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Top technical skills every business analyst should have

By Ben Madden

Considering working towards a career as a business analyst, but don’t know where to start? Working as a business analyst means you’ll work with a range of organisations to help them become more efficient and reduce costs, helping them to succeed. It’s a career that’ll be in high demand over the next decade, so the job security is there if you’re looking for it.

Read on to learn more about the top technical skills you’ll want to have to succeed as a business analyst!

Is knowing SQL required to be a business analyst?

Knowing Structured Querying Language (SQL) as a business analyst can help you succeed, as it is a useful way of managing the data that the business/s you’re helping improve their processes provide.

SQL can prove to be especially useful if you’re looking to understand the relationships between datasets (eg. if you’re looking to understand how factors like time of year, price point and temperature affect the sales that a retail business makes).

Relational databases can help you organise your data as a business analyst, while also allowing you to submit queries that can uncover inefficiencies and expenses that can improve the business’ processes. 

While you might not need to know SQL as a business analyst 100% of the time (in some situations, you can get away with using Excel), it can help you work with larger organisations to unpack more complex datasets and deliver more robust and refined recommendations.

You can then go and communicate these to the relevant stakeholders with the knowledge that you’ve been able to extract the information needed from your databases. 

Should business analysts be familiar with coding and programming?

While having the ability to code and program can help a business analyst, it’s not strictly necessary. Creating new programs as a business analyst might not be the best use of your time – instead, it’s worth considering what existing tools and programs you can use to help improve your client’s processes.

Being a successful business analyst can often mean you focus on the best ways to work smarter, not harder – because at the end of the day, that is how businesses can get ahead of their competition. 

Of course, it is worth considering learning some basic coding and programming skills if you’re aiming to work with technology-driven companies. Knowing how to code and program can help you speak to more members of the business to get a sense of the roles they play within the company’s ecosystem, helping you to make considered recommendations once you’ve poured over the company’s data.

Looking to learn more about coding/programming? Consider completing one of Upskilled’s courses – you can learn more here.

What are some important things to consider when improving BA skills?

If you’re looking to improve your skillset, then it’s important to consider your current strengths and weaknesses. Everyone will have different areas of expertise, which will come in handy if/when you’re looking to specialise.

If you’re looking to work with government organisations, then understanding how different government departments operate is key. Want to work with enterprise organisations? Think about their growth goals, and how you can help them achieve their objectives.

After a set of skills that can help you get ahead in the world of business analytics? We’ve got you covered!

While this is by no means an exhaustive list (the more skills the better), some fundamental skills that every business analyst should have include:
  • Understanding requirements life cycle management
  • The ability to analyse complex and large data sets 
  • Developing the ability to use a range of statistical tools
  • Understanding the agile scrum project management approach (as well as other agile scrum methodologies) 
  • Understanding SQL and Excel
  • Problem solving – especially when faced with unfamiliar challenges
  • Communication skills – especially communicating with stakeholders that might not be involved with day-to-day operations

It’s also worth considering completing further study to improve your skillset. Upskilled offers a range of courses, including AI and business analysis qualifications, to help you work towards a career as a business analyst.

Upskilled’s Business Analyst certificate is delivered by Simplilearn in collaboration with IBM and EY, and takes 5-7 months to complete. Consisting of six courses (as well as optional electives), the course calls on the expertise of instructors to help you build a sophisticated BA skillset. Get ready for a career in business analysis in months, not years. 

If you’re currently in another career, or you have other commitments, Upskilled’s courses might be right for you. They involve self-paced learning so you can ensure you’re taking in the information at your own speed, while also giving you the opportunity to refer to the skills and knowledge that’s being passed on as part of the course when you feel like you might need a refresher.

Upskilled’s courses also involve practical assessments, so you can be confident that the skills you’re learning are job ready. All that’s left is to make your next career move by enrolling today! 

Ready to take the next step towards a career as a business analyst?

Upskilled is here to support you. You can learn more about the range of courses that Upskilled provides here. Want to know more? Reach out to Upskilled’s education consultants today to find out more about why a career as a business analyst might be right for you! 


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Start your next course with Upskilled. Enter your details in the form below.

*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.