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Business Analyst Salary in the US – A good time to be one

business analyst salary in the us

Being a business analyst is one of the best career options now and for the next two decades. Business analyst salaries have skyrocketed since the onset of the corona virus pandemic, because companies have increased digital adoption. This adoption has further fueled the demand for the role of the business analyst! In this article, discover credible and latest data about business analyst salary and launch your career as a business analyst. This is a good time to be a business analyst!

Business Analyst salary in United States

The average base salary a Business Analyst makes in the United States ranges between $82,411 and $93,000. (Data: Indeed and BLS).

Top 5 States for Business Analyst Employment Opportunities in the US

The following are the top 5 states in terms of employment opportunities.

StateEmployment per thousand jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
District of Columbia29.43$ 53.21$ 110,670
Virginia14.98$ 52.35$ 108,890
Massachusetts8.69$ 56.19$ 116,870
Illinois8.36$ 54.05$ 112,420
Rhode Island8.28$ 51.56$ 107,250

Top paying states for Business Analysts in the US

The following are the top paying states for Business Analysts in the US:

StateEmployment per thousand jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Massachusetts8.69$ 56.19$ 116,870
New Jersey4.40$ 56.14$ 116,780
New York6.39$ 55.26$ 114,950
Washington7.01$ 55.16$ 114,730
Illinois8.36$ 54.05$ 112,420

Most common benefits for Business Analysts

Business analyst salaries exclude cash bonuses of $3,500 per year plus a host of other benefits that varies with company.

  • 401(k)
  • 401(k) matching
  • AD&D insurance
  • Adoption assistance
  • Commuter assistance
  • Dental insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Employee assistance program
  • Employee discount
  • Employee stock purchase plan
  • Flexible schedule
  • Flexible spending account
  • Health insurance
  • Health savings account
  • Life insurance
  • On-site gym
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Paid sick time
  • Paid time off
  • Parental leave
  • Pet insurance
  • Professional development assistance
  • Profit sharing
  • Referral program
  • Relocation assistance
  • Retirement plan
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Unlimited paid time off
  • Vision insurance
  • Work from home

Business Analyst Salary across states in the US

The following are business analyst salaries across all states in the US.

Business Analyst Salary across states in the US
Business Analyst Salary across states in the US

The following is a state wise breakdown of business analyst salaries in the US:

  • Business Analyst Salary in Massachusetts: $116870
  • Business Analyst Salary in New Jersey: $116780
  • Business Analyst Salary in New York: $114950
  • Business Analyst Salary in Washington: $114730
  • Business Analyst Salary in Illinois: $112420
  • Business Analyst Salary in Virginia: $108890
  • Business Analyst Salary in Rhode Island: $107250
  • Business Analyst Salary in Connecticut: $94123
  • Business Analyst Salary in California: $92823
  • Business Analyst Salary in Texas: $92476
  • Business Analyst Salary in Georgia: $92441
  • Business Analyst Salary in North Carolina: $90400
  • Business Analyst Salary in Minnesota: $89999
  • Business Analyst Salary in Wisconsin: $89117
  • Business Analyst Salary in Indiana: $88793
  • Business Analyst Salary in Oregon: $87832
  • Business Analyst Salary in Maryland: $87750
  • Business Analyst Salary in Ohio: $87750
  • Business Analyst Salary in Pennsylvania: $87500
  • Business Analyst Salary in Kansas: $85650
  • Business Analyst Salary in Iowa: $85158
  • Business Analyst Salary in Tennessee: $85150
  • Business Analyst Salary in Alaska: $85000
  • Business Analyst Salary in New Hampshire: $85000
  • Business Analyst Salary in Delaware: $84995
  • Business Analyst Salary in Missouri: $84945
  • Business Analyst Salary in Colorado: $84023
  • Business Analyst Salary in Arizona: $84000
  • Business Analyst Salary in Alabama: $82931
  • Business Analyst Salary in Michigan: $82875
  • Business Analyst Salary in Florida: $82847
  • Business Analyst Salary in West Virginia: $82500
  • Business Analyst Salary in Oklahoma: $80760
  • Business Analyst Salary in Wyoming: $80313
  • Business Analyst Salary in New Mexico: $80000
  • Business Analyst Salary in Mississippi: $78000
  • Business Analyst Salary in Vermont: $77544
  • Business Analyst Salary in Nevada: $77500
  • Business Analyst Salary in Louisiana: $77500
  • Business Analyst Salary in Kentucky: $77303
  • Business Analyst Salary in Utah: $76481
  • Business Analyst Salary in South Carolina: $76050
  • Business Analyst Salary in Nebraska: $75000
  • Business Analyst Salary in Arkansas: $73500
  • Business Analyst Salary in Maine: $65325
  • Business Analyst Salary in Idaho: $62200
  • Business Analyst Salary in North Dakota: $60450
  • Business Analyst Salary in South Dakota: $60450
  • Business Analyst Salary in Hawaii: $57822
  • Business Analyst Salary in Montana: $57106
Business Analyst Salaries in the US. Become a business analyst.
Business Analyst Salaries in the US

Allied Professions of Business Analysis

The following are occupations with job duties that are similar to those of business analysts along with their media salaries.

