A junior business analyst is the unsung hero of operations and production. They undertake complex tasks in different domains daily, while working under the shadow of experienced analysts. Now, with more and more organizations relying on data-driven decision-making, junior analysts straddle also the line between the technical and non-technical. Furthermore, they optimize company operations by delivering fresh data perspectives and upgrading current operations infrastructure. This blog sheds light on all the essential hard and soft skills that will help entry-level analysts shine.
Who is a Business Analyst?
Business Analysts (BA) document the systems and processes of companies to pinpoint areas that require enhancement. They also utilize data analytics to close the divide between IT and business and streamline operations to generate value at every stage of production. Consequently, they provide sustainable business solutions by examining the details of crucial business operations, assessing stakeholder relationships, and detecting efficiency problems in operations.
Skills You Need to Start Your Career as a Business Analyst
A junior business analyst requires the following skills to excel at their jobs:
A junior business analyst essentially assists senior analysts in executing their job. Their role, therefore, is to succinctly describe clients’ needs for a project. This entails documenting and maintaining meticulous descriptions of business requirements. Minute observations from junior analysts enable project managers and senior analysts to avoid loopholes in the requirements, thus preventing future complications. To perform this role well, junior business analysts should be adept at:
- Streamlining project goals
- Aligning client needs with business objectives
- Reducing organizational clutter
- Simplifying cross-team communication
Knowledge of Process Improvement
Junior analysts will be better equipped to analyze business requirements if they have a thorough understanding of the different processes involved in the production chain. However, the processes are different for different sectors and require domain-specific knowledge. Here is how junior analysts can help with the production and operations processes:
- Suggest data-driven recommendations on improving production processes after consulting with senior business analysts
- Provide a structured framework for managing a project
- Provide a realistic idea of different business requirements
- Help strategize the five phases of the business lifecycle—launch, growth, shake-out, maturity, and decline
- Delegate responsibilities to professionals from different domains
Knowledge of SQL and Statistical Analysis
The business analysis deals with data-driven recommendations to improve current business processes. This means that a junior business analyst should know the basics of SQL such as handling relational databases and undertaking statistical analysis. Moreover, SQL, being an indispensable part of relational databases, helps access large amounts of data at its original location. It is also a favorite among data analysts because of the easily understandable syntax. On the other hand, statistical analysis helps businesses identify patterns from consumer data, and understand their needs. It is also extremely important for finding potential markets and predicting sales.
Business Intelligence (BI) Tools
BI tools play an essential role in sifting through tons of unstructured data. This also includes coming up with accurate visualizations via graphs, charts, etc. What’s more, companies in turn can increase their competitive advantage by leveraging the robust analytical faculties of predictive analysis. Here are some reasons to use BI tools:
- An accurate understanding of clients’ needs
- Getting directly actionable insights
- Data is highly sophisticated and efficient
- Boosts production operations
- Promotes a strong understanding of current business goals among the stakeholders
A junior business analyst functions as a liaison between development teams and their business counterparts, as their technical expertise is wide and diverse. A junior business analyst must thus master the following:
- Data analytics: Understand the applications of four types of data analysis
- Programming: Master the basics of R, Python, or C++
- Machine learning: Learn the basic applications of supervised and unsupervised machine learning, and reinforcement learning
- MS Office Suite: Knowledge of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is a must
Intelligent database designs determine the efficiency of storing and retrieving information from the central database. Therefore, a junior analyst’s importance lies in improving the scalability of databases and preventing data redundancy or inconsistencies.
A junior business analyst may not take the final call on company decisions, but they do juggle decisions on daily minor operations. These decisions are governed by conditions specific to the situation, project scope, and stakeholders’ needs. Thus, the growth of a creative problem-solving mindset is important to reframe strategies daily. This is how you can enhance that skill:
- Empathize with the speakers narrating their problems through active listening
- Reframe problems into answerable questions
- Use a successful framework to prioritize needs
Strong Analytical Skills
Analytical skills refer to the ability to investigate a problem with a logical, unbiased approach. Further, it is often related to critical thinking and can be enhanced as follows:
- Introspecting on past decisions
- Observing more by reading between the lines
- Developing the art of learning
- Mastering problem-solving as a discipline
- Studying decision-making styles of successful leaders
Research is one of the most indispensable soft skills for a junior business analyst. First, it portrays you as a good problem solver to your employers. Secondly, good research skills ensure you get closer to the challenge at hand, find unique approaches to solve said problems, and drive home effective solutions.
What do Junior Business Analysts do?
An entry-level business analyst has the following responsibilities:
- Investigate business functions and optimize operations
- Relay data stories to nontechnical stakeholders
- Verify and optimize workflows and production processes
- Assist senior analysts in integrating modern technology and improving existing business processes
- Support the collection, analysis, cleaning, and classification of company data
Career Scope as a Business Analyst
Business analysts will witness a rise in demand in the ongoing decade, as the employment of management analysts is projected to grow 11% from 2021 to 2031. Moreover, with increasing digital transformation, analysts will also attract lucrative salary packages. A 2023 Glassdoor report states that the annual salary of an entry-level business analyst in the U.S. is $70,536.
How to Become a Junior Business Analyst?
- Explore the fundamentals of business analysis
- Make an informed decision about the domain of your choice
- Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Economics, Finance, or any related field
- Develop business analysis skills
- Understand the basics of stakeholder analysis
- Gain actual working experience through internships
- Acquire an online certificate for business analysis
- Apply for jobs or start as a freelance consultant
FAQs for Junior Business Analysts
1. What is the Role of a Junior Business Analyst?
- Data gathering and documentation
- Requirements gathering
- Operations gap analysis
- Recommending data-driven solutions
- Testing as well as appropriate communication
2. What Skills are Required for a Junior Business Analyst?
- Data science skills
- Documentation skills
- Knowledge of BI tools, SQL, and statistical analysis
- Knowledge of IT
- Analytical thinking
- Business domain knowledge
3. How do Junior Business Analysts Contribute to Process Improvement?
- Investigate inefficiencies by studying stakeholder data
- Analyze process data
- Recommend changes in production and operations
- Support change implementation
- Monitor the performance of new processes
4. What are the Responsibilities of a Junior Business Analyst in Operations Analysis?
- Collecting operational data
- Analyzing and identifying operational issues
- Monitoring reports on production
- Assisting the senior management with comprehensive reports on operations analysis
5. What Career Advancement Opportunities are Available for Junior Business Analysts?
- Project manager
- Senior analyst
- Data analyst
- Product manager
- Business systems analyst
Kickstart Your Career as a Business Analyst with Emeritus
To conclude, the job of an entry-level business analyst is multi-dimensional. It not only requires a deep grasp of business operations, but strong data analysis skills and critical thinking skills too. The good news is that it’s all accessible with data science courses offered by Emeritus. What’s more, you get to solidify your foundation as a junior business analyst and formulate data-driven business operations for different industries.
By Bishwadeep Mitra
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