What Type of Degree Will Help Me Become a Business Analyst?

There are a number of changes that all types of businesses undergo. Non-profit organizations, corporate businesses, and government agencies all must work to identify areas of improvement and the need for change in order to best meet the needs of the consumer or end user of a service or product. In order to accomplish this identification and effectively implement plans or improvements to all types of business models, organizations rely on the skill and knowledge of business analysts. To begin working in a field that requires leadership skill, innovation and critical analysis, future business analysts have options for where to start.

Business Analyst Education

A business analyst must have a broad understanding of how a business functions in order to make the recommendations for changes and develop solutions for improvements in technology and other areas of business operations. There are a number of schools that offer online and traditional programs in business analysis and management. Students in these programs typically complete courses in business communications, strategic management, project management, business process modeling, business analysis foundations, and managing information systems.

A degree in business analysis is not necessarily required, however, in order to find a position in this field. A number of undergraduate and graduate degrees are beneficial when pursuing a future career in business analysis. Some options at the undergraduate level include programs in business administration, accounting, economics, project management, and information technology.

Undergraduate coursework in management theory, statistics, business technology, statistics, operations, business technology, and accounting are helpful for providing business analysts with the knowledge that will be needed to make recommendations and changes within an organization.

Graduate programs in business administration offer the opportunity to gain knowledge in statistics, marketing, and advanced management theories that are helpful in business analysis as well. Certificate programs in business analysis are an additional option for education.

Skills and Experience for Future Business Analysts

A business analyst is responsible for various factors in the business improvement model. The position requires a unique skill set. In order to identify and develop plans of change for a variety of organizations, professionals in this field must have a proclivity for problem solving, analysis and critical thinking, creative thinking, and facilitation. In addition, business analysts should be skilled in negotiation, mediation, and both written and verbal communication.

Business analysts also often have backgrounds in other areas of business expertise, including such positions as sales, product development, or customer service. Previous experience in these areas and internships or externships in various business positions are helpful for gaining an understanding of business operations needed for business analysis.

Professional Certifications for Business Analyst Professionals

There are a number of certifications that can be beneficial for helping to prepare for a business analyst career. The International Institute of Business Analysts, for example, offers two certifications: the Certification of Competency in Business Analysis™ (CCBA®) and the Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®). Additional professional certifications are also offered through BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

From education to professional certifications, future business analysts have a number of options for getting prepared. For additional information, visit the International Institute of Business Analysis at http://www.iiba.org.