System and business analyst: a step-by-step guide to a popular profession

A few words about another crazy division in the universe of IT-specialties: system and business analyst. We tell, what representatives of a profession do, how many earn and how to enter into this sphere of activity.


System analyst and business analyst: who are they and what is the demand?

A business analyst is a specialist who identifies and analyzes problems in the customer’s business. The result of his work is systematization of business requirements in the document on the concept and borders. It describes business objectives to be achieved within the current project or its separate iteration. That is, a business analyst is a specialist who is able to turn uncertainty, idea or abstraction into a list of unambiguous and documented tasks that will help business achieve its goals.


For example, it is necessary to understand the abstract problem of the client: “low profit”. To begin with, the analyst studies the business processes of the company. The analysis allows you to form a financial goal – to save X dollars per year, which is now spent on the maintenance of the office. Solution variant: implementation of a new business process – transfer of employees to remote work.

System analyst deals with the analysis of requirements formed by a business analyst, writing technical documents, specification of software requirements, description of its functions and capabilities, use options, user actions, in which the user achieves the necessary result. That is the system analyst is the expert who acts as an intermediate link between business and working out.


Both professions are extremely important for business, which needs specialists who are able to make balanced business decisions. The function of system analyst and business analyst in the company is often performed by one person, but in large companies these two positions are separated and go hand in hand when preparing a project.


Stages of work and tools of system and business analytics

The work of a business analyst can be presented in the following sequence:


    identification of the customer’s business needs;

    choice of the concept of problem solving. At this stage they use Excel for analytics, Power BI and Tableau to visualize data in the form of charts and tables;

    making business requirements. The main tool – Confluence – is used to set tasks and compile documentation, for example, functional requirements;

    interaction with the development team and the customer. The main tools are Power Point and The latter is used to create communication schemes between database or program structures.


The business analyst then transmits the concept and boundaries document to the system analyst for further development of the functional requirements. In turn, the work of the systems analyst develops as follows:


    analysis of business requirements;

    formation of functional requirements to software. Here CASE tools of software designing are used: means of the analysis, creation of structure of the program, documentation of requirements, generation of code preparations;

    analysis of suitable existing solutions and technologies to be used in development. At this stage, a system analyst usually analyzes GitHub, determining which of the ready-made solutions can be reused;

    a description of the software architecture and databases. From tools used UML to create schemes of relationships between database structures or programs, SQL – language for creating, modifying and managing data in relational databases, CASE-design tools;

    setting the task of creating software using Jira and Confluence – command tools for task setting and documentation.

What qualities should have a business analyst and systems analyst

Key business analyst skills


    technical or economic higher education, better both;

    knowledge of business process modeling notation: EPC, BPMN, UML;

    skills in collecting business requirements and developing terms of reference;

    knowledge of change management process (ITSM) and ITIL principles;

    knowledge of business processes of manufacturing, commercial, financial and trading companies;

    also need to be well versed in IT and be able to apply market research.


Basic skills of system analyst


    higher technical education;

    knowledge of IDEF0′ IDEF1X’ EPC notation;

    ability to write SQL queries;

    knowledge of basic programming, design, software development;

    knowledge of the basics of algorithm theory, database theory, system theory and system analysis, and information security;

    general knowledge in management and economics.


What to do if you don’t have the necessary skills

There are two ways to enter the IT-analyst profession: to come from the business environment or to retrain from a developer or tester. In the first case, you will have enough business expertise, but lack the technical skills. In the second case, on the contrary, you need to improve your knowledge of business processes.

Use open sources about business analysis.

There are many specialized resources with which you can learn the basic concepts:;;;

    Telegram chat: Analyzing Systems

    Facebook Group: IT Network – Business Analysis & Project Management.


Note the training materials on the Tableau website as well as expert information on using Power BI.

Take training courses on system and business analysis.


Of the major English-language courses, one can distinguish:


    Business Analysis Courses from edX;

    courses from;

    courses from;

    Client Needs and Software Requirements from Coursera;

    Coursera Software Management course for those who are not familiar with IT;

    many courses are available on Udemy.

Read books on business analysis

One of the key books in the analytical profession is BABOK (abbreviation for “A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge”), which describes the main points of business analysis.


For initial and basic level it is worth selecting the following books:


    BA’s Mentor Book + BY Methodology Book by Emrah Yayici;

    Software Requirements 3 by Karl Wiegers + Video lessons;

    Seven Steps to Mastering Business Analysis by Barbara Carkenord;

    An Introduction to Statistical Learning;

    data analytics books from our article 7 books for a beginner data analyst.


How to Form a First Portfolio and Get a Job

An analyst’s career path begins with an internship in the analytics department. To get a job, you need to have a good understanding of analysis methods, tools for work and the field in general. Since often the position of system and business analyst in small companies is held by the same person, you will need to learn a basic knowledge of programming language, for example, Python, as well as the language of querying SQL databases.


Beginners to learn a large amount of information on their own can be difficult, even with a high level of motivation, not to mention the difficulty of obtaining practical skills. A more effective way – to get instructions for studying the profession from specialists who can suggest a vector of development – it will help to better learn by yourself.


The best solution will be a training program, during which experienced teachers will tell you how everything works in theory and practice. It is important to choose a course whose creators are interested in your future work in the field and have successful cases of employment of their students in well-known companies.