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Top 10 Business Analyst Skills
Having a strong skill set is crucial to gaining success in the business analyst career path. This role is neither purely technical nor purely non-technical. It is somewhere in between multiple teams, which is why it requires strong expertise in various skills including technical and soft skills. Here, we have compiled a list of the top business analyst skills.
1. Statistics and Probability
Knowledge of statistics and probability is one of the basic technical skills that should be possessed by a business analyst. As the role of a business analyst is to find solutions from the data at hand, methods of statistics and probability will help them connect the dots and arrive at solutions. Statistics and probability will help a business analyst to have a better understanding of data to come up with efficient predictions.
Statistics helps business analysts to analyze past outcomes and predict future performance, while probability helps business analysts in decision-making based on the patterns present in the collected data.
The following are the topics that are the most essential to be mastered by these professionals:
- Permutation and combination
- Probability distribution
- Bayes’ theorem
- Regression analysis
- Sampling techniques
- Hypothesis testing
- T-distribution testing
- Analysis of variance (ANOVA)
2. Programming Skills
Business analysts usually deal with data and relevant coding. So, learning a programming language is essential for becoming a business analyst. Programming languages, such as R and Python, help business analysts in dealing with big data. Business analysts should also be able to work on database management systems. For this, languages such as SQL help them to extract, create, and modify data from databases.
Programming languages and databases required to be known by a business analyst are:
3. Data Visualization
Data visualization is a required skill for transforming raw data into actionable digital representations. Data visualization skills help business analysts to assist clients in understanding the data and making strategic choices to meet their needs.
There are various types of data visualization techniques used by business analysts including scatter plots, time series sequences, polar area diagrams, timelines, line graphs, and more. A business analyst must have the expertise to leverage all these techniques to come up with elegant and comprehensive visualizations.
The following are the visualization tools that you need to work on to become a business analyst; mastering these tools will add value to your skillset:
Preparing for an interview? Check out our Business Analyst Interview Questions.
4. Communication Skills
Communication is the most significant of all the skills required for business analysts. Their main role is to provide solutions for business development. They should be capable of sharing their ideas and views with their team in such a way that they are able to convey their point clearly and precisely. This job role also involves meeting with clients and stakeholders on a daily basis; so, the professionals have to make sure that the clients understand their point. All of this requires excellent communication skills.
Here are a few tips to improve your communication skills:
- You may be good with the verbal language that is used in your office space, but it gets complex when you are dealing with clients who are from different geographical areas. Listening will help you understand the different accents that are generally used around the world. While conversing, listening to how your friends and colleagues from different parts of the world talk, or even watching movies, can help you with improving your communications skills. So, first, listen carefully!
- When you listen to new words or sentences, look up their meanings and try to use them. Talking with people who have superior knowledge of a language than you can be very helpful. You can also record your voice and listen to your way of speaking so that you can figure out where improvement is needed.
- Prepare yourself before speaking. It is okay to take a few seconds while replying to any conversation. Take time to collect your thoughts and then continue.
- For people who struggle to speak with strangers, the only solution is to maintain a positive attitude. Start with a smile and a greeting, and then carefully start the conversation. Try collaborating with more people even if it is challenging for you. Eventually, you will be able to overcome your inhibitions.
Be proficient in speaking languages, improve your communication skills and learn from your errors!
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5. Negotiation Skills
A business analyst requires negotiation skills to act as a bridge between IT or tech and business teams in an organization.
To implement any business solution or idea, the business team and the tech or IT team must agree on the requirement and the solutions that are put forward. To do that, a business analyst should have the skills to negotiate with both teams on various terms and conditions.
To negotiate with individuals from different teams, a business analyst needs the following qualities:
- Patience is required to explain your point clearly and convince your co-workers to adopt your suggestions.
- Interacting with your co-workers or clients in a friendly manner allows you to create a cordial environment that facilitates making them listen to your point and convincing them of the same as well.
- Being practical is necessary. People will only agree with you if you have practical and feasible solutions.
- Being bossy is sometimes required. You may have to lead the team if it is working on your idea. In such cases, you might have to divide the responsibilities among the team members and lead them.
As you can see, negotiation skills are as important as any other skill to become a business analyst.
It is also necessary to learn various Business Analysis techniques, go through our blog on the most popular Business Analysis Techniques to know more.
6. Critical Thinking
Business analysts must have the ability to think critically because they need to meet the client’s expectations with their analysis of the data. So, business analysts have to analyze the data in the light of different aspects and prioritize business requirements.
Business analysts should also concentrate on the data that they are collecting and the methods used for the same because only perfect data can give perfect results. Thus, to fulfill various business demands, business analysts should inculcate critical-thinking skills as well.
The steps that you can follow to think critically are as follows:
- Write down the question and understand it thoroughly
- Assemble all the required information
- Use what you have learned from the available information
- Consider the consequences
- Consider alternative viewpoints
A business analyst is expected to provide solutions that are beneficial to organizational growth. A business analyst’s findings can have a huge impact on an organization and its decision-making. The decisions made on the findings of a business analyst can overpower competitors and propel your organization to a new level.
That is why business analysts need to think more than twice before finalizing any decision. The mindset to think from different aspects and predict possible results helps business analysts to make perfect decisions.
For better decision-making, you need to follow the below-mentioned points:
- Recognize the main aspects that will influence the outcome of a decision
- Make an accurate measurement of your choices and set goals
- Consider the possible outcomes and their logical implications
- Identify danger and dissolve any confusion
- Consider effective methods in situations that require economic evaluation
- Always make the best decision possible
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Last but not the least, expertise in problem-solving helps business analysts to succeed in their careers. The role of a business analyst is challenging at every step, and they should be able to solve these challenges in order to overcome them. Thinking deeply about a problem’s source and causation will lead to finding appropriate solutions.
To solve any business problem, as a business analyst, you can follow these steps:
- Identify the problem
- Determine the root cause of the problem
- Try examining the problem from different perspectives
- Find out a possible solution
- Identify the consequences of the solution
- Implement the solution
- Always review the result to further improve the solution
9. Microsoft Excel
Excel is one of the oldest and most powerful analytics and reporting tools. Business analysts use Excel to conduct a variety of calculations, make reports, and carry out budget analyses to uncover business trends.
Excel is a spreadsheet that is very helpful to handle and analyze data easily. With just adding the appropriate formula, you can calculate the required parameters in a matter of seconds. Excel is quite easy to learn and work with as well. It helps business analysts to prepare documentation and even make decisions.
Documentation is needed because business analysts analyze data, make reports, and create documentation on the basis of the data. Documentation helps business analysts in client and team meetings where it is used to convey one’s point precisely and clearly. The combination of detailed documentation and presentation skills can be very impressive to the clients. Expertise in simple tools such as MS PowerPoint and MS Excel can help business analysts to create efficient and compelling documentation.
After reading this blog, you would have understood what are the required skills to become a business analyst. Today, to develop business operations, there is always a need for professionals with expertise in key business analyst skills. Therefore, skilled and certified business analysts are in high demand across all industry verticals. Enroll in the Business Analytics online course offered by Intellipaat to become an expert in Business Analytics.
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