videos

1. Business Analyst Training: How To Do Requirements Gathering?
(TheBATutor)
2. How To Switch Careers To Become A Business Analyst?
(TheBATutor)
3. How to Become a Business Analyst with No Experience | Business Analyst | Intellipaat
(Intellipaat)
4. Quick Guide to Becoming a Business Analyst (for Developers) + Resume Advice
(Angelo Kalevela)
5. Getting Business Analysis Certified - What You Need to Know
(Angelo Kalevela)
6. My Path to Becoming a Business Analyst - The BA Guide
(Jeremy Aschenbrenner)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jeremiah Abshire

Last Updated: 02/11/2023

Views: 6713

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jeremiah Abshire

Birthday: 1993-09-14

Address: Apt. 425 92748 Jannie Centers, Port Nikitaville, VT 82110

Phone: +8096210939894

Job: Lead Healthcare Manager

Hobby: Watching movies, Watching movies, Knapping, LARPing, Coffee roasting, Lacemaking, Gaming

Introduction: My name is Jeremiah Abshire, I am a outstanding, kind, clever, hilarious, curious, hilarious, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.