How To Find Out If A Business Analyst Job Matches What you Would Like To Do
Have you ever considered a career change? Are you at a transition point in your life? To help evaluate your options, join me as I explore a business analyst job description. We will look at the qualifications needed, a day in the life, salary and how to get started.
The role of a business analyst is a very technical one. Your role is to look at a business and find ways to be more efficient. In such a role you need to have very strong analytical and technical skills. Manny business analysts have earned their Masters in Business Administration degree or have a number of years of experience in an analytical role. In fact, there are a number of analysts who have come from a computer programming backround and later transitioned. This is because the analytical nature of a role in computer programming is good preparation for a role in business analysis. 
Good business analysts have a combination of high skill level in both hard, or technical, and soft, non-technical) skills. There are many careers that require you to use both hard and soft skills but very few to the degree that business analysts are required to. You will use hard skills in the process of collecting, compiling and evaluating data as well as finding solutions. Some examples of hard skills you will be required to posses are knowledge of web based technologies, such as .Net and knowledge of database software, such as SQL
You will use soft skills in various aspects of the job. To begin, you will need to be able to communicate as part of your data collection, especially when it come to qualitative data collection as that generally involves conducting interviews. Also, you will need to be able to convey the information that you find to your team, superiors and any other stakeholders. Besides communication, problem solving and decision-making are other soft skills that are critical in your day-to-day activities. 
A Day in the Life
The way that activities are described in a typical business analyst job description can vary so widely. Some say that you will be required to "compile information, conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis and develop software applications" while others require "performing cost-benefit and return on investment analysis, create and facilitate training programs". With such a range of requirements and an ambiguous name it is tough to know what you actually do in the job.
To try to answer the question of what you will do in a day, your days will be very much project driven. As a result they will vary depending on which type of project you are working on. Days will vary so widely that it is almost a fallacy to say that there is a typical day. A more accurate depiction is to discuss what an average project lifecycle look like or. A project will go through very distinctive phases. These phases are to understand the business need, create a plan, elicit and manage the details, analyze the solution and finally transfer the knowledge. Each of these phases requires its own set of tasks making this role one that is very dynamic and varied.
I know it is great to know what the job qualifications are and what a day looks like but you want to know what the pay is. As is the case for most careers, experience in the field is a big determining factor in how much you are paid. In general, however, the salary will range from $46,000 to $82,000 with a median pay of $62,293 . Typically in this sort of role you will be working for a large firm so you will also have a generous benefits package as well, which is always a nice bonus.
How to get Started
â€¨So you are interested in getting in to the career. What do you do now you ask? Begin by finding someone who actually lives the role of a business analyst on daily basis. Linked In is the best place to find such a person. If you do not have any first level connections look to your second level connection and ask to be introduced. Most importantly, have fun.