OCCUPATIONJOB DUTIESENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION MEDIAN PAY 
ActuariesActuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze the economic costs of risk and uncertainty.Bachelor’s degree$105,900
Computer and Information Research ScientistsComputer and information research scientists design innovative uses for new and existing computing technology.Master’s degree$131,490
Computer and Information Systems ManagersComputer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization.Bachelor’s degree$159,010
Computer Network ArchitectsComputer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.Bachelor’s degree$120,520
Computer ProgrammersComputer programmers write, modify, and test code and scripts that allow computer software and applications to function properly.Bachelor’s degree$93,000
Computer Support SpecialistsComputer support specialists maintain computer networks and provide technical help to computer users.Bachelor’s degree$57,910
Database Administrators and ArchitectsDatabase administrators and architects create or organize systems to store and secure data.Bachelor’s degree$101,000
Information Security AnalystsInformation security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.Bachelor’s degree$102,600
Network and Computer Systems AdministratorsNetwork and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer networks.Bachelor’s degree$80,600
Operations Research AnalystsOperations research analysts use mathematics and logic to help solve complex issues.Bachelor’s degree$82,360
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and TestersSoftware developers design computer applications or programs. Software quality assurance analysts and testers identify problems with applications or programs and report defects.  Bachelor’s degree$109,020
Web Developers and Digital DesignersWeb developers create and maintain websites. Digital designers develop, create, and test website or interface layout, functions, and navigation for usability.Bachelor’s degree$78,300

Frequently Asked Questions about Business Analyst Salary in the US

  1. How much do business analysts earn in the US?

    The national average salary for a Business Analyst is $82,411 in United States.

  2. Is business analyst in demand in USA?

    The demand for business analysts has increased in recent years and is projected to continue. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects job growth between 2022 and 2032 for similar roles to range from 7% (computer systems analysts) to 25 percent (operations research analysts).
    Employment of systems analysts is projected to grow 9-10% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

  3. How many business analysts' jobs are open in the US?

    The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects about 101,900 openings for analysts are projected each year, on average, over the next decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

  4. Is business analyst a good career in USA?

    Business Analyst is a good career because it offers strong salaries, plentiful job opportunities, and BAs generally report high job satisfaction and work-life balance. Another perk of a career in business analysis: the possibilities are endless.

  5. Does business analyst require coding?

    While the ability to program is helpful for a career as a business analyst, being able to write code isn't necessarily required. No-code, low-code softwares such as Tableau, PowerBI, SPSS, Alteryx, Weka, and even Excel can be used when managing and analyzing data.

  6. Do business analysts earn more than data analysts?

    Business analysts on average earn around $83,000 per year while data analysts earn around $67,000 per year. So yes, business analysts do earn more than data analysts on average.

  7. What is the career growth and progression of a business analyst?

    After eight to 10 years in various business analysis positions, you could advance to VP of business analysis or project management, project management office (PMO) director, chief technology officer, or chief operating officer.

Become a Business Analyst with Experience

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How to draw business process models? BPMN examples in 3 easy steps

One of the tasks of a business analyst (BA) is to map out the current state and future states of the organization or processes. To clearly illustrate these states, BAs frequently use business process models. These process models utilize specific shapes that convey meaning in terms of processes and tasks.

What is BPMN (business process modelling notations) for business analysts?

Business process modelling notations (BPMN) are a suit of symbols and shapes used to represent business processes. Visually representing a business process offers business analysts the ability to communicate clearly with business as well as technical stakeholders.

Following a uniform Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) provides organizations with the capability of understanding their business procedures graphically and will give them the ability to communicate these procedures in a standardized way; a way that all stakeholders can understand.

In this article, we’ll learn to draw business process models using a process mapping / modelling tool. Note that there are several visual modelling tools available and most are well suited for the job including MS Visio.

Business Process Modelling Notation – BPMN Examples

Business analyst make frequent use of BPMN diagrams to ensure that the diverse teams they work with are on the same page. These diagrams are usually incorporated into the business requirements document (BRD), functional requirements document, and / or specifications.

Let’s work to develop a business process model for the following example scenario:

Once the boarding pass has been received, passengers proceed to the security check. Here they need to pass the personal security screening and the luggage screening. Afterwards, they can proceed to the departure level.

Time Needed : 1 hours

I'll advise you to first have an understanding of business needs and the proposed solution. A business process model is usually made for solutions that are envisioned for implementation. Once you have that ready and clearly defined in a business requirements document (BRD), you may then proceed to follow the steps enlisted below. Lets take an example and develop the process model:

  1. Explore available BPMN shapes that are frequently used

    BPMN diagrams frequently make use of shapes to represent events, activities and gates. You can get started quickly by mastering these symbols and shapes that are frequently used.

  2. Order the activities and events

    In the context of the example provided above, the following will be the order of activities: boarding pass received > proceed to the security check > pass the personal security screening and the luggage screening > proceed to the departure level > departure level reached.

