How to Become a Business Analyst


When it comes to managing a business, nothing is more important than consistent improvement. A business analyst’s job is to recognize problems, discover their root cause and offer solutions. Known as one of the higher sought-after positions, a business analyst’s expertise can help the organization get back on course. Success for this position, is highly rewarding – both financially and professionally.

The question is, how does one start a business analyst career? A great launching point is through the online Master of Science in Business Analytics program at the University of Nevada, Reno. With a graduate degree in business analytics, students can elevate their career by learning a variety of technical skills ranging from information systems to general knowledge needed to thrive within a fiercely competitive industry.

What does a business analyst do?

Assessment plays a big part in a business analyst’s day-to-day activity. They may start by speaking with stakeholders, management or other key players to inquire current problems and their manifestations. Examination of hard data, such as profit and loss (P&L) statements, revenue figures, expenditures and acquired debt are all part of the job description.

Business Analysts take a proactive approach to solving threatening issues to the organization by providing knowledge and key-insight. Insufficient cash flow can be a one of various reasons a business is forced to close their doors. By evaluating P&L statements and assisting businesses with improvement of their credit, a business analyst coordinates all necessary tactics of this process, strategically resolving liquidity issues for the organization.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), additional duties of a Business Analyst include:

  • Conducting on-site observations and analyses of productivity or employee assignments.
  • Interviewing various personnel (associates, managers, directors, chief operating officers, etc.) to gather their understanding of potential issues.
  • Documenting findings for stakeholders involved in a company’s recovery.
  • Recommending steps and solutions needed to overcome pain points within a business’s work processes (e.g. change management, inventory reduction, cycle time reduction, asset utilization, yield-loss management, etc.).
  • Monitoring new work processes to ensure recommendations are installed properly and offering suggested adjustments wherever appropriate.
  • Planning and organizing alternative solutions if the initial strategy fails to yield measurable results.

Achieving a greater understanding of duties and responsibilities of a business analyst can be obtained through the University of Nevada, Reno Master of Science in Business Analytics curriculum, as core courses include Business Analysis Methods, Data Transformation and SQL, Information Visualization & Communication as well as Enterprise Processes & Analytics. These courses help prospective and current business analysts develop or hone key skills critical to their success in this line of work. Problem-solving, critical thinking and communication are all transferable skills that can be applied in other aspects of a business analyst career.

What type of degree do you need to become a business analyst?

An entry-level Business Analyst role requires a bachelor’s degree at the bare minimum. However, due to its highly ranked positions in America by the likes of Forbes and several other online job search engines, graduate-level qualifications are highly desirable. This may include a master’s degree in business analytics or a master’s in business administration (MBA). Around 44% of business analyst professionals have a bachelor’s degree and 34% hold a master’s, according to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).

Playing a unique role in consultation, licenses and certifications are highly desired with  future hires. Licensure and various levels of certification is conferred by organizations such as the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) as well as the IIBA. Authentications granted by the IIBA include an entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA), Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA) and Certification in Business Data Analytics (IIBA – CBDA). IIBA certification are granted upon completing an exam and a certain number of years in work experience. For instance, a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) accreditation can be earned through the IIBA after five years of work experience in practical business analytics. (IIBA).

These titles provide business analysts with a higher-level of authority in their field, which can be leveraged to their advantage both in employment and earning power.

How much does a business analyst stand to earn?

A business analyst’s potential salary can vary significantly, depending on their expertise, skill set and work experience. Based on figures calculated by the BLS, the median salary for a business analyst in 2018 was around $83,600. This translates to more than $40 an hour. That same year, the highest paid (top 10%) received a gross salary of nearly $152,800, while the lowest 10% earned slightly over $48,350. These lesser amounts were typically among entry-level business analysts.

What qualities makes for a good business analyst?

As the business world grows increasingly competitive, so does the business analyst industry. With more companies drawing on their expertise to enhance growth, there are over 876,300 business analysts in the U.S. today with that number expecting to grow 14% through 2028. Thus, the ability to become a successful business analyst hinges on performance. Companies recruiting for future business analysts are looking for individuals who can utilize critical thinking, creative problem-solving and a strong sense of leadership.

Let an MSBA degree through the University of Nevada, Reno be a gateway to your career as a business analyst by providing you with these qualifications. Begin your journey by contacting us today to learn more.


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University of Nevada, Reno Master of Science in Business Analytics



Bureau of Labor Statistics

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IIBA Certifications