How to Get a Business Analyst Job in the US in 2022 | 9 Step Guide
Business analysts are in massive demand. The number of job openings for business analysts ballooned from 364,000 in 2016 to over 2.7 million in 2020. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth for this role to stay strong over the next decade as well.
In such a situation, getting a job as a business analyst shouldn't be hard, especially for professionals with multiple years of experience and the right skillset. That isn't to say beginners are staring at the thin edge of the wedge. They, too, have opportunities to kick-start their career.
In this guide, we'll tell you how to get a business analyst job in 2022 and beyond. We'll also shed light on the qualifications employers want when they advertise business analyst openings. And the skills companies want prospective candidates to possess. Read on to know more.
What Do You Need To Get A Business Analyst Job?
Most companies require their business analysts to have a business degree. They also look for candidates with verifiable computer skills. Since business analysts often work side-by-side with the organization's IT department, they should at least know what their colleagues are talking about.
It won't hurt you to have good presentation skills, either. As a business analyst, your role's success (or failure) will partially depend on how you present information to relevant stakeholders. Having excellent presentation skills will go a long way in helping you get your message across.
Let's discuss all these essential business analyst skills in more detail:
1. Degree in a Related Field
Unless you possess a bachelor's degree in business, companies might not even bother calling you for an interview. Want to know why? The hint is in the name. 'Business' analyst belongs to the category of degree-dependent jobs – a relevant bachelor's degree is thus a non-negotiable requirement.
Beyond that, it won't hurt your chances of getting hired if you're well-versed in computer programming. This will help you set yourself apart from candidates who are yet to develop their programming skills. Check out this excellent resource on the tasks business analysts are required to perform.
In order of importance, here are bachelor's degrees employers look for in a business analyst:
- Business Administration
- Accounting and/or Finance
- Statistics and/or Mathematics
- Computer Science or Programming
2. Good Computer Skills
If you're still in the university, spend any free time you may have learning computer science or computer programming. While you could do it at your own pace, it would be best to enroll yourself in similar courses at your university. Here's why we're saying that.
Almost all companies require their business analyst to work side-by-side with their colleagues in the IT department. This makes it crucial for you to know the basics of computer programming (at the very least). Otherwise, you might not know what you're talking about.
Check out these tips to improve your computer skills:
- Enroll in a computer course. Seems a no-brainer, right? Yet it surprises us to note how few people act on this tip, thinking they could improve their computer skills without the help of a teacher. Don't be such a person.
- Consult computer forms on the internet. Have questions about any technical topic? There's an excellent chance that someone has answered your query on an online forum. All you have to do is to search and visit that website.
- Read technical literature. If you're feeling over-enthusiastic about giving your computer skills a shot in the arm, rent a book on the topic you want to learn from your local library. Don't want to go out? Surf the internet.
- Apply everything you learn. Just as any other skill you may have learned in life, computer skills also waste away if you don't put them to practice. That's why we recommend that you practice everything you learn.
3. Work Experience
You don't have to have years of work experience as a business analyst to increase your chances of landing your dream job. A one to one-and-a-half month internship would be more than enough to help you gain real-world experience before you say goodbye to your alma mater.
How do you land an internship? Consult your institute's career placement department if you're still in university. Almost all universities have these departments to offer free-of-cost career placement services to their graduates. But if you've graduated, start knocking on doors.
4. Good Presentation Skills
Business analysts cannot afford to have weak presentation skills. The sooner you make peace with this fact, the better it's for your career. Business analysts need to present information to key stakeholders with alarming regularity. Without good presentation skills, their career prospects are bleak.
Want to improve your presentation skills? Check out these tips:
- Show passion and conviction. Especially when you're addressing an audience. This will help you as well as your spectators. You'll benefit by your energy getting the better of any anxious thoughts. And your intensity will liven up your audience.
- Use personal stories. Another thing you could do is liven up boring talks with personal stories. This will wake up your spectators, forcing them to sit up and take note of what you're saying, making it easier for you to get your message across.
- Add some humor. All of us are attracted towards our fellow humans who don't take themselves too seriously. Using humor will let you endear yourself to your audience the same way – they'll love your life-hearted takes on serious matters.
