Business analysts help organizations in all types of sectors and industries—retail, tourism, health care, government—solve in-house challenges. They are responsible for understanding business goals and customer needs, and finding the right balance of technology upgrades and process improvement to meet both.
“The challenges organizations face could include legal implications or licensing issues. They could involve changing technology to adapt to a new process, or examining a process—such as how the manufacturing floor is laid out, which could lead to taking out a redundancy,” says Jen Battan, a business analyst with more than 20 years of experience in the field, and the primary instructor for the University of Minnesota’s Business Analysis Certificate.
Battan says she got into the field accidentally. She had been employing the techniques used in business analysis at an advertising agency before her title reflected that role. She says that’s how a lot of people enter the field.
“Most BAs stumble into the activity. They may understand the tasks and have on-site mentoring to help them carry out some of the responsibilities. But there’s a whole discipline and a body of knowledge that supports the discipline. You can do business analysis activities without even knowing it, but once you find out you aren’t alone, it adds so much more value to what you are doing,” says Battan.
That’s why Battan recommends getting the U’s Business Analysis Certificate. 
“There are techniques that BAs use that can be very useful in a variety of professions. For someone who is trying to understand a solution for a specific user group, or for someone who has a technical role for which they have to interpret requirements but don't know where to start, BA courses or the certificate can help fill in those blanks,” Battan says. 
So, would the BA Certificate be right for you? Probably! Battan says it would benefit those who:

  1. want to get into a well-paying, in-demand field. “Business analysts work at various levels of an organization and across practically all industries. The job has unlimited growth potential.”
  2. need structure or a better way to accomplish their goals. “There may be someone already working in the role and wondering, ‘Is there a process to follow? Are there approaches and techniques to use to find this solution and put it into action?’” (The answer is “Yes!”) 
  3. have a job that interacts with BAs. “It would help them understand why BAs ask so many questions, or dig into specifics that may seem trivial. For example, a BA may tap a subject matter expert about a specific solution the BA is exploring, so they know what additional details they’ll need from the business people.”
  4. need continuing education. “Even if they’re working as a BA, they still need to keep their training and knowledge up to date.”
  5. are studying for the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) certification. “There are three levels of certification specific to business analysis offered by IIBA. These are true competency exams, also known as a ‘big, scary test’!” 
  6. want a promotion. “Someone wanting a promotion may choose to get training in a field that’s related to their own. People with a baseline understanding of BA mechanics and processes can contribute to a well-rounded team because they understand the customer’s needs, as well as the goals of the organization.”  
  7. need a job that can be done remotely. “Business analysts can truly work in any environment, virtual or remote officing included. Competencies such as communication and relationship building are at the core of the discipline and those skills, alongside analysis techniques, can be translated no matter where the work is needed.”

Visit the Business Analysis Certificate website for the course list and dates.