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Business Analysts

"Business Analysts fix broken businesses"

Careers for business analysts are not only lucrative but they are also very satisfying. Business analysts are responsible for analyzing the workings of an organization along with the design of business methods being used and creating a bridge between management, front line employees and customer needs. It is the analyst's jobs to understand client and market requirements and devise solutions. So, they have a major say in changing the way in which business is done in an organization. If you are interested in a job as a business analyst, here is a look at the responsibilities of the position, the educational qualifications, remuneration, working conditions and more.

An Overview Of Jobs For Business Analysts

Business Analysts

The role of business analysts is not restricted to technical aspects; they often play vital roles in marketing and finance as well. There are two ways in which you can work as business analysts, you could either be employed with an organization or you could choose to be an independent contractor. The sector can be divided into four distinct tiers that include:

  1. Strategic planning: Analyzing and providing for the organization's strategic business requirements
  2. Operational Analysis: Defining and analyzing the operational policies and market strategies and approach of an organization.
  3. Process analysis: Modeling of the business process through process design
  4. IT/ Business Systems analysis: Defining the functional requirements of an application and proposing changes to client business processes

What Do Business Analysts Do?

An analyst in a business is expected to analyze and critique the various business functions including finance, marketing, IT etc to improve the productivity and efficiency of an establishment. A professional in this position also helps the company to optimize its day to day operations and evaluate the structure of its business.

Business analysts are generally hired by companies to solve business problems, to streamline their business practices and to gain an edge over their competitors. It is the analyst's job to scrutinize the various operational procedures of the company and find solutions, which will help the company to function efficiently.

In some companies analysts are also expected to focus on the issues concerning the major stakeholders of an organization; they have to routinely write reports with specific recommendations.

Educational Qualifications
and Other Skills Required

You will need a bachelor's degree to get business analysts jobs with a major in industrial engineering, business management, finance or computer science. You should also consider becoming certified. One such certification is the Certification of Competency in Business Analysis from IIBA. Other organizations offer certification, however just make sure that you go to a respected and accredited establishment to earn your credential.

Apart from this, you will also need to have an in depth understanding of organizational skills and superlative interpersonal skills. It would also help to study UML (Unified Modeling Language) which is commonly used in IT.

A Business Analyst's Workday

The workday of business analysts includes the following tasks:

Scheduling clients: Whether you hold a job in an organization or work as an independent contractor, you will need to spend a lot of time talking to the business and IT operations teams. Also, you will need to frequently schedule projects for different clients.

Observation: An analyst spends the majority of his time observing the day to day operations of the various departments. He will spend a lot of time each day observing the requirements of the organization, business process flow, the various systems available to the staff and how these are being used to optimize the workings of a department. Additionally, you may also have to spend a significant amount of time studying the client procedures and policies.

Review and Analysis: The data procured through observation, meetings and discussions is then compiled and analyzed. Also, the analyst will have to review previous reports that help to understand the issues afflicting the day to day operations of the company.

The analysis phase will finally lead to the solution phase wherein the analyst will be expected to provide solutions to streamline the business process.

Preparing Reports: Once the problems have been analyzed and solutions have been devised, an analyst has to put it all down in black and white, in the form of a report. Business analysts will have to provide detailed reports on the various solutions proposed by him and how each of these help to solve a specific problem. Financial estimates will also be part of such reports

Client meetings: Business analysts will also need to spend a considerable amount of time interacting with the internal or external clients.

Salary Expectations

The average salary of business analysts is $81,000 per annum. A junior business analysts will likely start at about $48,000.

Working Conditions

Business analysts work out of convenient and comfortable office environment with little or no fieldwork involved depending on the nature of the organization. The position entails constant communication with the clients and the development team.

Promotion Opportunities

While you may start at the entry level position of junior business analysts, you can quickly progress to senior levels if you apply yourself. After garnering 3 to 5 years of experience, you will have the option of working as an independent contractor.

Why You Should Join
The Ranks Of Business Analysts

Business analysts are an asset to the organization who helps to streamline processes and increase the efficiency of an organization and its profits. People in this position share a good rapport with almost all the departments of the company.