  3. Use and connect the appropriate BPMN symbols

    Use gates, in this context, parallel gates to demonstrate the two activities that will be conducted in parallel. Converge the two paths with the same gate.

Tools
  • Any BPMN tool.
Materials
  • Analytical thinking, BPMN shapes.

Become a Business Analyst

Discover and experience the entire life cycle of business analysis with our unique, intensive and affordable Business Analyst Work Experience program.

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Professional Business Analyst Training and Certification with Work Experiences in USA

Business Analyst Certification Course and work Experience course by Savio Education Global

Participants join our simulated business analyst work experience course around the world for 8 weeks, throughout the year, to work in teams. Successfully completing this business analyst course within the stipulated time will ensure that you can demonstrate your competence as a business analyst and meet real world expectations. This work experience offers you a professional business analyst certification that is greatly valued by hiring managers.

When you join Savio Global in this simulation of a Business Analyst, you are joining a firm that will challenge you and ensure your professional development. In this role you will work on the best teams to solve difficult business problems and perform professional business analysis. You will also work with many experts, from data scientists and researchers to software and app designers. This program is a 100% experiential learning program that readies you for a career as a business analyst.

Your Business Analyst Certification and Work Experience

You’ll work in teams of typically 3 – 5 consultants, playing an active role in all aspects of the business engagement.

In this Business Analyst course, you will perform business analysis, which includes gathering and analyzing information, formulating and testing hypotheses, performing benchmarking, business data analysis and developing and communicating recommendations. You’ll also have the opportunity to present results to management and implement recommendations in collaboration with team members.

You will work from home with your Savio Global colleagues, owning a distinct piece of the project. Some examples of the specific work may include interviewing people, leading teams, building business and technological models, creating and delivering presentations, and working with Savio Global subject experts to develop perspectives and insights.

Our Business Analyst Work Experience program gives participants first-hand and immersive experiences. Through this simulation course, you will participate in continuous training, as well as a range of continuous learning activities to get to know your work leading up to your professional business analyst certification.

Business Analyst Training – Be the best in business analysis

You’ll gain new skills and build on the strengths you may already have. You as a Business Analyst will receive exceptional training as well as frequent coaching and mentoring from colleagues on your teams. This support includes daily training. Moreover, to ensure that you are a truly certified business analysis professional, an expert from our practice is assigned to you to help guide you throughout your work experience.

Through one month of mentor guided work experiences in business analysis, you will learn, grow and be evaluated in the abilities to:

  • create professional requirements documentations using prioritization techniques, user stories, and more!
  • use advanced business modelling notations for communication
  • apply advanced SQL for database querying
  • use MS Excel for dashboarding
  • develop tests for product verification
  • use Tableau to create and present stunning visualizations
  • develop insights from data and guide business decision making
  • communicate professionally

Includes over 25 hours of instructional videos for FREE!
Placement assistance included. Know more here.

This low cost, high value Business Analyst Work Experience provides you a business analyst certification and prepares you and enhances your skills to secure a job as a business analyst. Explore thousands of Business Analysis Jobs (Credly: External Site).

Learn business analysis from Master Facilitator and Professor, Savio Saldanha, PMP

Prof. Savio Saldanha will mentor you in this business analyst certification program. Learn from the best; be the best!

Savio is an industry professional and veteran project manager. He has served in several techno-functional roles at companies including Dentsu International, Bank of America, CITI Bank, TCS and L&T Infotech. He is recognized by LinkedIn as being among the top 5% in AI ML globally. He also serves as an Advisor to Harvard Business Review Council, USA and is a Contributing Member to the Python Software Foundation, USA. Savio has authored two books on project management and business analysis and is a Contributing Author to the Project Management Standard Seventh Edition 2021, PMI USA. He is a Certified Project Management Instructor and Professional, Software Quality Assurance Specialist, (ISTQB Belgium) among others. He currently also serves as Adjunct Professor for Analytics and Project Management at Universal Business School, Mumbai.

Business Analyst program reviews by participants

Business analyst salaries in the US

The average base salary a Business Analyst makes in the United States ranges between $82,411 and $93,000. (Data: Indeed and BLS). The average additional cash compensation for a Business Analyst in US is $7,869. The average total compensation for a Business Analyst in US is $90,742. To know details of business analyst salaries in every state in the USA, read here.

Who is this business analyst certification for – Beginners or Experienced Professionals?

Our Business Analyst certification program is designed to cater to beginners, freshers as well as experienced professionals. Because of the depth of the program, the ideal candidate is one who is willing to invest the effort to complete the projects, tasks, and stakeholder presentations, within a timely manner. Our team of educators are constantly evaluating you on key business analyst skills like critical thinking, analytical reasoning, communication abilities, and many more in order to develop and enhance you.

Frequently asked questions about business analyst training and certification with work experiences

  1. What are the eligibility criteria for this Post Graduate Program in Business Analysis with Immersive Experiences?

    For admission to our Work Experience Program in Business Analysis, candidates should have a bachelor's / master's degree in any discipline with an average of 50% or higher marks.

  2. Can candidates from non programming backgrounds apply?

    Yes. The program develops skills in business analysis. Business analysts are semi-technical roles, that do not emphasize programming. However, our program includes building skills in SQL, which we begin from the basics.

