How to become a business analyst in Australia

woman looking at her iPad
woman looking at her iPad

Data matters to organisations. Recent Deloitte modelling indicates that even a one-point increase in a company’s data maturity score leads to a 6.7% revenue growth each year

For the average Australian company, this equates to around $A850,000.

The challenge for organisations is how to effectively use data to make a difference. After all, data is only helpful if you can understand it. That’s where a qualified business analyst comes in.

Becoming a business analyst in Australia enables you to make a real impact in the organisations you work for. Your responsibilities can range from collaborating with finance, marketing and IT to presenting actionable insights and strategies to C-suite executives. 

Whatever you’re doing, your role as a business analyst will be vital to organisational success.  

So if solving complex problems and tackling unique challenges drives you, becoming a business analyst might be the ideal career choice. Interested? 

Here’s our advice on exactly how to become a qualified business analyst in Australia. 

What skills do you need to be a business analyst?

The field of business analytics is the crucial link between data and how to use it effectively. Your job as a business analyst is to harness the power of data by interpreting it. 

That means turning it into actionable information that your organisation can use to solve problems and inform decision-making.  

Contrary to common myths and misconceptions, a successful career in business analytics involves much more than just number crunching. To do the job well, you’ll need a blend of technical and emotional intelligence skills.

1. Technical skills

Just some of the technical skills you’ll need as a business analyst include understanding and being able to use: 

  • Statistical analysis and database software
  • Database querying languages
  • Programming skills such as Python and R
  • Survey/query software
  • Business intelligence and reporting software
  • Data mining, data visualisation and database design skills  
  • Accounting knowledge
  • Financial management skills

2. Emotional intelligence skills

However, understanding and interpreting data is only half of your role as a business analyst. The other half involves sharing the insights you uncover in a way that enables your organisation to use them. This requires strong:

  • Communication and storytelling skills
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Collaboration skills

Business analyst seminar

What’s it like to be a business analyst? 

On a day-to-day level, working as a business analyst means no two days are the same. It’s your job to solve new organisational challenges. But you don’t have to do it alone. 

Instead, you’ll work together with various people, teams and disciplines across your organisation. You’ll help them understand each existing challenge – and then help them to solve it. 

This means you’ll get the satisfaction of seeing the positive impact once your client or organisation implements your recommendation. 

For experienced senior business analyst at NSW Department of Customer Service, Turker Celik, collaboration is one of the most important aspects of his daily work.

“I would say that half my day, or even half my week is about collaboration. So for me, that is working with business stakeholders, engineers, UX designers, testers and customers.”

Celik says that for the remainder of his working day, he is working independently on tasks such as:

  • Preparing to facilitate upcoming meetings 
  • Creating guidance documents for the project team
  • Documenting workshop findings
  • Documenting the analysis that the team does to create artefacts for input into technical solution designs  
  • Planning project timelines and resourcing
  • Assisting the development team when unexpected issues arise
  • Answering queries from business stakeholders on product strategy

Some other typical daily tasks for a business analyst can include:

  • Diagnosing problems and inefficiencies within your organisation
  • Analysing budgets and financial forecasts
  • Reviewing pricing
  • Analysing strategies
  • Processing data and reporting insights to key stakeholders
  • Meeting with people from across the organisation to understand the current situation
  • Making educated predictions based on data analysis 
  • Identifying solutions and potential courses of action for your organisation

How to get a job as a business analyst

Business analysts and other data professionals are increasingly in demand. 

According to the Australian Government, five out of the top 25 emerging occupations in the country involve data analytics. National Skills Commissioner Adam Boyton even said recently that, “data and digital skills are the fastest-growing emerging skills employers are seeking.”

The increased demand for data professionals is at least partly due to accelerated workplace digitalisation in response to the pandemic. For example, 90% of Australian businesses responded to the pandemic by adopting new technology to support business continuity - for example, shifting to online methods of trading. 

And more digital technology means more data collection.

As a result, employers are now looking for data analytics talent to help them make sense of the data they’re collecting. Recently, Deloitte surveyed more than 500 companies across Australia and New Zealand to establish their levels of data maturity. Of the respondents, 54% said they planned to hire skilled staff to grow their data analytics and machine learning capabilities. 

To take advantage of this increased demand for data professionals, follow these four steps to becoming a qualified business analyst.

