A business analyst, or BA, observes a company's technology and operational procedures to determine ways to increase organizational productivity, notes StateUniversity.com, a career resources website. A business analyst needs a broad skill set because she must understand how various departments work and how they are connected. Post-secondary training is required for employment as a business analyst.
Education and Skills
A business analyst needs a minimum of a bachelor's degree in accounting or business. StateUniversity explains that a business analyst must have solid communication skills. The International Institute of Business Analysis notes that successful business analysts also have leadership ability and are able to "see the big picture." Knowledge of technology is also a must as business analysts are often called upon to develop plans for implementing or upgrading information systems in an organization.
Degrees in business or finance can be earned at a number of colleges and universities nationwide. Alternatively, students who hold a bachelor's degree can enroll in graduate-level certificate programs; these programs qualify students for entry-level employment as well as IIBA certification. In an business analysis certificate program, such as the one offered online by Villanova University, students develop the problem-solving and analytical skills necessary for success in the field.
The IIBA awards two certifications for business analysts. The Certification of Competency in Business Analysis is suitable for analysts with at least 3,750 hours of related work experience. The Certified Business Analysis Professional designation is for senior-level analysts with a minimum of 7,500 hours of related work experience. Candidates for both credentials must submit references from clients or a manager and proof of work experience. The certification examination is computer-based and consists of 150 multiple-choice questions.
The IIBA offers continuing education courses to institute members and non-members. These courses can be taken for continuing education credits, which are required to maintain IIBA certification as a business analyst. In addition to offering webinars that cover topics such as technical excellence, software requirements and working with project managers, the IIBA also maintains a listing of approved education providers. Certified analysts can take courses at colleges or ones offered by independent business associations. The IIBA's annual conference is an additional way to earn continuing education credits.