  3. Can freshers or beginners join the program, those without work experience?

    The program is designed for freshers / beginners as well as working professionals.

  4. What can I expect from this program?

    In addition to experiencing the role of a business analyst yourself, you also gain:
    – Gain the necessary skills to secure your business analyst job
    – Be ready to crack your next business analyst interview
    – Gain an industry recognized certificate from Savio Global
    – Lifetime access to all program elearning content
    – Lifetime career coaching, guidance, and placement assistance

  5. What are the placement assistance options I get?

    Savio Global's Job Assist program is a country-specific offering to help you land your dream job. With the Job Assist program, we offer extended support for the certified learners who are looking for a job switch or starting with their first job. Upon successful completion of this immersive and experiential business analyst program, you will be eligible to apply for Job Assist and your details will be shared with our network of recruiters and hiring managers. As a part of this program, we offer the following exclusive services:
    – Resume building assistance 
    – Career Mentoring and Interview Preparation sessions

  6. Will I get live coaching and mentoring to be a business analyst?

    Yes, you will receive regular business analysis mentoring and coaching from senior industry professions and leaders twice every week for the duration of the program. Industry veterans include VPs, directors, and professionals in the field of business analysis.

  7. What qualifications do you need to be a business analyst?

    – A graduate / post graduate degree
    – Relaxed education qualifications in some companies – High school diploma
    – the ability to use your initiative
    – the ability to work well with others
    – good verbal communication skills

  8. Can fresher join as business analyst?

    Usually, business analysts come from engineering or business (MBA) backgrounds. For a complete fresher / recent graduate without any work experience, the only way to enter a career as a business analyst is by undertaking the Business Analyst Work Experience Program offered by Savio Global. Such a program helps fill gaps in your experience, offers new and real-world experiences, and prepares you for the workplace.

  9. Is business analyst easy to learn?

    Business analysis is a career with much variety, demanding skills such as problem solving, relationship management, time management and good communication. It can be very satisfying for those with the inclination to pursue it and the diversity it offers.

  10. How do I start a business analyst career?

    – Learn business analysis fundamentals.
    – Take a business analysis work experience program.
    – Work on projects to develop your practical business analysis skills.
    – Develop visualizations and practice presenting them.
    – Develop a Business Analyst portfolio to showcase your work.
    – Get familiar with important software used in business analysis.
    – Familiarize yourself with glossaries around business analysis.

  11. Are business analysts well paid?

    The average Business Analyst makes over $93,000 per year! Learn more about business analyst salaries and earnings.

  12. Can a non engineer become a business analyst?

    It is completely possible for a non-IT / non engineering professional to become a business analyst. Many of our program participants did not have engineering backgrounds and have been hired in the roles of business analysis. Read reviews here.

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Typical Job Description of a Business Analyst

Typical job description of a business analyst

While different industries require industry specific skills, our research shows that most business analyst jobs vacancies tend to require a common set of competencies. The following is our compilation of the typical job description of a business analyst profile.

  • Bachelor’s Degree or related experience (preferred in IT, technology, business, marketing, or a industry related field).
  • 0-5 years’ experience.
  • Data visualization (Tableau / Power BI) & SQL skills and experience.
  • Advanced MS Excel skills including formulas, pivot tables, data filters/sorts.
  • Works collaboratively with stakeholders and business leaders to understand, review, analyze and evaluate business needs.
  • Responsible for business requirements: definition and documentation for new and changed application deliverables.
  • Act as a liaison between business partners and IT development team.
  • Scope, elicit, analyze and document business requirements – BRD for both new and existing applications using a variety of techniques and tools.
  • Translate business requirements into functional requirements through the use of a functional requirement document FRD.
  • Define and manage the scope of projects anticipating issues and proactively recommending solutions.
  • Construct workflow charts, process diagrams and models.
  • Self-motivated, willing to learn new technologies and able to work independently & cross-functionally
  • Goal-oriented, passionate, high-energy professional with a “no excuses” attitude
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Must be comfortable and competent in communications with senior stakeholders both internally & externally 
  • Possesses the drive to participate and succeed in the growth of the company
  • Strong computer skills with experience using MS Office, and Google applications

Our Business Analyst Work Experiences help students and candidates master these specific skills needed to succeed in interviews and jobs as business analysts.

These critical skills are also useful in a wide variety of allied job roles as well including Data Analyst, Project Manager, Financial Analyst, Data Scientist, and many more. Read more about related roles here.

We’ve also described key differences between the roles of the business analyst and the data analyst.

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Data Analysts vs Business Analysts – Successful Careers

business analyst vs data analyst

Business analysts and data analysts share many responsibilities. But there are some key differences between them, too. Discover what the role of the business analyst and data analyst are, and how to decide which role might suit you best. To maintain a competitive edge, organizations rely ever more on data insights. This is either to solve existing problems or to identify new ones. Two common data roles you may come across are business analysts and data analysts. However, the many similarities between these roles can cause confusion when trying to distinguish between them.

