Business Analytics Career Path

Business Analytics Career Path

Data-driven decision-making can be the competitive edge of a thriving business or the lifeline of a sinking one. This shows how crucial data is to any business. More crucial are the experts who collect, manage, analyze and interpret data. Statistics show that there is a serious shortage of personnel in the field of data and business analytics as companies heavily rely on them to improve the quality of their decision-making.

A simple Business Analytics certification can mark the genesis of a long, lucrative, and rewarding career path for an aspiring professional. This domain cuts across both the fields of IT and business. It strategically integrates data and statistical methodologies with business intelligence models to solve business problems.

The data and statistical methodologies are used to analyze data and remodel it into useful information while business intelligence is applied in using that information to make astute data-driven business decisions.

Business analytics is divided into three main subsets which deal with the different stages of the analysis process. These categories are:

1. Descriptive Analytics

Descriptive analytics is the analysis of historical data to unearth trends and patterns that may be helpful in understanding the market and/or business. The descriptive process relies on two key methods; data mining and data aggregation. It is less of an analysis and more of a description of what has happened to help develop reports and simple inferences.

2. Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is an advanced method that employs business intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and statistical modeling in the predictive analysis segment. While the descriptive segment employs data mining and data aggregation techniques, predictive analytics employs complex algorithms to make predictions which are extremely helpful in identifying and seizing opportunities for the company’s growth and profit-making.

3. Prescriptive Analytics

Prescriptive analytics is an advanced analytical method that employs mathematics and computer science to help decide the best option to take. What makes it more powerful and valuable is that it is a decision-making tool with the ability to assess the repercussions of a certain decision and employ an algorithm to pursue alternative decisions while also developing a decision-making model that it will use in the future under similar circumstances.

General roles, responsibilities, and skills of a Business Analyst

A business analyst can be contracted by a company either on a consultancy basis in the short term, for instance, to work on a specific project or solve a particular problem. Also, a BA can be employed to work for an organization on a permanent employment basis where they recommend solutions and oversee their implementation.

Their role involves helping the business achieve enhanced efficiency and higher profits, and may sometimes extend into generally determining through research whether a business is on course in terms of achieving its goals and objectives. Business analysis is usually considered by many companies to be a technical role since it heavily relies on data, and big data for that matter, therefore making technology an indispensable tool in the development and streamlining of a business’ systems and processes.

As data analysis revolves around problem-solving, an aspiring data scientist thus ought to possess critical thinking, presentation, and communication skills, and most essentially be a team player since most of their tasks involve team collaboration.

Business Analyst general qualifications 

To be eligible for a business analyst role, one has to have the right background, which should include business and IT-related credentials and/or training certifications in:

  • Business administration
  • Business Informational Technology
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Information Technology
  • Computer Science

Business Analytics career path

Like most careers, the starting point for a business analyst is entry-level. Past the entry-level a professional advances to the mid-level and then to advanced level positions. However, this takes drive and determination. Many professionals opt to build their skills through certification courses, take on projects and build their project portfolio, or gain more years of experience to qualify for higher roles. 

1. Entry Level

At the entry-level, professionals may have a hard time meeting the one-two year of experience demanded by some institutions as they may have recently graduated from college. As such, it is advisable to consider internships, training, attachments, or even volunteering during or immediately after college to build experience and demonstrate their technical competency in real-world situations.

Qualifications, background, and experience

A basic certification, diploma, or degree in the aforementioned fields, coupled with some years of experience should be able to land you a business analyst job at entry-level though preference may vary depending on the level of the certification and experience.

Skills

To be able to excel in the above roles, the following skills are necessary:

  • SQL
  • Data visualization
  • Data warehousing
  • Statistics
  • Research
  • Domain knowledge

Roles

At the entry level, a business analyst should be able to take on the following roles: 

  • Documentation of essential processes and procedures
  • Proposal and implementation of minor system improvements
  • Working alongside and generally assisting senior analysts
  • Overseeing small departmental projects
  • Research through consulting with clients to find ways of enhancing experience.

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2. Mid-Level

Most mid-level business analysts attain their positions by gaining more experience, and partly, more credentials. This is typically accompanied by more responsibilities and higher compensation. At this point, the business analyst has worked alongside senior analysts for a decent period of time and has gained experience to enable them to handle some tasks autonomously in roles like: 

  • Junior analyst
  • IT Business analyst
  • Senior/lead Business analyst

Qualifications, background, and experience

In terms of credentials, a degree becomes the bottom line at the mid-level. Most professionals at this level will have earned a master’s degree, an additional related degree, or skills certification. Also at this level professionals have most likely earned the required experience after working for some years in junior analyst and other roles hence their greatest challenge becomes matching their skills against those required by potential recruiters. 

Skills

Some top in-demand skills required of the mid-level roles are:

  • Applied mathematics
  • Advanced statistics
  • Programming
  • Data management tools e.g. Hadoop and Mapreduce
  • Machine learning

Roles 

Mid-level business analyst professionals should be in a position to take on the following roles:

  • Analyze the needs of shareholders and develop processes that will help achieve these needs
  • Assess and propose improvements in major business processes
  • Head and oversee the implementation of software design 
  • Model more efficient business processes based on business requirements

3. Advanced-Level

Advanced-level business analyst roles are expert roles requiring even higher qualifications and training as well as either leadership or advanced technical experience or both. A professional can thus opt to pursue the technical (expert) or leadership career path.  

Technical business analyst roles 

  • Business requirements analyst
  • Business systems analyst
  • Decisions analyst
  • Systems analyst
  • Agile analyst
  • Functional analyst

Business analyst leadership roles include:  

When it comes to leadership, the following roles are available:

  • Relationship Manager
  • Business Architect
  • Enterprise Architect
  • Practice lead
  • Project lead
  • Program lead

Qualifications, background, and experience

Here, a master’s degree is the minimum requirement, and multiple degrees become an added advantage. Some relevant specialties include health informatics, business intelligence, information systems, and applied statistics.

Experience at the advanced level stretches beyond 10 years. Most professionals at this level will have handled full projects end-to-end and delivered results.  

Skills

Being seasoned experts already, this level mostly demand skills in:

  • Interpersonal relations e.g. communication and mentorship
  • Advanced management
  • Leadership
  • Advanced research and development

Conclusion

Aspiring business analysts may not be aware of the dynamics of the business analytics career path. Being in a career without conscious choice limits motivation and drive to being your best within your domain. A conscious understanding of the different career path options available for business analysts helps you to align the direction you choose to take with your passions, a decision that can be rewarding to both the industry and the individual.

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