Business Analyst Skills: Definition And Examples
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 20 December 2022
Published 12 June 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Business analysts play a key role in helping organisations improve their productivity and profitability. The role of a business analyst requires an in-depth understanding of the sector and specific skills to excel at the position. Communication, problem-solving, negotiation and listening are essential business analyst skills that employers look for in a potential candidate.
In this article, we discuss what business analyst skills are, examples, how to improve your business analyst skills and how to highlight these skills in your CV, along with some tips.
What Are Business Analyst Skills?
Business analyst skills help you visualise and analyse the complexity of a problem, process, organise it and solve it to generate new ideas. It is these skills that help you contribute to the organisation's profitability, efficiency and productivity. Business analyst skills involve using existing data to create informational insights for taking critical business decisions. Employers prefer candidates with incredible business analyst skills because they are critical for a company's success.
Example Of Business Analyst Skills
Some critical business analyst skills which employers look for in an candidate are:
A business analyst is likely to spend most of their working hours interacting with clients and different stakeholders. Being an excellent communicator is essential. Apart from superior verbal communication, analysts must possess strong written communication skills to present their analyses and findings in written format. They are also responsible for facilitating meetings with stakeholders, communicate project expectation, actively listen to colleagues to capture relevant information and suggest solutions to a business problem. This requires excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
For becoming a successful business analyst, they require in-depth knowledge of IT and technology. Business analysts must possess proficiency in database management, computer programming, system engineering and data mining. Technical skills are essential to improve business operations and suggest new ideas.
A good business analyst is a good listener. As they interact with different stakeholders, they have to absorb information. Active listening skills help an analyst understand the context and motivation behind the message. This ensures correct interpretation of the message that is essential to meet the business or client's requirement.
Negotiation and persuasion skills
A business analyst negotiates and persuades various people to find solutions that benefit the organisation. They strike a balance between business needs and individual wants. Therefore, a business analyst must possess excellent negotiation and persuasion skills to influence mutual solutions and reach a consensus that benefits everyone involved while maintaining a professional relationship.
These professionals spend a majority of their time finding solutions to potential business problems. They have to deal with frequent and sudden changes in the business. Being able to understand the problem and change in a business requirement is not possible if the analyst lacks problem-solving skills. Using these skills, they develop a solution that benefits the organisation.
Critical thinking skills
Business analysts have to look at various solutions and options before deciding which one is most effective for their organisation. Being able to do so requires critical assessment and review of all the parameters. Critical thinking skills help them make informed decisions that prove fruitful for the organisation.
Decisions made by business analysts affect the organisation. Before presenting their decision, they analyse the problem, interpret the information and come to logical solutions. They test the viability of these solutions to present decisions based on the result and their thought process. Being able to find the right solution requires superior decision-making skills.
Research is often the first step in finding a solution. To reach logical solutions, business analyst research in-depth about the problem and the organisation's need. They gather information, statistical data and talk to stakeholders. It is the quality of research that helps business analysts assess the risk of potential business solutions.
As business analysts deal with people of unique personality traits, they must effectively interact and communicate with them. This helps in building relationships and increases cooperation. Common interpersonal skills that a business analyst must have include motivation, patience, teamwork, dependability and responsibility.
How To Improve Your Business Analyst Skills
Here are a few steps of improving your business analyst skills:
1. Know your skills and create a checklist
Identify the skills you already have to become a business analyst and match it against skills you need to learn. Create a checklist of all the relevant skills.
2. Use all available resources
Use all resources at your disposal to sharpen your business analyst skills. Read books, watch videos and attend online seminars to improve your skills. For example, you can improve your critical thinking skills by reading both fiction and non-fiction books as these are an excellent source of opinion, thoughts and ideas. Reading exposes you to varied viewpoints that help in developing your critical thinking skills.
3. Learn different tools
Business analysts use different tools, both technical and business tools, to excel at their work. While technical tools are Microsoft Excel and database management software, business tools are PESTLE analysis, SWOT analysis and Porter's Five Forces analysis.
PESTLE analysis: is a marketing tool used for analysing and monitoring macro-environmental factors that may affect the functioning of an organisation.
SWOT analysis: is a tool showing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Porter's Five Forces analysis: is a tool for analysing the organisation's competition.
Related: SWOT Analysis Guide (With Examples)
4. Enrol in relevant certifications
There are many business analysts relevant certifications in India. Common certifications include Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP), Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA) and Entry Certification in Business Analysis (ECBA). All these certifications in India are offered through the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).
5. Pursue higher education
In India, most business analyst starts their career after completing their graduation or bachelor's degree. Often, employers seek candidates with higher education as it helps analyst work in the management and business administration field. Pursuing higher education improves your skill set and ensures a higher learning curve that is beneficial for shaping your career growth.
6. Get experience
Getting practical experience through internships is an excellent way to hone your business analyst skills. Hands-on experience develops your understanding and sense of performing the work. It serves as a practice field before you are ready to take up everyday business analyst challenges.
How To Highlight Your Business Analyst Skills During The Hiring Process
When you present your business analyst skills on your CV or during the interview, you increase your chances of getting hired. It showcases your expertise level and helps the employer choose between two candidates with similar qualification and experience. Here are two ways of highlighting these skills during the hiring process:
1. In your CV
When you mention the most relevant business analyst skill you possess, your CV gets noticed, especially if you format it correctly. Mention the business analyst skills under the skills section as a bulleted list or brief sentence describing each skill. Also, mention these skills in your job history section. If possible, give examples of how you used these skills to improve the organisation's productivity and profitability. For example, mention how your negotiation skills helped a former organisation win a tough deal.
2. During your interview
During the interview process, the employer is likely to test your business analyst skills through technical or behavioural questions. For example, the employer may ask you to describe when you made a client change their course of action. This question would test your critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills, required for becoming a successful business analyst. Try incorporating examples when answering such interview questions. Some employers may give you raw data on the spot to analyse. Analysing data and giving valuable insights within a short period showcases your experience and abilities.
Tips For Highlighting Business Analyst Skills During The Hiring Process
Here are a few tips to consider when highlighting your business analyst skills:
Add only relevant skills: there is no point in adding skills that are irrelevant to the job. The closer your skills match with the employer's expectation, the higher your chances of getting hired.
Mention skill word during the interview: during your interview, mention the business analyst skills you possess to reinforce that you have all the skills that the job demands.
Mention about certifications: if you have completed any certification on improving your business analyst skills, mention it on your CV and during the interview. These certifications could set you apart from other candidates.
Mention about business tools: business analysts have to use various tools like Microsoft Excel, database management software and data mining tools to reach logical business decisions. Therefore, mention your knowledge and experience in these tools during the hiring process.
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