In today’s world, data and technology increasingly pervades every industry and every aspect of how a business is run. This makes a career in data and technology a compelling prospect for many, with a variety of exciting career paths to choose from.

In this post, we’ll explore the differences between data analysts and business analysts. We’ll look at their responsibilities, how much they earn, and offer some tips for deciding which career path to take. We’ll cover:

  1. What are the different responsibilities for business analysts and data analysts?
  2. Should you become a data analyst or a business analyst?
  3. Key takeaways

1. Business analysts vs. data analysts: What is the difference?

Before digging into the differences between business analytics and data analytics, it’s important to understand that they share many skills. For this reason, the terms are often used interchangeably and the responsibilities between them can be quite fluid. However, the core differences between data analysts and business analysts are threefold:

  • What value each role brings to the organization
  • The stakeholders they work with
  • The skills required to succeed in the role

Let’s explore further.

What do business analysts do?

Business analysts help identify problems, opportunities, and solutions for their organizations.

A business analyst is someone who focuses on an organization’s business operations. While they work with data, their main aim is to help find solutions to known business issues. For instance, how to improve products, services, internal processes, or financial reporting. While business analysts need to understand and apply aspects of the data analytics process, this is a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. In short: data guides them, but profit drives them.

Business analysts are practical problem-solvers. They take a high-level view of what’s needed to make a business run more effectively. They’re strategic-minded and commercially focused. Business analysts need technical expertise, but their most invaluable traits are communication and leadership skills. In many ways, business analysts are not just problem-solvers, but salespeople. They must work with executive directors, board members, and other key decision-makers to get buy-in for their ideas. Having excellent powers of persuasion is vital for a business analyst. They must frame solutions in a way that convinces senior management that their chosen path is the right one for the business.

It can help to think of a business as a cruise ship. A business analyst would be the ship’s navigator. While they don’t make the final decision about the ship’s route (that’s up to the captain and other senior staff) they do have a better understanding than most of the ship’s quirks and nearby ocean topography (or the business landscape). As the most knowledgeable person on these matters, their job is to recommend the most scenic route—preferably one that also avoids unexpected icebergs!

They do this by:

  • Evaluating a company’s current functions and IT structures
  • Reviewing processes and interviewing team members to identify areas for improvement
  • Presenting findings and recommendations to management and other key stakeholders
  • Creating visuals and financial models to support business decisions
  • Training and coaching staff in new systems

What do data analysts do?

Data analysts gather, clean, analyze, visualize, and present existing data to help inform business decisions. An effective data analyst uses data to answer a question and empower decision makers to plot the best course of action.

Unlike a business analyst, a data analyst focuses more closely on data. While their insights are used to inform business decisions, a data analyst’s role is usually less strategic. Of course, an outstanding data analyst will exhibit great communication and persuasion skills. But this is less of a vital skill than it is for a business analyst.

Instead, a data analyst’s value lies more in their technical abilities. Excellent programming skills, math and statistics, knowledge of a wide range of analytical processes, domain expertise, and creating custom dashboards and visualizations are a data analyst’s most indispensable skills.

To follow our cruise ship analogy, a data analyst can be seen as the ship’s engineer. While the navigator (or business analyst) sits on the bridge, the engineer (or data analyst’s) work usually takes place below deck. They have a much more in-depth understanding of all the ship’s systems. From the engine room to the propellers, the generators, and electrical systems, their job is to keep tabs on every aspect of the ship’s performance. While their insights are invaluable to the captain and for keeping the ship in tip-top shape, they don’t necessarily play a direct role in directing where it goes.

Common tasks for a data analyst might include:

  • Working with business leaders and stakeholders to define a problem or business need
  • Identifying and sourcing data 
  • Cleaning and preparing data for analysis
  • Analyzing data for patterns and trends
  • Visualizing data to make it easier to understand
  • Presenting data in such a way that it tells a compelling story

Educational background

Business and data analysts can come from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, though most companies look for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. Generally speaking, business analysts might have a degree in a business-related field, while data analysts often have degrees in STEM fields like statistics, math, or computer science.

2. Skills: business analyst vs. data analyst

Data analysis and business analysis involve a different skillsets. While both occupations work with data, they do so in different ways and to varying degrees.

Business Analysts Skills and Work

Data Analysts Skills and Work

  • Data collection: Scraping data from various sources, including the web, primary and third-party systems.
  • Data modeling and processing: Devising new ways of collecting, storing, and manipulating data, often using tools like Python or Excel.
  • Data cleaning: Tidying datasets and removing duplicate data points or inconsistencies in preparation for analysis.
  • Data analysis: Knowledge of a broad range of analyses, including exploratory data analysis, descriptive, diagnostic, and predictive analytics (amongst others).
  • Data visualization and reporting: Creating complex reports and eye-catching visualizations, using a variety of software and tools like Tableau.

Both our experiential programs – Business Analyst Work Experience program and the Data Analyst Work Experience Program teach you Tableau!

  • Domain expertise: Data analysts often specialize in a very specific area of business operations, such as sales or finance (as opposed to the more organizationally global skills of a business analyst)
  • Communication: Presenting findings in a variety of ways, e.g. multimedia reports, written reports, visualizations, or face-to-face presentations.

