what is a business analyst?

As a business analyst, you help your employer improve productivity, solve existing business problems and achieve goals. You work alongside business intelligence and data analysts to evaluate profitability issues. Your job is to check the financial information and company data to find loopholes in the business model that slow production. You also ensure the company operates optimally by identifying waste and introducing technologies boosting productivity. After analysis, you provide recommendations to improve business processes, software and products.

Besides analyzing internal company data, you monitor market trends and provide feasible solutions to company problems. You also advise on the organization's investments and the best time to sell company assets.

A career as a business analyst is linked to information technology since you rely on IT professionals' statistical expertise to analyze data and draw conclusions. You can work in various business sectors, from IT to manufacturing and retail. Most industries rely on your expertise to expand their production and boost efficiency. A business analyst should have exceptional analytical skills and creative thinking to develop solutions for various business problems.

Would working as a business analyst suit your analytical and problem-solving skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a business analyst role.

business analyst roles

average business analyst salary

According to Job Bank, a business analyst takes home an average salary of $93,734 per year or an hourly rate of $38.87. In an entry-level position, you start with a salary of $75,000 annually. As you improve your experience and qualifications, your earnings also increase gradually. That's why experienced business analysts take home $139,817 yearly.

what factors affect the salary of a business analyst?

As a business analyst, your salary depends on various factors, from the complexity of the tasks to your experience and company size. When you are in an entry-level position, your take-home salary is lower than business analysts in senior positions. The sector you work in also influences your earnings. For instance, a business analyst in IT is likely to earn higher than those working in other industries due to the complexity of their duties.

The size of the company you work for also affects your earnings. When you work for a large company with unlimited resources, you receive a higher salary due to the level of expertise required. Smaller start-ups may not have the budget or resources to pay higher salaries.

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types of business analysts

Business analysts have varying skill sets that fall into the following categories:

  • IT business analysts: as an IT business analyst, your focus is on the technical aspects of an organization. You analyze the use of IT resources in business processes and recommend ways to improve them for more efficiency. You also identify business IT needs and create plans or strategies to improve software integration.
  • data business analyst: a business analyst can focus on data analysis and become part of the team that develops ways to collect and analyze data for better interpretation.
  • business systems analyst: as a business systems analyst, you gather and analyze data from various systems. You also provide recommendations on areas of improvement.
Woman smiling while sitting behind her desk, screens displaying financial information.
Woman smiling while sitting behind her desk, screens displaying financial information.

working as a business analyst

If you are interested in data and analysis, check out business analysts' specific duties and work environments.


business analyst skills and education

To work as a business analyst in Canada, you should meet the following educational requirements:

  • bachelor’s degree: pursue a degree in business administration, finance or business analytics. Any business degree is a great start, but you can major in information systems, information technology or data analytics. The courses improve your knowledge of business modelling techniques and analyzing business workflows.
  • relevant work experience: you can gain practical work experience through internships and volunteer opportunities. Entry-level opportunities help you improve your knowledge and skills. In some regions in Canada, business analysis is a regulated occupation. For instance, in Alberta, you may need a certification from the Institute of Certified Management Consultants of Alberta. If you work in healthcare as a business analyst, you require certification from Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA).

competencies and characteristics of business analysts

As a graduate business analyst, you require the following skills:

  • problem-solving skills: your main role is to identify the practices in business strategies that don't perform to their full potential. You evaluate the problems and formulate practical solutions. That means you have the creative problem-solving skills to contribute substantially during brainstorming sessions.
  • communication skills: a business analyst translates ideas, data and findings from technical to simple language that stakeholders understand. Exceptional communication skills also help you liaise with clients to identify business requirements.
  • analytical skills: you require analytical skills to evaluate large amounts of data and develop ideas to fix problems. Your analytical skills help you identify patterns in data and discover anomalies. From the analysis, you can assess information and draft reports for stakeholders.
  • computer skills: as a business analyst, you need computing skills and knowledge to help you understand how technical systems work. You also use computerized statistical methods to analyze data.
  • project management skills: as a business analyst, you work on multiple projects and require effective project management skills like time management, budgeting and organizational skills. Your project management skills help you efficiently organize your work to ensure you meet deadlines. You can also complete simultaneous projects with good organizational skills.
  • teamwork skills: as a business analyst, you collaborate with various professionals, including data engineers and software programmers. With good teamwork skills, you reach shared goals faster.

FAQs about business analyst jobs

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a business analyst.


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