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5 Additional Skills Business Analysts Should Develop for Increased Employability

by Soft2share.com

As companies have throttled back on hiring new employees, business analysts are trying to expand their skill sets to keep their existing jobs or find new positions. While the economy might be uncertain, there are skills that business analysts can develop to improve productivity and job security. Here are five skills you should have to improve employability when applying for any jobs in business analysis:


1. Learn SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) sounds like an intimidating computer language that requires years of study, but it is actually a practical language that helps create databases much larger than any Microsoft Excel file could handle. The best part: most people can learn the basics of SQL on a Saturday afternoon and be ready to use it at the office on Monday.

Many business analysts currently rely on IT employees to run SQL database queries for the data they analyse. Learning SQL cuts out the middle man, improving productivity by decreasing wait times, and makes lots of data available to business analysts within seconds. SQL has become an indispensable tool for most business analysts, and it is an easy skill to gain for your next job interview or salary negotiation.

2. Accounting Practices

Business analysts often need to dig into companies’ financial reports to get the information they need. Having working knowledge of profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow will make business analysts more independent and better prepared to assess businesses’ affairs.

3. Tax Law

As tax law becomes more complex, business models will increasingly require savvy use of the tax code to reduce tax liability and increase profit. A business analyst with a working knowledge of the tax code can spot liability problems ahead of time and craft strategies to mitigate it. A law degree isn’t required to make use of tax law: become familiar with the tax credits and exemptions in your industry, often accessible through a quick internet search.

4. HTML and CSS

We would laugh at an executive who said, “I’m not an email person.” And yet millions of business professionals claim they are “not an internet person” when explaining why they do not know how websites are built. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the framework for modern websites. The basic skills behind them can be learned within a week and put to use immediately. Knowing HTML or CSS can be especially valuable at smaller companies without dedicated IT staff, where being knowledgeable about website structure can give a business analyst more influence and responsibility.

5. Presentations and Public Speaking

If you have good skills at presenting or speaking in public, make sure you make this apparent on your CV before applying for any data analysis vacancies. Business analysts often rely on data to make their case during meetings, but what they overlook is the power of storytelling in convincing others. One business analyst started a presentation by telling a story about how improved safety practices would help an assembly line worker named Janice go home safely to her family each night. He then provided facts and data about how new safety practices would also reduce insurance costs and improve productivity. Despite initial skepticism, the executives adopted his suggestions — he had made a more powerful argument with a story than he could with data alone.

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