Because of the immense competition, several sectors offer rewarding prospects for well qualified and experienced analysts including pharmaceutical, finance, insurance, banking, IT/ITES, healthcare, budgeting and others.

As a matter of fact, it can be safely said that all companies; regardless of the sector that they operate in, need business analysts. Although it can be difficult to find an entry level position in the business analyst field, once you secure a job and get the perquisite experience, you should have no dearth of job opportunities.

Business analysts enjoy greater job security because of the versatility of their positions. Research also indicates that the sector has been sparred the ill effects of recession because companies require new ways of thinking even in a glum economic scenario.

Because a business analyst is expected to have in depth knowledge about the various business functions, a person in this position can readily change his expertise in the different facets of business to look for alternative employment. For instance, technical know how can be used to secure employment as a QA. On the other hand, product industry specific product knowledge can be used to work in marketing and sales. Also, the knowledge of the various sectors can help a business analyst move up the corporate ladder to managerial positions.

Since an analyst working in a business is on both sides of the company, the clients as well as the organizations, regardless of how the coin flips, he always has it landing back safely into the business analysts hands.

© 2015 Stellar Force

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The Goal Is to Solve the Problem
by adrian
14 Oct 2017 at 11:30pm
A requirement is “a condition or capability needed by a user to solve a problem or to achieve an objective” (AKA a goal). Thinking in terms of problems and goals thus is a core competence for the requirements engineer. But what in fact is a problem or a goal? This may seem to be a rather philosophical question. As requirements engineers we should be quite specific on this point as the problems and goals of our clients are the raison d’être for our work.
The Business Analyst in the Experience Age
by Transform VA
9 Oct 2017 at 2:31pm
The experience age will force the business analyst, more so than ever, to be closer to business. The focus will have to move from how the IT landscape looks at the architectural level, to how it can be best utilised to provide the most compelling and efficient customer experience.  The success of business will now be determined by how well the customer journey and user experience has been translated to offer real and/or even perceived value for money through ‘virtual experience’.  It will be difficult for the business analyst to be a credible advisor to business without understanding the customer’s needs.
Validating a Strategic Project at the Enterprise Level
by Transform VA
1 Oct 2017 at 5:08pm
Prior to proceeding with a strategic project, project leadership needs to ensure that the project still: aligns with the direction of the business entity, and fits the needs of the targeted customer segment, as it did when the project was an initiative. This brief article starts at the inception of an initiative during Enterprise Analysis to the validation of a strategic project prior to kickoff. Note in this article, I include both the private and public sectors when I use the terms such as “business entity” and “customer segments.”
Agile User Interface Design
by adrian
23 Sep 2017 at 11:01pm
The role of design still puzzles many agile teams I work with. When should the design activities take place? Who should carry them out? How are design decisions best captured? This blog tries to answer the questions by discussing a user-centric, iterative, and collaborative design process for Scrum and Kanban teams.
7 Tactics to Solve Common Product Roadmap Problems
by Transform VA
17 Sep 2017 at 7:17pm
An effective product roadmap is a must-have for any successful software development project. A roadmap helps the product manager define the trajectory of a product, communicate progress to stakeholders, visualize goals and justify changes to budget. Product roadmaps are where both strategy and tactics combine to help teams build better products.
Do you want to implement agile? or just run from waterfall?
by Transform VA
10 Sep 2017 at 7:21pm
So I came to a conclusion that I found interesting and want to share with the public: when doing this transition, the companies do not want to implement agile, they just want to run away from waterfall. And running away from waterfall can come in many shapes and forms, so the overall popular idea of comparing “waterfall” vs “agile” as two competing extremes is not conceptually correct.
Changing Organizations: Business Analysts and Change Management
by Transform VA
4 Sep 2017 at 9:05pm
There are some practices that can practically make our life much easier if we adopt them early in the project.  This fourth article of the series “ Business Analysts and Change Management - What we need to know” addresses the minimum that we - as Business Analysts - might need to know about change management, but this time at organizational level
How to Pass the Latest Version CBAP v3 Certification Exam on the First Try
