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What is a business analyst?

Definition: A business analyst analyzes business processes companies use to improve their efficiency and make better decisions.

They act as a bridge between the company's technical and business parts, taking in every detail of both sides and recommending actions they should take.

What does a business analyst do?

A business analyst job description looks like this:

  • Analyzing current and past states of the business.
  • Creating strategies for pursuing new business opportunities.
  • Gathering data about business issues.
  • Performing financial analysis for new business ideas.
  • Making data-driven predictions about the business’s future.
  • Visualizing data using charts and tables.
  • Evaluating the different aspects of a business and their changes.
  • Reporting to business stakeholders.
  • Planning the structure of a business.
  • Analysing every department's processes.
  • Making suggestions on how to improve current processes.

Key skills for a business analyst

To excel in this role, they must possess a combination of interpersonal and logical skills:

  • Analytical thinking as they are working with different types of data and need to come to spot patterns in them.
  • Problem-solving, as most of their work is solving business problems, coming up with solutions using data, and approximating the best course of action.
  • Decision-making backed by concrete data because their decisions directly impact the business’s future.
  • Communication with different departments and on different levels about finance, growth, metrics, and the future of the business.
  • Attention to detail, as small inaccuracies can impact their analysis and decisions.
  • Deep understanding of every function in the company ensuring that they take in every relevant factor when analyzing the business state.
  • Technical skills using data analysis software and tools.
  • Financial literature, as most of the data they are using is converted into money, and one of their jobs is advising the creation of budgets.
  • Report writing as they need to present their findings to stakeholders in a way they will understand.
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Article FAQs

Is a business analyst an IT job?
They use a lot of analysis software, but it is not considered an IT job but a business role. Unlike an IT job that builds software, business analysts help them with useful data that can improve their work and bridge the gap between IT and business.
What is the average salary of a business analyst?
The salary varies depending on the location, company, and analyst's experience, but the average US salary is $82,000 and can go upwards of $120,000.
Does a business analyst do coding?
No, their focus is to analyze processes, including using a wide range of tools, but no coding. The only exception will be SQL if they work with any type of database that they need to create.
What does a business intelligence analyst do?
They are responsible for gathering, analyzing, interpreting, and storing important business data like revenue, sales, engagement… They use past data to optimize the present processes. The key is that a business analyst uses past and present data to prepare the business for the future.
What is the difference between a data analyst and a business analyst?
Both roles work with data, but they focus on different aspects of it. Business analysts use data to make strategic decisions on how to increase profit, satisfy stakeholders, and improve a product/service, while a data analyst works on collecting data, reporting, and spotting trends. They are usually confused, but a data analyst works with hard data, while a business analyst uses data to improve a business.

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