What Key Skills Are Required For Business Analysts?

I am a java software developer with 2 years of work experience.

I have been working on Web site development. Now I am seriously thinking of switching over to Business Analysis field.

I have no idea what skills are required to be a Business Analyst.

I want to know if it is possible for me to make a transition within my own company or within the same domain?

Do I need to change my domain? I need your expert suggestions to make this change successful.

Can you help me?

The Key Skills Required For Business Analysts

I totally understand your concern. Before I come to your question, let me fist explain what business analysis is and then brief you about the required skills and qualifications needed.

The role of a business analyst (BA) is very critical in an organization as the suggestions they provide can make or break the organization.

The success of a project and, in turn, that of the company depend largely on the recommendations provided by the B.A.

A business analyst is expected to analyze company data; understand business needs, problems, and business opportunities; and to provide suggestions and solutions to improve business.

The Key Roles of Business Analysts

A business analysis typically carries out the following tasks:

  1. Analyzing and understanding project scope and objectives

  2. Analyzing business requirements

  3. Gathering and organizing requirements into logical order

  4. Prioritizing them on the basis of business

Preparing requirement specification and Functional design documents using:

  • Use cases

  • Process maps

  • Data flow diagrams

  • Coordinating with development team

  • Ensuring that the team understand the requirements well to execute the solutions/develop the product

  • Conducting various testing such

  • Unit testing

  • Integrated testing

  • Functional testing

  • Determining techniques and requirements that are appropriate to process the data

  • Providing recommendations for business improvements

  • Training employees

  • Developing standards and procedures to be followed

The Key Skills For Business Analysts

The following skills are highly desired and very essential to becoming a successful BA.

Please make sure you develop these skills well, if you are serious about marketing yourself as a BA.

    Knowledge of requirement gathering and analysis methodologies like UML, Process Mapping techniques like Flowcharting, IDEF

  1. Excellent process mapping skills

  2. Excellent communication skills

  3. Written communication

  4. Interpersonal skills

  5. Verbal communication skills

  6. Analytical skills — a candidate should have excellent analytical skills to conduct requirement analysis and impact analysis.

  7. Logical thinking

  8. Decision making skills

  9. Information Technology skills

  10. Knowledge of software applications and architectures

  11. Knowledge of RDBMS concepts

  12. Familiarity with Software Development Life Cycle

  13. Project Management methodologies

  14. Knowledge of PLC / SQL / Online & MS Tools

Besides having the above mentioned skills, it is important that you posses a great amount of knowledge in the specific domain of the project you are working on.

Acquiring as much knowledge as possible in various domains will enhance your chances of getting a job.

The Key Qualifications of Business Analysts

Let me tell you this that there is no specific degree designed for a business analysis as of today.

A degree in business related field or IT related field with relevant experience will be just good enough for you to get a job.

In addition, these days, institute such as International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) offers the certification “Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP) for Business Analysts with several years of working experience.

Coming to the specifics of your question, you must first decide if Business Analysis is the right option.

Do a self assessment and decide if you:

  • Want to spend the rest of your career programming/developing Web sites/java applications/debugging code or move on to something different like business analysis

  • Like talking to people and socializing with them

  • Possess the ability to organize information in a concise and structured manner

  • Have the ability to understand a company’s big picture

  • Have a fascination towards business, business process, systems; and making money

  • After having done this self assessment, if you think this field is for you, you may proceed with it.

Develop your skills accordingly and take up any certification courses that will familiarize you with the basics and demands of the business analysis field.

My advice to you is that since you have 2 years experience in the current organization and are familiar with business requirements, processes and systems within the organization, then try to grow within that organization (If there is a requirement for a business analyst).

Get involved in gathering business requirements and showcase you are fit for the post.

Once you have gathered enough experience and expertise, you can move on to a formal business analyst job.

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12 Responses to "What Key Skills Are Required For Business Analysts?"

  1. Preet Raj Singh Ahluwalia   October 21, 2010 at 1:13 AM

    Hi ,

    I have done BCA and I have 2+ years experience in a manual testing field in a big mnc and still i am pursuing with my job ,means understanding the full functionality of the system
    In this 2 years i have done the
    requirement gathering ,preparation of test cases ,execute the test cases ,Mainly Manual testers wont do that TCER’S prepartion for this tcer’s prepartion we have one functional specification document ,first we document how many conditions we can capture for our requirement ,i have a knowledge of SDLC also.
    Now i want to switch to the Bussiness analyst so please let me know which mba should be the best for me becoz as i can’t quit from my job ,i want to do an mba simultaneously with my job.

    I am waiting for your reply

    • Business Analysts Training   July 14, 2011 at 4:39 PM

      becoming a business analyst has as much to do with getting an MBA as it has to do with having a computer science degree or a doctoral degree or any degree … mainly little!

