An advanced degree like a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems can put professionals on the right track for a number of attractive career opportunities. Depending on students’ chosen electives and other elements, they can graduate with the skills and knowledge necessary to tackle roles like computer systems administrator, computer network architect, information security analyst, and more.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at one of the positions available for graduates of a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems program: the IT-focused business analyst role. This relatively new position is growing in popularity. However, it’s important for students and professionals to understand what a business analyst in the IT industry does, how this role differs from other positions, and the other elements to consider about this career path.
What is a business analyst in the IT industry?
As The Balance contributor Patricia Pickett notes, the term “business analyst” could refer to a range of jobs and duties, and is sometimes confused with other analyst roles. An IT-focused business analyst, sometimes known as a computer systems analyst, works closely with IT administrators and other decision-makers to identify any challenges to the company’s technology infrastructure and ensure that systems and solutions support the business’s needs.
A business analyst in the IT sector might recommend adjustments to the current infrastructure to shore up security weaknesses, enable new user capabilities, or boost efficiency and productivity in IT working processes.
An IT-focused business analyst is also responsible for duties like:
- Assessing the current infrastructure and pinpointing any weaknesses or issues related to security and other areas
- Proactively forecasting emerging IT needs due to company growth or the availability of advanced new technology
- Spearheading IT change management, including evaluating the potential impact of recommended IT adjustments and preventing any obstacles ahead of deployment
- Validating that improvements have taken place according to expert guidance, and verifying that deployments are correct
- Documenting recommendations and resulting IT infrastructure adjustments
Overall, an IT business analyst oversees and helps manage and maintain a company’s computer solutions and systems as well as the working processes and other factors that impact these platforms. The end goal for an IT-focused business analyst is to ensure that the organization’s employee users have access to the IT tools and capabilities that will enable them to complete critical tasks efficiently and effectively. This includes pinpointing areas of need, advising on the solutions that will help bridge current gaps, and supporting the deployment of these systems.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an IT business analyst also takes part in cost analyses and must make sure that the company’s current IT needs don’t overextend its financial resources.
Finally, once new systems have been set up and rolled out to end users, the IT business analyst will also help foster IT education and training around new features and use cases. This might include hosting training sessions and creating the necessary instructional collateral.
Business analyst career path
According to data from PayScale, the average business analyst in the IT industry can expect a typical salary of $68,254 annually, or as much as $96,000 annually depending on the working environment and other factors. However, to earn this position, professionals must have the right skills and education.
The business analyst career path requires that professionals have an understanding of critical processes and subject matter like:
- Trending technology: Business analysts will use current trending technologies and IT research to back their infrastructure improvement recommendations with recent and relevant information.
- Analysis of user needs: Business analysts in IT must ensure that the adjustments they make to a company’s systems and solutions not only serve the overarching business, but are intuitive and easy for users to interact with.
- Cost analysis: As noted, business analysts must also consider the cost of IT tools and how these fit into the business’s budget.
- Setup, configuration and deployment: This role requires an in-depth knowledge of IT systems and solutions.
- System testing: Business analysts will need to check platform usability and that initial deployment was successful. It’s also their responsibility to ensure that deployment won’t negatively impact other IT infrastructure components.
- User education: These individuals also need to educate and improve awareness about new systems and solutions to ensure that the company’s employees understand how to leverage them. Proper education also helps prevent users from falling back on outdated platforms or shadow IT options.
In this way, many professionals looking toward the IT business analyst role will begin their career path with an advanced degree that can teach them the skills described above. As PayScale notes, there are several career paths available to IT-focused business analysts — after achieving the analyst role, professionals can progress to IT project managers, senior business analysts focused on computer software and solutions, or senior business analysts.
How to become a business analyst
One of the best ways to begin one’s journey on the IT business career path is to foster the necessary skills and knowledge through an advanced degree like the online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business. Students will expand their knowledge in critical IT areas like:
- Business programming
- Database management
- Business data communications
- Project management
- Financial management
- Operations management
- International business dynamics
This program provides the necessary skills and competencies to prepare graduates for in-demand and rewarding roles like IT-focused business analyst. To find out more about the online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, connect with one of our expert enrollment coaches today.