Here’s a look at a common comparison of skills for each.

Data analystBusiness analyst
Data analysisNeeds / requirements analysis
StatisticsPrototyping
Knowledge of data structuresKnowledge of business structures
SQL and statistical programmingMicrosoft Visio and software design tools, and at times, SQL
A comparison of business analysis skills alongside data analysis skills

The two roles share several skills as well. Whichever path you choose, you can set yourself up for success by being a good:

  • Strong oral and written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Organizing
  • Collaborating

3. Who earns more, business analysts or data analysts?

Despite different responsibilities, business analysts and data analysts earn approximately the same amount. To offer an idea of the salaries for each role, we’ve pulled data from the salary comparison site Payscale.

According to Payscale, data analysts in the United States earn a median salary of $61K. This ranges from $43K for entry-level positions, to around $85K for senior roles.

Meanwhile, business analysts also earn a median of $61K. Salaries range from $45K to $82K, depending on skill level.

While the difference here is minimal, data analysts often earn slightly more. This is because they usually need more technical expertise. From a practical standpoint, there are also many more graduates with business degrees than those with degrees in technical subjects such as math or statistics (more common requirements for data analysts). This reduces the pool of candidates for data analytics roles, contributing to the higher salary.

Importantly, what you’ll actually earn is more reliant on job-specific factors. For instance: the responsibilities and seniority of the role, the industry you’re working in, and an organization’s size. However, when choosing between the two career paths, salary shouldn’t be a key deciding factor. It’s far better to follow the one that most interests you.

4. Should you become a data analyst or a business analyst?

How can you decide which career path to choose? Hopefully, the first three sections of this post should give you a rough of idea which role might suit you best. If you’re still unsure, though, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Should you become a data analyst?

Do you have a technical degree in a field like data science, math, statistics, or computing? Perhaps you have a technical background, with a career in software development or information systems management? Do you have a natural flair for making sense of abstract data? Are you happier working with spreadsheets and programming languages than interacting with people in high-stakes negotiations? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then a future in data analytics might be your best bet. Alternatively…

Should you become a business analyst?

Do you have a degree in a field like business administration, finance, or accounting? Perhaps you’ve spent much of your career working in senior management roles, dealing with commercial negotiations or strategic planning? Are you a big-picture person who enjoys getting hands-on with practical business problems? Do you love the challenge of dealing with different people, figuring out how to communicate data in ways that will push an agenda forward? If the answer to all these questions is a resounding yes, then business analytics might be your preferred path.

5. Key takeaways

In this post, we’ve explored the differences between business analysts and data analysts. We’ve learned that:

  • Business analysts use data to create specific business solutions, such as how to improve products, services, processes, or increase profit.
  • Data analysts take a slightly less strategic role, focusing on a deeper analysis of more complex datasets, often deriving broader insights from that data.
  • Business analysts usually focus on strategic activities like driving new product development and winning stakeholder buy-in for new ideas.
  • Data analysts (though requiring business know-how) tend to focus on the technical aspects of data analytics, e.g. data collection, analysis, and reporting.
  • Data analysts and business analysts both earn about the same amount.

The demand for business analysts and data analysts is growing. As the digital economy adapts with the times, you can be certain that both roles will become even more in-demand, evolving in unexpected but fascinating directions.

Frequently Asked Questions about the difference between business analysts and data analysts

  1. Is data analyst same as business analyst? What is the difference?

    Business analysts use data to help organizations achieve strategic goals with tactical outcomes. In contrast, data analysts gather and analyze data for the business to evaluate and to make better decisions.

  2. Which is better data analyst or business analyst?

    Data analysts tend to work more closely with the data itself, while business analysts tend to be more involved in addressing business needs and recommending solutions. Both are highly sought-after roles that are typically well-compensated.

  3. Do business analysts use SQL?

    SQL is not required for most business analyst positions. Based on Glassdoor data, only 27% of business analyst job listings have SQL as a requirement and 73% do not. However, this need for SQL is dependent on company, career experience, and a technology stack used at the company. Hence, it is a wise decision to master this skill and gain competitive advantage.

  4. Who can become business analyst?

    Most Business Analysts possess a bachelor's degree – often in business administration, finance, accounting, statistics, or computer science or programming – and for many people, this degree may be the most logical first step in getting some exposure to business analysis theory. IT professionals working on projects regularly graduate to becoming business analysts.

  5. Can you become a business analyst without experience?

    In short, yes. While many organizations seek candidates who have at least some experience in a business analyst role, there are ways to work around this requirement by developing and demonstrating the skills needed to do the job of BA. Explore the Business Analyst Work Experience program.

  6. What is the difference between business analytics and business analyst?

    Business analytics refers to the field of work around driving decision making through (usually big) data analysis and visualization. Business analysts work as a function of project management, helping determine organizational requirements and chart a course towards improvement.

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How to start a career as a business analyst?

Most students and academicians aren’t familiar with the role of the business analyst. This leads to a mismatch of expectations between industry needs and academic deliverables. While many may have heard of it, few understand the role. In this post, I’ll offer you step by step instructions on what you will need to begin your career as a business analyst.