      Having an MBA or a doctoral degree or a business administration degree or a computer science degree only means to an employer that you are educated. It fulfills the requirement for some form of college education (degree, diploma) but it does not make you a business analyst.

      As a tester, you have been working with Use Cases. As a matter of fact, some testers derive their test cases from Use Case documents.

      Knowledge of Use Cases is more relevant or helpful to being a business analyst than an MBA or any other college degree for that matter.

      Start from scratch. Investigate the roles and requirements of business analysis as a profession and then learn those. Don’t assume that an MBA makes you a business analyst.

  2. Bhargavi   November 1, 2011 at 1:31 PM


    I am an MBA graduate specializing in Finance and International Business.

    I also have completed sql certifications and possess sound knowledge in Microsoft Excel and SPSS.

    I am relatively a fresher and have done couple of internships.

    I am keen on getting a role of an analyst.

    Please guide me, in reference to skill sets required for the role of an analyst.

    • Business Analysts Training   January 5, 2012 at 7:30 AM

      You are a strong job candidate with an advanced MBA college degree, hands-on experience derived from a couple of internships and marketable SPSS and Excel skills!

      Follow these steps to get a business analyst job:

      1. Create a Winning Resume

        The key to getting a job for someone who has such a good profile is to create a world class resume.

        Without a good resume, you will miss out on opportunities that you are completely qualified for or lose out to potentially less qualified or attractive resumes.

      2. Market Your Profile Relentlessly

        Focus on sending your resume to as many qualified positions as possible.

        The more resumes you send, the greater your number of interviews and the higher your chances of getting hired!

      3. Prepare for Business Analyst Interviews

        There is nothing worse than seeing a strong candidate lose out at the final round of interviews because they lack strong interviewing skills!

        Acing your job interviews implies that you take the time to prepare likely questions and rehearse answering them.

        Interview questions will fall into technical business analyst questions and questions about your resume and work / experience.

        When it comes to answering interview questions, your answers must be concise, comprehensive and correct (3Cs)!

      4. Keep Your Skills Current

        Don’t fall into the trap that besets many job seekers … that of looking for a job with updated skills.

        Keep in mind that sometimes, your job search will take longer than you expect and if you are not careful, your skills will become outdated or obsolete!

        Take additional training, coaching or self study as you apply for jobs, that way, you are a better candidate at every job interview!

  3. Ahamed   November 26, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    I am a Software Engineer with 3 years of experience in Web development using LAMP stack. I have been working with open source technologies and have a good knowledge on software development lifecycle (SDLC), waterfall model followed in previous organizations. Good knowledge on CRM, as I have customized SugarCRM, WordPress and many which are less popular.

    I am good in documenting process, as I have worked for CMM level 3 company. Some of the artifacts which I have knowledge are Software Requirement Specifications (SRS), Use case, Test plan, Test case, traceability matrix etc. I am also good in handling client calls.

    In addition, I have completed MBA (with distinction) in University of Bedfordshire UK, which is reputed and stands in Top 100 universities of UK. Have a good knowledge in eBusiness strategies and affiliate marketing.

    I am more interested in working more in core business activities and setting strategies for an organization. So, more interested in working as a business analyst, interacting with end customers, understanding demand patterns happening in the market.

    Hence I need some inputs for getting into an organization as Business Analyst.

    Now I am interested to work as a business

  4. shivan   December 7, 2011 at 4:57 AM


    Im an MBA in finance and working for an investment bank.

    I have three years of experience. I do not have any IT knowledge but I have good excel skills and basics of SQL.

    So recently I got a call from IIBA approved institute and asked me to enroll for the classroom based training course. It costs around 32000RS including all the charges.

    So now please advise is it worth for me to join this course? I cannot go and attend the interviews without any BA knowledge.

    Many thanks in advance,
    with regards,

  5. Rishabh   January 15, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    I am working as a Software Professional in Mainframe Technology with a reputed IT firm for the past 2.1 years.

    As a part of my work, i have been involved in doing lot of System Analysis, Design stuff etc.

    Since my early days, i had realised that I am more inclined towards doing Investigative type of work (Analysis) rather than pure technical stuff.

    I wanted to do an MBA, to get into this particular kind of job (Business Analyst). But couldn’t score good marks in competitive exams to get into a good B-School.

    I therefore want to find some other way, some other course, which when pursued would help me in getting into this kind of job.

    Please suggest me something.

  6. Amit   February 2, 2012 at 8:57 PM


    I am a chemical engineer with 3 years of experience in core chemical field, I was also involved with management side of the firm.

    I am presently enrolled for Masters Degree in MIS (Management Information System) in one of the reputed university.
    Computer programming is one area where i lack in the skills. I am looking forward for a job as a Business Analyst.

