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How to Become a Business Analyst

Do You Need a Degree to Become a Business Analyst?

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While it may be difficult to become a Business Analyst without some kind of degree, in many (if not most) cases, there is no hard requirement for a specific type of degree. Even when job postings stipulate that a specific degree is preferred, most employers weigh a range of factors during hiring, including not only university education but also on-the-job experience and other skills training.

All of which is to say that a bachelor’s degree is quite often enough to qualify for a Business Analyst job, at least in terms of education – even better if the degree is in a business analysis–related or adjacent field like business administration, computer science, accounting, finance or economics, analytics or information systems, operations management, logistics, or even human resources.

But quite apart from a degree, there are other crucial attributes you’ll need to develop and highlight during your search for a Business Analyst job, including work experience, specialized skills (re)training, and professional certification. In fact, no degree is sufficient to land a job as a Business Analyst without these other qualifications.

In the first case, work experience, employers typically expect several years of experience working within a business in some capacity – not necessarily as an Analyst, but the more you’ve been exposed to and have learned about the ways a business operates while on the job, the better. Enough work experience in the right field is equivalent to a degree in the eyes of some employers – multiple years working in IT or writing technical documentation, for example, can be as persuasive as a computer science degree. After all, nothing demonstrates your ability to effectively harness your skills on the job than a proven history of doing just that.

This speaks to the second set of attributes employers weigh: the skills themselves. Because business analysis is such a specialized field, few degree programs even impart all the skills a Business Analyst needs – and, especially as time passes and technology and best practices evolve, skills retraining is a must to stay on top of those changes. Whatever your level of formal educational attainment, you’ll still need to be able to prove that you’ve acquired those highly specialized and up-to-date skills, and the most effective way to do that is through a course of study that’s specifically geared toward business analysis, such as a data analysis bootcamp.

Finally, you can back up those skills with a certification from one of the many professional organizations that offer them, such as the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA); the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC); BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT; the International Qualification Board for Business Analysis (IQBBA); Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE); or Professional in Business Analysis (PBA). Which certification is right for you will depend on your country and location, your sector, the type of business analysis you’re specialized in, and the industry and company you’re hoping to work for – so do your research first to understand which certification will be most valuable.

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