Business Systems Analyst: Skills, Jobs, Salary, Career Outlook

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Discover business systems analyst jobs, including responsibilities, skills, and qualifications. Uncover what it takes to become a business analyst and the earning potential.

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As businesses increasingly rely on cloud-based solutions, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), there’s a higher demand for business systems analysts who can understand and manage more complex information systems. Businesses need analysts who can help them make sense of all the data they are collecting, understand patterns and trends, and develop strategies for using these technologies to improve their operations and bottom line.

As a business systems analyst, you'll understand business needs and design systems that solve problems and improve efficiency. You’ll simultaneously function as a computer systems analyst, management, or business analyst. If you're looking for a challenging, rewarding job focusing on business and tech aspects, then a career as a business systems analyst might be right for you.

What exactly is a business systems analyst?

A business systems analyst is a person who performs systems analysis which is the process of defining the requirements and specifications for implementing computer system solutions. A business systems analyst may work with users, project team members and senior managers to describe new or change existing software systems and hardware configurations that an organization needs. 

Read more: What Is a Business Analyst? Career Guide

What does a business systems analyst do? 

As a business systems analyst, a big part of your responsibility will be to help your organization decide how best to use its existing technology or integrate new ones into existing systems. Here is some of what your role will involve:

  • Analyzing customer needs and other data

  • Developing functional requirements

  • Designing solutions and writing up technical requirements

  • Testing and implementing technology solutions

  • Conducting research

  • Gathering requirements from stakeholders

  • Analyzing current business processes and systems

  • Identifying areas for improvement

  • Creating procedures to improve the existing systems

  • Assessing hardware and software needs and providing recommendations for improvements

  • Recommending best IT practices

  • Providing training and support to users

Where could you be employed as a business systems analyst?  

Business systems analysts work in areas of business impacted by technology. A company may employ you to analyze its existing systems, where you could be part of a major transformation project working in the project team.  Most business systems analysts work in an office environment, although you may also travel to conferences or meet with clients.

Are there different types of business system analysts?

Your job responsibilities and projects can depend on your work, sector, and domain expertise. The work tends to be project-focused, so you may find yourself doing different types of systems analysis throughout your career. You may: 

  • Specialize in a particular industry, such as health care, manufacturing, or retail, or in a specific business function, such as finance or human resources information systems

  • Specialize in a specific type of software application, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM)

  • Work for a government agency or a non-profit organization.

  • Get a job with a consulting firm delivering information technology (IT) projects.

Skills and qualifications 

The skills and qualifications you’ll need as a business systems analyst depends on the project and the employer's preferences. Here are some common business system analyst skills that you should have:

  • Analytical skills: The ability to collect and analyze data is essential for a business systems analyst. In this role, you must understand the data and identify trends to make recommendations to improve the system.

  • Interpersonal skills: Business systems analysts must be able to work with people in different departments. You’ll communicate and collaborate effectively to solve problems to succeed.

  • Mathematical skills: Business systems analysts need strong mathematical skills to understand complex data sets and perform calculations. You must be able to identify patterns and relationships to make recommendations for improvements.

  • Critical thinking skills: As a business systems analyst, you must think critically to identify problems and potential solutions. You must be able to assess a situation from all angles and make decisions that will improve the system.

  • Problem-solving: Business systems analysts must be good at problem-solving to find solutions that meet the company's needs. You need to identify the root causes of problems and develop creative solutions that are efficient and effective.

  • Proficiency in office software: As a business systems analyst, you need to be proficient in office software, such as MS Office or Google Docs, to create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. You might also be able to use project management software, such as Wrike, Trello, or Asana to track progress on projects.

Education 

To build a career in this field, you’ll typically need a degree relevant to business systems analysis. This is usually a bachelor's degree in a field related to computer science, information technology, business administration, management information systems, economics, or finance. Some business systems analysts also have a master's degree in one of these fields.

Certifications 

Employers value candidates with certifications on their resumes. Here are two certifications to consider if you want to become a business systems analyst.

  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP): This business systems analyst certification from the International Institute of Business Analysis requires at least 7500 hours of experience in the field and 35 hours of professional development. 

  • Agile Analysis Certification (AAC): If you want to improve your ability to deliver successful Agile projects, then the IIBA® Agile Analysis (IIBA®-AAC) Certification might be what you’re looking for. This certification helps you gain the skills and knowledge you need to collaborate with Agile teams effectively. Learn Agile principles and show employers that you can deliver successful projects.

Should I get a Master of Business Administration (MBA)? 

You may wonder if an MBA is right for you. Consider your career goals, your industry, and your experience level. An MBA can give you the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to succeed as a business systems analyst. It can also help you get promotions in your career and earn a higher salary. However, before earning an MBA, investigate your situation's pros and cons. 

Job outlook and career prospects 

You can find a business systems analyst in almost every industry because companies need someone to help create and maintain efficient information systems. The job outlook for careers in business systems analysis appears good, although exact data is hard to find. 

According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the computer systems analyst job, a very similar career, is expected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, as fast as the average for other occupations [1]. Another aligned career, management analyst, has a projected growth rate of 14 percent from 2020 to 2030 [2]. As more companies invest in new technologies, they’ll need business systems analysts to help them implement technology transformation projects.

Similar roles

"Business systems analyst" means different things to different companies. In some organizations, a business systems analyst may be responsible for evaluating and improving existing business processes. In others, the title may refer to someone specializing in designing and implementing new business systems. Some job titles similar to business systems analyst, along with their average annual base salary in the US, include:

  • Management analyst: $69,881

  • IT business analyst: $77,029

  • Computer systems analyst: $73,715

  • Information systems manager: $94,755

*All salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of August 2022

Why are business systems analysts important? 

With the increase of cloud computing, big data, AI, and machine learning, businesses need new systems and processes to manage data in new ways. Business systems analysts must help design and implement more robust modern systems. Their expertise can help companies across different industries improve service, cut costs, and grow profits.

Salary

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for a business systems analyst in the US is $80,281 [3]. The job satisfaction for business systems analysts is also high, with people rating this job as a strong 3.9 out of 5 stars.

Get started 

If you're ready to learn more about a business systems analyst career, you might like to consider the Information Systems Specialization offered by the University of Minnesota on Coursera. When you take this program, you'll have the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge that can help you to launch a successful career as a business systems analyst.

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Information​ ​Systems

Information Technology . Become a better manager of information technology to address business problems

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Average time: 5 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Project Management, Critical Thinking, Management, IT Skills and Knowledge, Finance and accounting skills and knowledge, Business analysis skills and knowledge, Project management skills and knowledge

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Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “ Computer Systems Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm#tab-6.” Accessed June 22, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Management Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm#tab-6.” Accessed June 22, 2022.

3.  Glassdoor. “ Business Systems Analyst Salarieshttps://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/business-systems-analyst-salary-SRCH_KO0,24.htm.” Accessed August 2, 2022.

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