Business analysts are responsible for analyzing, documenting and recommending solutions for complex businesses. They work with customers to determine their respective business models, goals and requirements, which business analysts use in developing software requirements documents. Business analysts provide the link between the development team and the customer, so he/she assists in every step of the project, from brainstorming of ideas up to the testing stage.
Tasks of a business analyst may vary largely depending on the project assigned, but they generally work in the collection and translation of business requirements of the project into functional specifications. Other duties may include, but are not limited to, analyzing business processes; documenting workflows and recording business analysis results; obtaining contracts or sign-off from customers to start the proposed project; explaining to customers any problems related to software functionality and other issues throughout the development stage; handling change requests; monitoring progress of project to ensure agreed deadlines are met; as well as producing weekly progress reports and submitting to clients and project managers, among others.
Education and Training Requirements
To become a business analyst, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree in marketing, management or a business related field, followed by several years of experience. Many companies prefer those with a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA). Business analysts should also have extensive training in marketing, sales, IT and computer programming.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements
To become a successful business analyst, one must have strong problem-solving skills, excellent written and verbal communication skills, interpersonal skills, technical writing skills, advanced knowledge in computer programming and business principles, marketing and sales skills, experience in writing requirement specifications for Information Systems, proven track record in software development and the ability to relay technical information clearly to staff.
Business analysts usually work in a clean, well-lit and fully equipped office. They work at least 40 hours per week, but longer work hours and weekend shifts are normal. This position is a challenging job due to the pressure involved in ensuring client satisfaction and meeting project deadlines. Business analysts may also travel occasionally when meeting clients, performing research or leading a team of outsourced staff.
The average annual salary for business analysts is $65,000, with the lowest 10% earning up to $54,000 and the highest 10% taking home an annual salary of $74,000. The salaries of business analysts can vary greatly due to individual experience and educational attainment, industry, location of company and benefits.