- End with take-home points. One of the signs of ineffective presentations is the audience wondering what it was all about. Ending a presentation with take-home points will help your spectators remember the talk for an extended period.
5. Excellent Business Writing Skills
Excellent writing skills are a non-negotiable requirement for any business analyst. If you're good at analyzing information but cannot convey what you've researched to others in written form, chances are that you won't end up scaling the heights of your career.
Here's how you could develop excellent business writing skills:
- Be clear in your writing. Put another way, write the way you talk. Use the exact words that you use to convey your emotions in everyday life. Once you've written anything, read it out loud. This will help you get rid of awkward sentences.
- Identify your audience. Who you're writing for? You may be writing for customers one day and investors the other, especially in the early stages of your career. Keep your audience in mind when doing business writing.
- Get help from online tools. Various online tools can take your business writing to the next level. Examples include Hemingway App, Type My Essay, Email Excellence, State of Writing, and Essayroo.
- Enroll in online business writing courses. There are hundreds of online courses available to improve your business writing. Our favorites include High-Impact Business Writing (Coursera) & Business and Marketing Writing (Udemy).
6. Put Together Your Resume
Make sure it highlights your business analyst skills. You can have all the qualifications mentioned above, but if your resume fails to do an excellent job of highlighting those qualifications, you won't get a call for the interview. Recruiters are very busy and have no time to read between the lines.
For this reason, your business analyst resume needs to have two things. It should be relevant to the role you're applying for, and it should mention (in as clear terms as possible) what you're qualified to do. You could still use industry jargon, but make sure you've added the detail to back them up.
7. Build Your Network
Most people don't know that they already have a network: their family members and friends, current and former classmates, current and former co-workers, and so on. Ask the people you already know to connect you to anyone who can help you get ahead in your career.
Next, you need to be on the newsletter of organizations you'd like to work for. Attend their events and decide whether you enjoyed the experience. If you did, invest more time and energy in getting to know the persons of that company.
Here are a few more network building tips:
- Create win/win situations. Networking isn't a one-way street. Both you and the other person have to gain something from networking. Otherwise, if it's only you're who are benefiting, the other person might feel used.
- Offer your help. Put another way, give before you take. People who are already in networks expect others to come looking for their help. When you offer some support to those people, they will feel grateful and will be eager to repay the favor.
- Follow up with people you meet. One of the (secret) ways to build a long-lasting relationship is identifying the other person's pain points and how you can help them address the same. You can only do it if you have a habit of following up.
- Use social media. Use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with other persons in your industry. You can connect with more people online in a month than you could do in face-to-face settings throughout your life. Scale your network with social media.
8. Start Applying To Jobs
With a resume that highlights what you're good at and a personal network to back your credentials in case anyone comes asking, you're ready to apply to BA jobs. To increase your chances of landing an interview call, apply to jobs that are the closest to your skillset.
Take advantage of the professional network you've created to decrease the job-search process. Anyone who has ever applied for a job knows that you're more likely to get that much-awaited interview call when the recruiter has received a recommendation from someone they trust.
9. Appear In Interview With Confidence
If you've followed the abovementioned tips, you won't have to wait for much longer before being invited to appear in the interview for the job. Before appearing in an interview, research the organization and the person who may interview you.
Next, you might want to review typical interview questions recruiters ask people applying for the role you're targeting. Don't copy-paste the answers. Set your responses apart by linking every answer to a personal story. If possible, appear in at least one mock interview.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to become a business analyst without a degree?
Even though it's difficult to land a business analyst job without a degree, you could still get the role. As long as you understand the key responsibilities of a business analyst, have the technical skills recruiters look for in BA job candidates, and have work experience to back up your expertise.
How to get a job as a business analyst with no experience?
Getting a business analyst job with no experience is challenging but not impossible. Make sure to get a bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline, build up your computer, presentation, and writing skills, and make yourself familiar with key software, data analysis, and glossaries.
How to become a business analyst without an IT background?
IT background is preferred but not necessary to become a business analyst. Especially if you're targeting a business-focused BA role and not an IT BA role. The former type of roles are less in demand than an IT BA, but they are nonetheless available.
Provided you apply these tips to the letter, your job search business analyst will succeed.
If you have some questions about business analysts or the type of tasks they're expected to perform as part of their role, please feel free to use the comments box.