What to know before pursuing a Business Analyst career path
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Business analysts are essential for the fiscal health of many companies but ask someone what they do, and you’ll often be met with a blank stare. Business analysts are charged with improving efficiencies, increasing revenue, and decreasing costs by implementing best practices processes and procedures.
That’s a mouthful, but essentially, it means they meet with business teams, analyse their practices and workflow, and offer solutions to their challenges—usually with better tools or resources.
Depending on skills and subject matter expertise, business analysts can be more technology-focussed or business-focussed, working with everything from AI to agile business practices.
So, with such a broad remit, what does the Business Analyst career path look like?
Well, it’s a flexible one, necessarily. The skills that a Business Analyst requires means the way into the role is varied, as is the path you can take once you get there.
What qualifications do you need as a Business Analyst?
The typical Business Analyst career path begins with a degree in a various field, like computer science, economics, psychology, or business administration. Usually, entry-level roles are in fields that are related to the degree, with the role of Business Analyst coming later.
Work experience is an important component for business analysts to understand business operations in practice.
With some initial work experience, aspiring business analysts can move into a junior role, and at this point, some choose to pursue post-graduate qualifications, such as an MBA.
There are also certifications that business analysts can undertake, offered by different training organisations. These include the International Qualification Board for Business Analysis and the International Institute of Business Analysis.
Related: Preparing for an interview? Here are the most common Business Analyst interview questions to expect
What skills do you need as a Business Analyst?
Business analysts require critical thinking and communication skills, first and foremost. This is because a lot of the work of business analysts involve working with teams to identify business challenges and opportunities. Problem solving skills as well as a strong creative streak are also important in order to develop innovative solutions.
They also need to be able to stay on top of the latest developments in their respective fields, be able to work well with numbers - often, they will be required to justify their decisions with modelling and projections, as well as report on the results of their advice - and understand the regulatory framework within which they work, as required.
What are the duties of a Business Analyst?
Business analysts are required to conduct market analyses and benchmarks, analyse product and service lines, and the overall profitability of the business and/or business units. In addition, they develop and monitor data quality metrics to ensure business goals are being met.
Related: Understand more about what the role entails with the business analysis job description
What is a Business Analyst Salary in Hong Kong?
Commensurate upon your particular Business Analyst career path, qualifications, and expertise, business analysts in Hong Kong can expect to earn between HKD$362,000 and HKD$810,000.
The demand for mid-career to senior-level business analysts in Hong Kong is high. That’s because, since the pandemic reached our shores, businesses have had to undergo rapid transformation to allow employees to work remotely.
As a result—and thanks to an increasingly dire tech-skills shortage, particularly in business transformation - Business Analyst candidates can expect to be in-demand for the foreseeable future.
3 directions to take your Business Analyst career path
As there’s no clear path for business analysts, it’s important to focus more on the skills required for the role you want. When you’re ready to take the next step on your business analyst career path, consider the following options:
1. Enterprise Business Analyst
Enterprise business analysts enable organisations to optimise particular functions or lead specific projects. They often evaluate new initiatives or ideas that a business wants to pursue, considering whether they align with overall business goals.
For example, an organisation may wish to understand the risk and cost/benefit of implementing a major tech investment that will impact the entire organisation, like cloud computing.
2. Business Analyst Consultant
By choosing to go down the consulting route, you’ll likely increase your network, salary, and/or move into a particular niche.
It’s a logical move if you enjoy the current work but want to take on diverse projects, enhance your skillset, and earn a competitive salary.
3. Business Systems Analyst
If you’ve got experience in enterprise resource planning (ERP), this may be a good role for you to consider. Organisations increase operational efficiency by optimising their business processes, working to get the most value from their systems, and that’s where business systems analysts come in.
They act as the ‘bridge’ between the organisation and service providers to ensure end-users get the most out of their technology investments.