    Points of my concern are as under:
    1) Is the good programming knowledge essential to land in good job. If yes, which languages will you prefer me to develop my skills in?

    2)Apart from the programming knowledge what are the other essentials things i need to develop in?

    Thanking in anticipation.


  7. Rajni Bhatia   April 10, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Hi I am a tech lead with around 10 years of IT experience. I have skills required for a BA.
    I have recently cleared my Prince2 certification. My work experience includes working on the projects (whole SDLC) in Oracle, .Net etc.
    However, now i want to move on from technology constraint and Business Analysis field interests me a lot.

    Please suggest what I should do. I cannot certainly afford to restart my career as a BA from the beginner’s level.

    Your advice will help me a lot.

    Thanks n Regards,

  8. R. Johnson (Olympia, Washington)   August 1, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    As A State Government Worker, How Do I Become A Business Analyst?

    I have a strong interest in entering the business analyst field as a career path, however, it is very difficult to access this field as a state government worker.

    Many individuals have entered this field by knowing someone or networking.

    They do not always know what their job duties are and do not deliver a good product to the customer, so to ensure I do not go down that path, I would like to make sure I receive training, exposure to the business analyst field to include hands on experience.

    What are your recommendations for me to enter this field.

    I have a B.A. degree with an emphasis in social science.

    • Business Analysts Training   August 1, 2012 at 2:38 PM
      1. What Are The Qualifications For Success As A Business Analyst?

        Regardless of how you get a business analyst job; how connected or networked you are, what really matters is whether you can perform on the job or not!

        If you can’t perform, your customers, clients or team members will complain about your work and you will be fired.

        So, don’t worry about others who seem to be getting ahead right now without taking the time to learn and do their job well

        … you, focus on becoming the best business analyst you can be!

      2. Become The Best Business Analyst You Can Be

        First learn all you can about business analysis, using every possible means at your disposal.

        What matters is not how you learn it, but that you know it!

        So, don’t get hung-up on whether an MBA or a certification program is better … just learn business analysis.

        Learn using blogs, articles, training programs, textbooks, colleagues, on the job training etc.

        Then sharpen your skills using quizzes and hands-on assignments / projects, etc. Get as much real world experience as you can.

      3. Market Your Business Analysis Skills

        After you have become skilled at business analysis, focus your career on creating connections and contacts, networking and on promoting your resume, and your skills.

        The first hing you need to do after your training is; work on your resume.

        Get your resume into tip-top shape, then make yourself visible in your industry using forums like LinkedIn and Twitter, by participating on blog comments / starting your own blog and by using your expertise and by using your knowledge to help others.

      4. When Is Networking Valuable In Your Career?

        Yes, networking is important. But it is more useful when you really have something to offer!

        First things first. Improve your business analysis skills and when you are ready or have something valuable to say or offer, start networking.

        The reality is that unlike so many other occupations, if you have good to great business analysis skills and you have some experience to provide, validate or support that, you can get a job using only your resume.

        While networking is good for you, knowing how to get your resume into tip-top shape, find business analyst jobs online, apply for jobs using recruiters and job portals is also valuable.

        Yes, networking is important but don’t get paralyzed into inaction and despair by your lack of a network. You can actually avoid or circumvent the whole networking circuit by applying for business analyst jobs directly.

        Perhaps, I should go into this last point in detail in a new article, what do you think?

      That is what you really need to do… focus on being the best business analyst you can be and after that become a business analysis leader in your organization / industry / job using networking, social media and blogging opportunities!

  9. Anand   October 24, 2012 at 4:26 AM

    I am into Business of Telecom retailing(Cellphone,Broadband,Video Conference,E-Learning Courses) & Sales of Electronic tools to Automotive & Aviation Industry and I am doing good in Business.

    I have total of 7+ Years of business experience in Business Management & Business Development.

    I have studied Bachelors of Engineering (BE) in Electronics & Communication(2001) & MBA in Marketing & Telecommunication(2004).

    Due to some unavoidable reasons I am coming out of business & will be looking for jobs.

    I am keen on getting a role of an Business Analyst.

    I have gone through many of the posts on Business Analyst & as mentioned in the posts ,I have many of the skills & experience with good domain knowledge which Business Analyst requires.

    I am thinking of joining Business Analyst course in Pune city India.

    Advice me whether should I go for the BA course or you recommend me some other course which will be more useful for me to start a career as BA.

    Can I work as Business Analyst after completing this course because I will be having no job experience as I was into business.

    Will I get good job opportunity,what you suggest how should I approach the companies as I have no job experience.

    In India Business experience is not equally considered as job/work experience as I will be working in my own business.

    How should I convince the employer effectively regarding my work experience.

    Thank you.


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