63% of Americans choose a freelancer position over working full time for a company. If you’re looking to make a difference and earn a great income while enjoying a freelance lifestyle, a career as a business analyst may be the choice for you.
What is a Business Analyst
This is a pretty fluid term that varies depending on the company. In most cases, however, they are part IT part business and part project management.
They can be hired to help a business that’s slowly dipping in profits, or maybe on board to give a realistic perspective on potential new products or ventures.
It’s often a their job to create a bridge between business solutions and what is technologically possible. They can work as a full-time position for a company or may play the role of a freelance consultant.
Skillsets for a Business Analyst
While many of the skills required to be a business analyst can be learned, some people have a natural suite for them. You may have a successful future as a business analyst if you have a knack for problem-solving, analyzing ideas, or effective communication.
There are also some key characteristics that tend to arise with business analyst such as asking multiple questions, being very selective, and a love for thorough research. Wanting to make the world better through a thriving economy is also a major plus if you’re considering this career path.
Responsibilities of a Business Analyst
A business analyst often has to wear multiple hats, taking on important responsibilities like:
Project planning and progress monitoring
Breaking down larger requirements into smaller tasks
Assessing requirements and applying them n the most productive way
Organizing internal structures
Assisting in business cases
Overall technical and office management
It’s not uncommon to see an office analyst zigzag from one position to the next depending on what is needed, so their responsibilities tend to change regularly. That’s why it’s important that a business analyst is able to take in what’s necessary and adapt quickly.
Studying to Become a Business Analyst
Education and training as a business analyst are often required to hold such a position. While the education portion can be intense, typically a two-year degree and strong experience are enough to be considered for the position. However, some courses are needed to acquire the required skills are taken, such as business modeling and effective communication.
Certification exams such as the CBAP can help lend credibility to your name, which can be completed online. If you’re already working for a company that can benefit from having a business analyst on board, there’s a chance they may invest in continuing your education to fill that role.
Projected Income of a Business Analyst
The overall income of a business analyst is directly correlated between the amount of education and experience they have and the specific job title they are given. For example, an information security analyst will make an annual salary of $92,600 while a computer systems analyst makes around $87,220.
If you fall more into the role of a financial analyst you can make around $81,760 while those in a management analyst position make about $81,330.
Increasing Professional Value
If you’re looking to climb up the ladder as a business, the best thing you can do to enhance your career value is to expand your skills.
This means taking on high-level internships, enrolling in extra online courses, or simply volunteering for projects that help you expand your skills. You can showcase these skills by initiating project plans, enhancing workflows, or exploring advanced data definition or traceability. The more knowledge you can demonstrate the more valuable you’ll be as a business analyst.
Being a business analyst is a fluid role, which means it opens the door to a number of other positions. After you’ve received several years of experience as a business analyst it will be time to make the next choice in your career. You can choose to establish yourself as an IT business analyst, senior business analyst or even a product manager.
From there, you can choose to take on larger responsibilities such as representing an international business with multiple offices.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Being a Business Analyst
Just like any job, there are a number of benefits and disadvantages that come with being a business analyst. Some advantages of being a business analyst may include:
Having a wide variety of projects to work on, helping to avoid feeling bored or complacent.
Getting to meet new people. Take on new challenges on a regular basis keeps your skills sharp and allows you to learn new things.
You will usually earn more money than you would as a permanent or long-term employee
You get to enjoy more flexibility in choosing what kind of projects you want to work on and when you work
You will be more focused on deliverables then details
Some disadvantages of working as a business analyst include:
You won’t receive benefits or entitlements that come with working as a full-time employee, including things like health care or employee shares.
You won’t have income coverage in case of a personal crisis like a loss in the family or a serious illness that forces you to take time off.
Extra training opportunities like workshops and conferences will have to be paid out of pocket instead of being covered by your employer.
Where to Find Clients
Finding clients as a business analyst can be a challenge. If you’ve been in the industry for some time, there’s a good chance that most of your clients will come as referrals or through word of mouth. You may also find clients online through listings or as postings on job sites.
One of the best ways to find clients, however, is by attending social events geared towards a specific industry that often uses business analysts.