Time Needed : 30 days

A business analyst is a problem solver, and helps find ways to quickly deliver solutions and products to market, leads change, and makes organizations effective. Business analysts focus on achieving business needs and requirements by bridging the gap between an organization’s current position and the one it desires to reach.

  1. Know the responsibilities of a business analyst:

    The Project Management Institute observes that the career duties of a business analyst include gathering information about problems to be solved or procedures to be improved, interviewing personnel and conducting onsite observations to determine the methods, equipment, and personnel that will be needed, finding root causes for problems and proposing solutions that many include new systems, procedures, or personnel changes, and presenting findings to decision makers.

  2. Understand the documents created by a business analyst:

    The career of a business analyst involves developing several documents critical the the business objective including but not limited to Business Requirement Document (learn more), User stories, Use cases, Functional requirement specification (FRS) / Functional Requirement Document (FRD) (learn more), Requirement traceability matrix (RTM), and Test cases.

  3. Gain experience performing business analysis:

    The best way to gain experience as a business analyst is to enroll in a work based learning program like the one we have. Our Business Analyst Work Experience program helps recent graduates and experienced professionals gain the needed experience to crack tough business analyst interviews and secure the jobs they desire. Alternatively, an internship in business analysis could help but usually does not expose interns to real world work, thereby limiting learning outcomes.

  4. Get your business analysis skills certified:

    Showcase your skills in business analysis by being certified in the Business Analyst Work Experience program. Additionally, demonstrate your BA competence with functioning deliverables, documents, and results to delight your recruiting managers. View an example of a work experience participant here.

Tools
  • Business Analyst Work Experience Program: https://savioglobal.com/product/business-analyst-work-experience/
Materials
  • Persistence.
  • Desire to learn new tools.
  • Desire to communicate confidently.

Discover our Work Experience Programs that can take you places!

Frequently asked questions about business analyst skills

  1. What skills are needed for business analyst?

    – Requirements elicitation skills
    – Meeting facilitation skills.
    – Oral and written communication skills.
    – Analytical thinking and problem solving.
    – Business process modelling skills (BPMN).
    – Interpersonal and people skills.
    – Consultation skills.
    – Being detail-oriented and capable of delivering a high level of accuracy.
    – Knowledge of the domain of the organization. For example: finance, healthcare, banking, advertising, etc.
    – Stakeholder analysis.

  2. What technical skills should a business analyst have?

    – SQL
    – Tableau / PowerBI
    – Advanced MS Excel
    – Business process modelling (BPMN)
    – SQL (preferably)
    – Clear understanding of cloud computing
    – Ability to document business and functional requirements clearly.

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Business requirement document (BRD) – Examples and Template

business requirement document brd

Every successful project has a detailed and well developed business requirement document (BRD). The BRD describes the problems the project is trying to solve or the opportunities the project is attempting to benefit from, and the required outcomes necessary to deliver value. The business analyst is usually the person who develops the BRD.

When done well, the business requirements document directs the project and keeps everyone on the same page. However, requirements documentation can easily become unclear and disorganized, which can quickly send a project off track.

What is a business requirement document (BRD)?

Definition: A business requirements document describes the business solution for a project (i.e., what a new or updated product, service or result should do), including the user’s needs and expectations, the purpose behind this solution, and any high-level constraints that could impact a successful deployment.

Business requirements document also emphasizes on the needs and expectations of the customer. In simpler terms, BRD indicates what the business wants to achieve.  The BRD indicates all the project deliverables at a high level. Essentially, a BRD acts as the guideline for stakeholders to make decisions regarding project priorities, design, and structure to ensure the project remains aligned with the overall goals of the business.

In outsourced projects, it also represents a basic contract between the customer and the vendor outlining the expectations and deliverables for the project. The BRD sets the standards for determining when a project has reached a successful completion.

Objectives of a business requirement document:

Project utilize BRDs for the following objectives:

  • To build consensus among stakeholders.
  • To communicate the business needs, the customer needs, and the end result of the solution that must satisfy business and customer needs.
  • To determine the input to the next phase of the project.

Sections in a Business Requirement Document BRD

Most businesses follow a template for all their project requirements documentation. This is helpful for keeping documentation standard across the organization.

The structure may vary but a basic business requirement document BRD will include the following sections and components:

  • Executive Summary
  • Project overview (including vision, and context)
  • SWOT analysis
  • Success factors
  • Project scope
  • Desired goals and project objectives
  • Stakeholder identification
  • Current state
  • Future state
  • Business requirements and corresponding priority
  • Assumptions, Limitations, Constraints

Additionally, depending on the organization’s documentation process, sections for feature analysis, competitive analysis, benchmarking results, functional and non-functional requirements may also be included in a BRD rather than in separate requirements documents.

