This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Business analysts analyse the systems and procedures an organisation uses, and recommend technology or processes to improve business efficiency and productivity.
Business analysts earn an average of
$69K-$110K per year
Source: AbsoluteIT, 'Remuneration Report', January 2016.
Pay for business analysts varies. According to an AbsoluteIT salary survey, business analysts in the:
- highest-paid group earned an average of $110,000 a year
- middle pay range earned an average of $84,000
- lowest-paid group earned an average of $69,000.
Business analysts working as contractors earn an average of $70 to $100 an hour.
Source: AbsoluteIT, 'Remuneration Report', January 2016.
- AbsoluteIT website - 2016 remuneration report (PDF - 348KB)
- MoreBusiness.com website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Business analysts may do some or all of the following:
- consult with management, staff and customers on how work is done in an organisation
- design computer solutions to improve organisational efficiency and productivity
- write functional requirements for computer systems using models and diagrams
- work out the new system's requirements and specifications
- decide if computers or new software applications are required
- make cost estimates and business cases for different software options
- oversee the system's development, including design, choice of computers (hardware) and computer programs (software).
Skills and knowledge
Business analysts need to have knowledge of:
- computer hardware and software, and methods of programming
- methods of analysing needs, costs and benefits
- the business they are working in and the staff's work methods.
- work regular business hours, but may have to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines on projects
- work in offices and may travel to see clients in their workplaces. They may also travel locally and overseas to attend conferences and seminars.
What's the job really like?
There's often a lot at stake when new information technology (IT) systems are put into a business. It's Chris Conradie's job to check out exactly what the business requires.
"There is recognition by businesses that a lot of analysis needs to happen before you can get to the programming stage."
Discovering business needs requires a technical and people focus
To do this, Chris works closely with businesses to help them work out what they need. As a person who has never been able to just sit behind a computer, he enjoys the chance analysis work gives him to get out and work directly with people.
"There are many challenges in this role that are not just technical; you have to be able to get the information you need from people."
Background in software development led to consulting
Chris says he always had an inquisitive mind when it came to technology. He graduated as an electronic engineer and worked as a software developer before moving to consulting, where it became less development-focused.
Chris now works in a senior consulting role and is intent on staying in IT. "I'm going in the direction of IT management and that is the way I see my future."
- Working with people.
- Helping businesses improve their processes.
- The challenge of getting the information you need from people.
- Working long hours to finish projects.
Susan Taylor shares what she loves about being a business analyst - 1.43 mins
There’s no such thing as an average day for a business analyst, it can be anything from spending all day and sometimes a whole week in workshops with customers, with other members of the team trying to work out what the system that you’re trying to build needs to do. Through to something actually where you are sitting at your desk, or standing as I do and writing documentation so that you’re recording.
Communication is key, being an inquisitive mind. Problem solving skills are really important, being a people person I think is very important. And having some business knowledge is really good to be able to relate to your customers and the other people in your team.
One of the favourite things is actually being in a project from the beginning where you hear about the idea of what the customer wants to achieve out of a project, through to the end where you actually see those results, see the benefits that they get from using it and the better information sources that they have at their fingertips now that they’ve got an IT solution that they can use.
Because a BA’s quite a critical part of a project team you get to work with all sorts of people who do other disciplines, like testers, project managers. So some BAs actually move into those other disciplines, some go into development too if you’re really IT bent. A lot go into project management, I was lucky to get an opportunity to be a business manager I ran a team of 41 people across a couple of projects. I did that for a few years but actually came back to being a BA because that’s what I like doing best.
To become a business analyst, you usually need a tertiary qualification in one of:
- business analysis
- information systems
- business computing.
Business analysts also gain many skills on the job, and may gain certifications relevant to their field.
- The Chartered Institute for IT website - Business Analysis Foundation Certificate information
- Institute of IT Professionals website - information about certification for ICT professionals
Useful school subjects include computing and digital studies, English and maths.
Business analysts need to be:
- logical, methodical, patient, and good listeners
- able to work well under pressure to meet deadlines
- skilled at design and planning
- good at communicating orally and in writing
- skilled at analysing and problem-solving.
Useful experience for business analysts includes:
- computer programming
- business management
- project management.
Business analysts spend a lot of time using computers, so it is important that they know how to use computer equipment properly to avoid occupational overuse syndrome (OOS).
Business analysts may choose to gain industry certifications such as those available through the Information Technology Certified Professional scheme.
Find out more about training
- (04) 473 2023 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.futureintech.org.nz/
- Institute of IT Professionals
- 0800 252 255 - email@example.com - www.iitp.org.nz
- New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTIA)
- 09 4750204 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.nztech.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Shortage of business analysts
While demand for business analysts is expected to remain strong, the number of IT trainees coming through is insufficient to meet demand.
A survey of IT employers in February 2015 reported that 79% of employers were planning to hire additional staff. Business analysis was the top skill employers were looking for. However, 28% of employers also reported greater difficulty finding staff in 2015 than in 2014.
As a result of these factors, business analyst appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled business analysts from overseas to work in New Zealand.
Types of employers varied
Many medium to large organisations employ business analysts, including:
- government departments
- computer management firms
- marketing companies
- professional firms such as law and accountancy businesses.
- AbsoluteIT, 'Employer Insight Report', January 2016, (www.itsalaries.co.nz).
- AbsoluteIT, 'Remuneration Report', July 2015, (www.itsalaries.co.nz).
- Hudson Recruitment, 'Hudson Report, Q3, 2015', 2015, (nz.hudson.com).
- Hudson Recruitment, 'New Zealand Hiring Expectations – Quarter 3, 2015', 2015, (nz.hudson.com).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long-term Skill Shortage List', July 2015, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Information and Communications Technology Report – 2015', 2015, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
The business analyst role is often seen as a starting point for progressing towards project management and more detailed business and systems analysis.
Last updated 17 November 2017