by Transform VA
27 Aug 2017 at 3:50pm
The purpose of this article is to help YOU (fellow business analyst-perfectionist) to pass the CBAP V3 certification exam efficiently without overspending on prep materials. I wish there had been a CURRENT guide available for me when I stormed the CBAP fortress back in April 2017. After completing thorough online research, I found a few useful but outdated articles and other useful but disparate tips for how to pass the exam. But there was no comprehensive guide for passing the CBAP v3 exam on the first try.
Gherkin for Business Analysts
by Transform VA
20 Aug 2017 at 7:08pm
Gherkin is a language used to write acceptance tests. BA's use Gherkin to specify how they want the system to behave in certain scenarios...  It’s a simple language. There are 10 key words (e.g. Given, When, Then). Because it’s a simple language, it’s understandable by the business. As well as being understandable by the business, Gherkin can be understood by an automation tool called Cucumber. That means Cucumber can interpret Gherkin and use it to drive automated tests. This links BA requirements to automated tests.
The Crucial Art of Pre-Project Problem Analysis
by Transform VA
13 Aug 2017 at 2:47pm
Business analysis is a broad discipline and we have a whole range of tools and techniques at our disposal. We may get involved within projects, but also outside of them. Many BA teams are actively seeking earlier engagement—when we are engaged prior to a project being initiated we can work with our stakeholders to ensure that the problem space is thoroughly understood. We can encourage stakeholders to think about many possible solution options, and can work with them to ensure that the option that is chosen is the best fit and has the best chance of delivering maximum benefit. Early engagement also helps us avoid the 'first solution trap'.
Managing Scope Creep (Scope Part 3)
by Transform VA
6 Aug 2017 at 10:59pm
Scope creep (also known as feature creep, requirements creep, featuritis, and creeping featurism), however, refers to the uncontrolled growth of functionality that the team attempts to stuff into an already-full project box. It doesn’t all fit. The continuing churn and expansion of the requirements, coupled with inadequate prioritization, makes it difficult to deliver the most important functionality on schedule. This demand for ever-increasing functionality leads to delays, quality problems, and misdirected energy.  Scope creep is one of the most pervasive challenges of software development.   
What are disbenefits?
by Transform VA
30 Jul 2017 at 8:50pm
Disbenefits are changes to on-going operating costs as a result of a project; they could be perceived as positive or negative. These disbenefits are included in defining the Total Cost of Ownership rather than a component of project cost, and is more of a focus for controllers due to its on-going nature rather than one time project savings and revenue.
Getting the Job Without Previous Domain Experience
by adrian
23 Jul 2017 at 9:01pm
Trying to secure a business analyst job interview in an area in which you don’t have prior experience can be a huge challenge. It’s common for recruiters and hiring managers to screen out applicants--no matter how accomplished they seem to be from their resumes--simply because the candidate’s job history doesn’t include work in the target industry...  But how do you get your foot in the door when so many recruiters and hiring managers tend to ignore applications from a candidate whose background doesn’t match the role they are trying to fill? The following tips may help.
Security Requirements Engineering
by adrian
17 Jul 2017 at 7:19am
When security requirements are considered at all during the system life cycle, they tend to be general lists of security features such as password protection, firewalls, virus detection tools, and the like. These are, in fact, not security requirements at all but rather implementation mechanisms that are intended to satisfy unstated requirements, such as authenticated access. As a result, security requirements that are specific to the system and that provide for protection of essential services and assets are often neglected. In addition, the attacker perspective is not considered, with the result that security requirements, when they exist, are likely to be incomplete. We believe that a systematic approach to security requirements engineering will help to avoid the problem of generic lists of features and to take into account the attacker perspective. Several approaches to security requirements engineering are described here and references are provided for additional material that can help you ensure that your products effectively meet security requirements.
Deep Dive Models in Agile Series: Decision Models
by Transform VA
9 Jul 2017 at 8:40am
This is the last article in this current  “Deep Dive Models in Agile” series and covers Decision Models, which include both Decision Trees and Decision Tables. Decision Models include two RML System models (Decision Trees and Decision Tables) that detail the system logic that either controls user functions or decides what actions a system will take in various circumstances.

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