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What it’s really like to be a business analyst

You may have heard of a business analyst before, but what does one actually do? Frank Cheng is a former business analytics student from Deakin University who now works as a data scientist for Australia Post. He explains to us about the role of a business analyst, the challenges and rewards involved in the work, and the varied potential in career path options.

First off, what is a business analyst?

The role of a business analyst, Frank explains, is to identify the problems and needs of a business, to then develop solutions and ideas. ‘To me, a business analyst plays a vital part to bridge that gap and collaborate with various teams and together, enabling them to solve the problem and achieve its common objective.’ A business analyst also like acts like a sort of translator to help people understand the unique skillsets and technical jargon used by people who might specialise in areas such as IT and finance.

What led you to becoming a business analyst?

‘Business analytics can give you exposure to various functions, teams and people within the organisation. The skillset is versatile and is great way to begin your career,’ Frank explains. He likes that being a business analyst allows him to work in a dynamic environment with roles and responsibility ever changing, and to learn new things with every new assignment. ‘It has helped me to improve both professionally and personally.’

What are the necessary skills required in business analytics?

Aside from good communication, presentation, and problem-solving skills, Frank says it’s also important to have good organisational skills, attention to detail and experience in the field. ‘This will develop over time. The business analyst with more experience is much more valuable to organisations as they will bring their expertise into the project to increase success rate.’

'To me, a business analyst plays a vital part to bridge that gap and collaborate with various teams and together, enabling them to solve the problem and achieve its common objective.'

Frank Cheng,
Business analytics alumnus, Deakin University

What career paths can business analytics lead to?

‘Some business analysts remain in the same career for many years. I have seen others transition into areas based on their interests,’ Frank says. He also explains that having skills and experience in business analytics can lead you into careers as an advisor, data scientist, security specialist, systems designer, or even as the manager of your own entrepreneurial company.

What are some of the challenges of being a business analyst?

Frank says some of the most testing aspects of the job come from ‘political issues; teams not working well with each other.’ In addition, project failures, lack of resourcing, or inadequate knowledge are also potential challenges. ‘There will be times where a business analyst is placed into a project and has limited time to pick up this new skill set. So the ability to ask questions and passion for learning will be beneficial.’

And what are some of the positives?

Challenges aside, there are also many positives to the profession. According to Frank, working as a business analyst means you get to be creative and innovative in the way you approach problem-solving tasks, which means learning new skills and gaining recognition for great achievements. ‘You get to meet different people, find out what they do and most importantly, build the professional network.’ Travel is also a perk. ‘If working in consulting firms, sometimes you get to travel to various places domestically or even internationally, if you have a unique skillset that is highly in demand.’

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