The demand for business analysts is increasing in Ireland and is predicted to rise in future years. While the role of a business analyst is not clear-cut, a business analyst will generally either improve systems, products or processes or detect weaknesses and inefficiencies which indicate the need for change in an organisation. Some of the changes may relate to software implementation, regulatory compliance or a drive to optimise business processes. Business analysts define requirements and implement processes in a business.
To increase your chances of getting a business analyst job, knowing which skills employers and IT recruitment agencies value for this role is essential. This article considers the roles of this profession and highlights the vital skills and qualifications employers seek when hiring a business analyst.
Why is there such a high demand for Business Analysts?
- Business analysts are in high demand and are actively involved in digital transformation and help businesses stay competitive, a vital factor in today’s digital market.
- Digital transformation has driven the demand for business analysts. Businesses are increasingly using digital marketing channels to distribute products and services and analysts are helping to define business requirements and ensure that organisations are ready to embrace these often systemic business changes.
- Technology businesses clearly anticipate growth in the sector and need business analysts and product owners. Data availability within all companies today also means data has become a powerful tool and requires expert analysts to gather, assess report findings, and effectively optimise company operations.
- A business analyst communicates and suggests improvements to all stakeholders and team members transparently and logically.
What does a Business Analyst Do?
A business analyst essentially provides solutions to maximise profits within an organisation. It is a complex role that varies according to the scale and nature of the company but generally, the roles of business analysts include:
- Focus and elaboration on the details of the business and oversee every stage of the life cycle of individual projects.
- Projects might include implementing a new software system or technology or any new business decision.
- Scaling up production.
- Boosting sales and coming up with initiatives for partnerships with clients.
- Increasing revenue streams.
Technical Skills for Business Analysts
The next section considers the most critical skills needed for this profession. Essential hard skills are listed below:
- Knowledge of Office applications. Business analysts should be proficient in office applications that they will use daily such as: Wordprocessing | Powerpoint | Email | Charts and diagrams.
- Familiarity with IT and software applications. Although it isn’t specifically an IT career, as technology has transformed the business world, analysts are expected to have technical experience and understand the potential of new technology to improve business operations.
- Basic understanding of operating systems. A good understanding of standard operating systems will enhance the performance of a business analyst.
- Knowledge of software testing. Business analysts work with software testers and must know the advantages and disadvantages of different systems and methodologies.
- Programming knowledge. It is not essential that a Business Analyst needs to programme but any programming knowledge or background can be helpful when communicating with others in the software development lifecycle.
- Database awareness. Business analysts are involved in collecting and evaluating business data and need background knowledge of databases and their functions. It can be useful to write SQL.
- Specialised knowledge within the specific sector of clients helps deliver relevant and practical solutions. Familiarity with software tools and wireframes is an advantage.
Soft Skills for Business Analysts
While technical skills are crucial for succeeding as a business analyst, the soft skills listed below are also fundamental:
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Business analysts process much information and the ability to detect weaknesses, consider options and come up with feasible solutions is essential and often requires out-of-the-box thinking. Prioritising clients’ needs also demands critical thinking.
- Analytical mindset. A business analyst has to evaluate and assess existing systems and Identify opportunities for development to help companies remain competitive. This often involves coming up with original solutions and creative ideas.
- Verbal communication skills for liaising with team members, managers, and stakeholders and putting them at ease are vital. Business analysts need to listen to input from clients. They often have to persuade stakeholders to accept project ideas. Explaining business concepts and innovations in simple terms to stakeholders, managers and teams is also a significant role.
- Written communication skills for documenting and presenting ideas facts, clear solutions and updates to stakeholders and team members are also critical.
- Research skills. Conducting extensive research to find effective solutions and stay ahead of the competition is desirable. Smart academic and market research skills are vital to helping them solve problems promptly.
FAQs on Business Analysts
Q1. What educational qualifications do I need to become a business analyst?
To become a business analyst, you need a bachelor’s degree. Related subjects include IT, engineering and Business information systems or finance.
Q.2 What are useful Certifications for a Business Analyst?
There is a range of business analysis certifications that you can study online that will help develop your skills in the profession. The Chartered Institute of IT (BSC) offers certificates from the foundation to the International Diploma in Business Analysis at an advanced level. The following certifications are helpful:
- Prince 2
- Agile methodologies such as scrum