In today’s world, we have access to a humungous amount of data. Thus we have a lot of job opportunities in the market for those who have the skills to deal with data. One might think of several roles related to data such as data mining, data cleaning, data warehousing, data scientist and much more. There is definitely a big requirement for technical skills but at the same time for those who can bridge the gap between technology and business? They are Business Analysts!
Now, why does one need a business analyst in the world of data if they cannot code or know complex algorithms? This is because not all projects require complex algorithms. We need Business Analysts to help the clients look at the data and come up with meaningful patterns or solutions without using complex technology.
Let’s look at some of the key skills Business Analysts have –
It goes without saying that Business Analysts should know the business well. They are domain experts and hence they need to understand thoroughly the trends and norms in their industry. Whether you are working in retail, finance, telecom, healthcare, each industry has specific terminologies, requirements, definitions. Hence a business analyst needs to invest a lot of time honing the business skills.
Business Analyst should be able to articulate their findings into business-friendly context. This may even include visualizations and interpret them clearly and concisely. When we enter the world of Data Visualizations it’s not so much about creating complicated charts but it’s about communicating the story that would have been complex otherwise. Visualizations are aides to story-telling in the context of business. Hence, it’s important that the findings are clear, decipherable and simple.
Business Analyst should be comfortable using MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint. This is because we are still dealing with data and should be able to slice and dice the data using excel, use MS Word for documentation and PowerPoint for presentation. It might be good to know advanced excel and have it handy. It’s not so important to learn coding and programming though a basic understanding might be of advantage.
Analytical thinking is a must for every Business Analyst. It is important to be able to think through the numbers and various possibilities because coming up with the final business case. This is because two people looking at the same data can come up with different but valid perspectives. As analysts, one should be able to critically analyze the data.
Besides the above, it is not required to have a degree in technical field. It could be of an advantage to have an MBA or Master’s degree with good quantitative aptitude since one should like to deal with data. It is not required to know complex statistical algorithms but understanding the basics of summary statistics can help to get a perspective about the data.