1. Obtain a high-quality, relevant tertiary qualification. Most business analysts hold a minimum of an undergraduate degree in a relevant field such as:

  • Business
  • Business administration
  • Computer science
  • Information technology
  • Finance
  • Project management
  • Accounting
  • Engineering
  • Information science/statistics
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Marketing

However, some employers are looking for candidates with a business analyst education that includes a relevant master’s degree. This means that studying for a Master of Business Analytics qualification is an excellent choice if you want to:

  • Develop more specialist analytics skills in your current role
  • Advance or broaden your career opportunities
  • Gain a competitive edge by developing expert technical analytics capabilities

Of course, studying a postgraduate master’s degree can increase your salary. But even better, it may also improve your full-time employment prospects and boost both your confidence and competence.

Celik says that doing a master’s degree helped him to strengthen his communication skills while building his technical analytical skills.

“My master's degree helped me a lot in people management, especially with peer management. As a business analyst, you work with many different people across an organisation, and you need to be able to collaborate and communicate clearly with everyone,” he says.  

2. Understand the BABOK® Guide. The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®) is a globally recognised reference guide to the standards of practice for business analysis professionals. Membership includes access to helpful resources such as a self-assessment tool to measure your competency and event information, plus you'll be part of a community of like-minded peers.

3. Gain work experience. People with no prior work experience in a relevant field often start their business analyst career in an entry-level data professional role. Then, once they have enough on-the-job experience, they tend to advance into a business analyst position.

For example, you might begin as a data or financial analyst and then move into a business analyst role.  

4. Become a member of the Australian Chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®). Successful business analysts continue to develop the professional networks they built while studying by joining the global association for business analysts. 

Business analysist analysing data

What to expect from a Master of Business Analytics at UTS?

At UTS, we designed our online Master of Business Analytics program to give you the agility, confidence and competence to influence organisational decisions through data.

The program has three core themes:

1. Real-world learning environment

Studios are a unique feature of the UTS course. They provide a space to apply your learnings, and to identify, design and facilitate data-driven solutions in any industry.

“You’ll complete studio subjects with guidance and mentoring from industry professionals,” says David Bond, Course Director of the Master of Business Analytics at UTS. “This gives you a real insight into how real-world analytics problems are solved.”

There are two studio types:

1. The Foundation Studio is managed by an academic and industry partner. Using the skills you learned in your initial programming and core subjects, you’ll first identify business problems and stakeholders in a real-world analytics setting.

After that, you’ll:

  • Collect information to present a business case for the analysis
  • Actually complete the analysis, and finally
  • Communicate your preliminary findings to your stakeholders

2. The Innovation Studio focuses on a self-directed industry project, which multi-disciplinary teams approach independently. In this studio, you’ll:

  • Identify business problems 
  • Design a data-driven approach
  • Build a solution that meets stakeholder needs 

2. Technical analytical skills for business

Our Master of Business Analytics course also provides the technical analytical skills you need to inform data-driven decisions. Learn the latest in:

  • Software and data processing. Subjects covering data processing using R, Python, and SAS will help you to build a foundation in business analytics knowledge. Also learn software basics including programming constructs, packages and object-oriented programming.
  • Customer analytics. Discover how to use customer data to inform business decisions via segmentation, market basket analysis, CRM and marketing mix optimisation. 
  • Financial analytics. Build the skills to assess an organisation’s financial health and plan for its future financial performance. 

3. Data communication skills

We know that translating data into meaningful, actionable insights is an essential business analysis skill. However, what sets the best business analysts apart is their ability to communicate those insights and inspire decision-makers to act. 

The UTS Online Master of Business Analytics will help you to develop your data communication skills to:

  • Navigate the complex world of data, and confidently communicate to influence 
  • Become fluent in the language of data analytics and know the right questions to ask for the right solutions
  • Integrate practical, theoretical, ethical and legal approaches to capturing, storing and using data

Data for business

Broaden your career horizons with UTS Online

Secure your career in a world where harnessing the power of data is essential by studying a Master of Business Analytics at UTS Online.

The course is 100% online with no on-campus commitments. That means you’ll have the flexibility to study whenever and wherever works best for you.

At the same time, you’ll always have the support of a dedicated Student Support Advisor throughout your study journey.  

Learn how you can kick-start your career as a business analyst with UTS Online.