A business analyst is often seen as the communication bridge between business managers and executives and the IT department. Business analysts take responsibility for talking to business users of computer systems and understanding what their needs are. Rather than producing plans, the business analyst is tasked with producing requirements that clearly state business needs and that they align with current business processes.
With a degree in business analysis or a related field, you can launch an exciting business career on the edge of innovation, and work in many rewarding business management roles.
What Is A Business Analyst?
A business analyst analyzes business processes, the structure of organizations, goals and procedures to identify current and potential problems and to determine solutions based upon detailed information. As the bridge between management and the IT department, the business analyst develops strategies to enhance efficiency, regain the competitive edge, increase business productivity and reduce expenses.
The business analyst also makes suggestions to management about what possible changes to be made regarding IT policies, IT structure and IT operations. When there are problems detected, the business analyst should carry out business management techniques to come to a solution.
To be successful, you should be skilled with SQL so that you can properly analyze data from various databases. Strong mathematical and cost benefit analysis skills are also needed.
The US economy is in expansion mode, and many business, finance and management professionals are needed to fill available jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports the employment of all business and financial operations occupations will rise by 10% from 2016 to 2026. This is faster than average for all occupations with approximately 773,000 new jobs coming.
One of the best opportunities for professionals with a business analyst degree is the job of management analyst. A management analyst is also called a management consultant and proposes new ways for an organization to improve their efficiency. Management consultants provide managers and executives with advice to make the organizations more profitable through reducing costs and increasing revenues.
There were 806,000 management analysts and consultants working in the US as of 2016. The biggest employers of these professionals were in the following industries:
- Professional, scientific and technical services: 30%
- Self employed: 17%
- Government: 17%
- Finance and insurance: 11%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 5%
It is estimated that the employment of management analysts will rise by 14% by 2026, which is faster than average. Demand for management consulting and business analyst services should rise as companies want to improve efficiency and cut costs in a more competitive global environment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for management analysts and business analysts was $82,400 in 2017. The top 10% earned more than $152,000 per year. Salaries by industry were as follows:
- Professional, scientific and technical services: $87,800
- Management of companies and enterprises: $82,900
- Finance and insurance: $81,700
- Government: $78,200
According to US News and World Report, some of the best cities to work as a management or business analyst are:
- Charlottesville VA: $143,500
- Punta Gorda FL: $142,700
- Nassau County NY: $131,600
- San Jose CA: $122,800
- Lawrence KS: $121,400
Online Degree Programs
One of the big advantages of going to college today is that you can earn all types of business degrees online. It is possible to attend college in another town, state or even country by taking your program online. This gives you the chance to attend a program you may not have otherwise attended and do so while continuing to work full or part time if you like.
Southern New Hampshire University
A solid online degree program for those who aspire to be business analysts is the Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics from Southern New Hampshire University. This is a four year, online program that will put you on the fast track to a very successful business analyst career. In today’s modern business world, businesses generate and collect huge amounts of data every day. That amount is growing daily. Being able to analyze this data effectively and apply the conclusions to business strategies in the real world is a skill in great demand.
With a business analytics degree from SNHU, you can be employed in fields such as analytics consulting, business strategy, data mining, statistical analysis, predictive analysis, management consulting and data analytics.
To get your foot in the door in your business analyst career, earning a bachelor’s degree in business analysis or a related field is a good move. You can earn your Bachelor of Science in Business Analysis and Management from Bellevue University. As all kinds of businesses are relying more upon computer systems and networks, there is more need today for business analysts who grasp the needs of organizations and are able to develop strategic and smart solutions.
This online degree program can be completed in less than four years and focuses on these areas:
- Defining business strategies
- Assessing business cases
- How to develop IT solutions
- Analyzing IT systems
- Organizational management
- Understanding business requirements
Master’s or MBA Degree
To move to the top of the business analysis field, you may need to earn a master’s degree or MBA. A good choice is the Master of Science in Business Analytics from Arizona State University and the W.P. Carey Business School. This program can be taken either on campus or through the university’s online portal.
For the online master’s degree, this business analytics degree is a 16 month program that has a state of the art curriculum, and the courses and professors are the same as the professors who teach the on campus program. Both the online and campus based master’s programs are accredited by the AACSB, so you know that the degree is of the highest quality. Students take courses that are five weeks in length, and the career services team is fully dedicated to the busy lives of working professionals.
Arizona State University is well respected, and is ranked #6 in online MBA programs by the Princeton Review. It also is ranked by US News and World Report as the #2 online graduate business school for veterans.
All universities have their own requirements for admission. But at the master’s degree level, these are some of the common requirements to be considered for admission:
- Undergraduate degree in business or a related field
- College transcripts
- GRE or GMAT scores
- 0 or higher GPA
- Current resume
- Writing samples
The curriculum for the ASU master’s program mentioned earlier includes these classes:
- Enterprise Analytics
- Data Mining
- Business Analytics Strategy
- Introduction to Applied Analytics
- Data Driven Quality Management
- Analytical Decision Modeling
Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business can be an expensive proposition. Below are some good options for scholarships and grants in business:
- Cappex Business Major Scholarship: $1000
- NFIB Young Entrepreneur Award: Various
- John L. Carey Scholarship Program: $5000
- NSHMBA Foundation Scholarship Program: $2500
- CEO of Tomorrow Scholarship: $2500
- Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship: Various
- Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship: $5000
- Gates Millennium Scholars: $10,000
If you want to increase your salary potential, these are some of the best business certifications to consider:
- Certified Associate in Project Management – CAPM
- Certified Business Analysis Professional – CBAP
- Certified Supply Chain Professional – CSCP
- Project Management Professional – PMP
The following business-related associations are a good idea to explore if you want to increase your educational and networking options:
- International Institute of Business Analysis
- Digital Analytics Association
- National Business Association
- National Association of Women Business Owners
- National Cooperative Business Association
The business and management analysis field is growing as the US economy is continuing its expansion. With a business analyst degree, you will be able to find many good business management positions and enjoy a good career and salary.
- How To Become a Business Analyst. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.villanovau.com/resources/business-analysis/how-to-become-a-business-analyst/#.W0ek5NJKg2w
- Business Analyst Career Salary Profile. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.floridatechonline.com/blog/business/business-analyst-career-and-salary-profile/
- Business and Financial Career Overview. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm