A business analyst is a professional who is responsible for improving upon a company's interpretation of its clients needs through analysis of business problems. There is no one single path for a person to take to become a business analyst, but a bachelor's degree and the appropriate professional credentials are a must.
Earn your college degree in a full 4-year program leading to a bachelor's degree. A considerable range of majors can lay the theoretical background needed to become a business analyst, including engineering and computer science, in addition to finance and business.
Head to your local bookstore to find helpful industry guides on the skills today's business analysts are expected to have. These include manuals for improving communication and organizational skills and, for IT-oriented business analysts, Unified Modeling Language (UML) guides. UML is a software engineering language heavily used in IT departments.
Complete your Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP) credentials through an accredited institution. There are a variety of preparatory courses you can use to ready yourself to complete your CBAP. You can find CBAP courses leading to certification through professional organizations like the International Institute of Business Analysis (see Resources below).
Gain whatever work experience in business, communications, public relations, information technology or software engineering you can while you complete your bachelor's degree. Remember that internships can prove to be a very valuable source of experience as you move forward in your education.
Seek a position as a junior business analyst when you have completed your CBAP accreditation. The organization through which you completed your certification should be able to help link you to entry-level careers as a business analyst. You can also attend the various industry job fairs that visit communities throughout the country.
Work your way up, gaining experience analyzing business procedures, policies and consumer needs. Once you gain 3 to 5 years of experience, you should find yourself in a position to become a business analyst with growth potential.
As you're completing your studies, consider getting a simple, entry-level job in the field you want to work in. For example, you might want to get a summer job working in your local clothing shop if you want to go into retail business analysis.