Business Analyst

Modern-day businesses are a complex web of next-gen technology, outdated systems, and everything in between. The way businesses operate is always changing for the better as new solutions are put in place and refinements are added to existing processes. Business Analysts play a huge role in making this possible and are often some of the most crucial players when it comes to the success of a business. 

But what exactly is a Business Analyst? Put simply, the role of a Business Analyst is to collect and interpret data from various sources and use that data to improve the company’s systems and processes. The changes made can be small, minor improvements, or complete overhauls to existing operations. The recommendations made to senior management can make an enormous difference to the success of the company, and that’s why an effective Business Analyst will be seen as an important individual within the organisational structure.

Duties and responsibilities - What does a Business Analyst do?

The job description of a Business Analyst will vary from business to business depending on what the current objectives are. The ultimate goal of a Business Analyst is to find a solution for a specific problem or area of improvement. To do so, they will take into account plenty of research and business data to articulate a potential solution to managers. With this in mind, Business Analyst jobs can be viewed as the middlemen between IT teams and managerial staff. 

In more detail, there will be a range of duties in any given working week, including the likes of:

  • Identifying problems and recommending appropriate action based on statistical data to senior management and relevant department heads
  • Preparing reports on efficiencies and inefficiencies and communicating such information to those who need it
  • The development of in-depth E2E test cases to improve business systems
  • Supervising, training, and recruiting members of the team for both short- and long-term departmental development
  • Overseeing quality control issues regarding processes and identifying the potential for improvement
  • Researching new technological developments that could help the company’s systems become more effective and more efficient

In some organisations, the Business Analyst role will be in a stand-alone department often working along with System Analysts, while in many others it will sit within the IT section.

Qualities needed for a successful Business Analyst

Ideally, candidates will have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a discipline related to business information, computer science, systems development, or business management. However, it is worth noting that some corporations are willing to hire those with degrees in other areas or even lesser qualified individuals if they show certain personality traits instead, and have experience of analysis and analytics. If this is your case, it is recommended to explore options such as internships or more junior positions to try to get an easier entry into the industry. 

The traits and skills needed to be a successful Business Analyst will be centred on the ability to identify potential issues, to act upon them and to liaise with others along the way. Accordingly, ideal candidates for such a role will invariably have an analytical mind, be effective problem solvers, and be determined individuals with a methodical approach and a strong desire to make a difference. They will also need to be a good communicator, especially when discussing issues with senior management. For many jobs, this is crucial as Business Analysts will be expected to explain the basis of their thoughts and ideas in a non-technical way. 

Ideally, Business Analyst candidates will need to be skilled researchers and will fully understand the concept of data modelling, descriptive analysis, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics. They will also have a strong awareness of business management and an understanding of the latest trends in the way national and international commerce operates.

Relevant experience in this area will help in finding several suitable vacancies that will open interesting career avenues. Similar roles which could help in becoming a Business Analyst include Enterprise Analyst, Business Architect, Functional Analyst and Business Systems Analyst.

Qualifications and technical skills - How to become a Business Analyst?

While deep technical knowledge is generally not required, experience with data visualisation tools such Tableau, Power BI and Google Data Studio is useful, especially for data modelling of large data sets. Machine learning is also increasingly used for forecasting and data mining, so experience here is often considered preferential. For those with a more hands-on approach programming in Python and visualisation with tools such Jupyter Notebooks is often utilised.

Industry-specific qualifications can be a prerequisite and are available from several accredited bodies:

  • BCS, The Charted Institute of IT
  • IIBA, The international Institute of Business Analysis
  • PMI, Project Management Institute
  • APMG, which includes a specialist Agile Business Management certification

It is also worth noting that many people become Business Analysts after working in other fields such as accounting or in tech. The skills and experience gained in these jobs can be highly transferable to a Business Analyst role.

Career development - What is the next step after Business Analyst?

As a career path, the role of Business Analyst can be extremely rewarding. Many of the most successful in this role will have started as a Junior Business Analyst and worked their way up Lead Business Analyst along the way. In the latter position, responsibilities will include a greater emphasis on planning, often with a ‘bigger picture’ approach to the employer’s systems and processes. This can lead to senior Project Management, data analysis, and portfolio manager roles among more. Some of the most successful candidates will even be able to find their way into C-suite positions for a very fruitful career. 

The skills gained from spending years as a Business Analyst could also be invaluable for those who have the goal of starting and running their own business later down the line. Being able to identify inefficiencies and provide solutions among much more are qualities that good managers possess. 

Salary and remuneration - How much does a Business Analyst make?

Salary packages for Business Analysts are commensurate with the value added to the business and generally command a good salary. The full package will depend on the experience of the individual and the scope of the overall role. With a good CV and a quality track-record, experienced Business Analysts are sure to attract businesses with a large budget. 

Is being a Business Analyst a well-respected career choice?

Business Analyst jobs are well respected all around the world, including Hong Kong. Especially in such a competitive business environment, Business Analysts are in high demand. This ensures plenty of job opportunities and the ability to command higher salaries. On the whole, Business Analysts are reported to have high job satisfaction. 

Find your next Business Analyst role with Michael Page

Michael Page prides itself on being able to connect thousands of individuals with their dream jobs. We have connections in a huge array of industries looking for skilled Business Analysts to add to their teams. Click the link below to browse some of the currently available roles. 

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