Steps to Create a Business Requirement Document

  1. Project scope: The project scope draws the boundaries of the project and helps managers decide what is included in the project and what isn’t. Having a clear scope helps keep the team aligned and avoids unnecessary wastage of resources. All project functionalities or special requests need to be included here.
  2. Goals and Objectives: In this section, describe the high-level goals and objectives of the project. What will the project ultimately achieve? Who’s it for? How does the project goals tie up to the overall business objective and mission? Describe in detail what success will look like.
  3. Need for the project: Provide a rationale for the project. Having a needs statement in your document helps convey the importance of the project and how it will impact the company’s bottom line in the long run. This helps gain stakeholders’ and employees’ trust and confidence in the project and ensures smooth implementation.
  4. Identify Stakeholders: Identify key stakeholders to elicit requirements from. You can include each person’s name, department, and their role in making the project a success.
  5. Conduct a SWOT analysis: A flawless business requirements document (BRD) should contain a SWOT analysis of the project and how it fits in the big picture. The analysis should carefully articulate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that the project has. Adding this section to your BRD helps boost your credibility with upper management and external partners as it shows how aware you are of the project’s limitations and scope.
  6. Requirements: The next step is gathering requirements from stakeholder and documenting them. Read more about elicitation techniques.
  7. Assumptions, Limitations, Constraints: The team working on the project should be made aware of the possible assumptions, limitations and constraints in creating this document, and its contents.
  8. Executive Summary: The executive summary summarizes the entire document, outlining the need for the project, its requirements, and how does it tie up to your overall business goals. Develop this section after completing other sections, and place it at the top of the business requirement document BRD.

How to write the perfect BRD

Now that you have a grasp on what a business requirements document should accomplish, you can follow these guidelines to make sure that you write an exceptional one.

1. Practice effective requirements elicitation

Even if you write an impressive BRD, it won’t be effective if you haven’t identified and documented all the requirements necessary. To ensure your BRD is complete and cohesive, you’ll need to apply proper elicitation methods.

A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (more commonly known as the BABOK Guide) lists nine primary elicitation methods:

  • Brainstorming
  • Document analysis
  • Interface analysis
  • Focus groups
  • Prototyping
  • Requirements workshops
  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Surveys

You could use all nine or a select few, but you will certainly need to incorporate multiple approaches to gather a comprehensive set of requirements.

Whatever methods you use, consider the following tips for improving your elicitation process.

Continually gather requirements

While most requirements gathering occurs early on in the project lifecycle, the business analyst should always be open to identifying and documenting new requirements as needed. It can be tempting to sweep new information under the rug if you’ve already progressed past the initial stages of the project. However, the end product will be better if you have fleshed out all the requirements necessary—even if they were added later in the game.

Get to know your stakeholders

Build a rapport with your stakeholders and learn how they operate. Tailor your elicitation methods to their style or preferred method. While some people work best in interviews, others might prefer to prepare written answers. By adapting your methods to the person, you will be more efficient and effective in gathering requirements.

Always be prepared

Come to stakeholder meetings prepared with questions and even answers. The right questions are often enough to get the ball rolling, but if the team is struggling to find an answer, propose one yourself. Offering options can get the group brainstorming and thinking through the problem more strategically.  

2. Use clear language without jargon

Requirements documents are often long and text-heavy. To prevent confusion or misinterpretations, use clear language without jargon. Keep in mind that multiple stakeholders will be using this document, and not all of them will be technically-minded. By keeping your language clear, you can ensure everyone can understand it.

When you do need to include jargon or other technical terms, be sure to add those to a project dictionary section in the document. This section can serve as a useful reference of all uncommon terms found throughout the document so no one misunderstands the requirements.  

3. Research past projects

A great way to jump-start your documentation process is to research similar projects your organization has completed in the past.

Review the documentation for those projects and use those insights to help you identify requirements and other key points to include in your own BRD. These projects can also help your team justify certain requirements based on successful past results.

4. Validate the documentation

Once you’ve finished writing the requirements document, have a subject matter expert and the project stakeholders review it. This is the time for everyone to validate the information and offer feedback or corrections.

This step is crucial to a creating a successful BRD. Without it, you risk missing key requirements or leaving critical errors that could set your project off track.

5. Include visuals

Although BRDs tend to be text-heavy in nature, visuals play an important role in presenting and clarifying information and making the document more user-friendly. Break up walls of text with data visualizations such as process flows and scope models.

One of the most common diagrams for a BRD is the business process diagram. This diagram visualizes a workflow process and how it relates to your business requirements. Depending on how complex your documentation is, you can use the process diagram to present high-level processes or drill down into more comprehensive and detailed processes for multiple requirements sections.

Business requirements vs. functional requirements

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, business requirements are not the same as the functional requirements for a project. The business requirements describe what the deliverables are needed, but not how to accomplish them.

That information (the “how”) should be documented in a project’s functional requirements document FRD. These are typically outlined within the software requirements documentation for development projects, but some organizations include a functional requirements section in their BRD. These functional requirements detail how a system should operate to fulfill the business requirements.  

Business requirements are the means to fulfilling the organization’s objectives. They should be high-level, detail-oriented, and written from the client’s perspective.

In contrast, functional requirements are much more specific and narrowly focused and written from the system’s perspective. Functional requirements are the means for delivering an effective solution that meets the business requirements and client’s expectations for that project.

Though the distinction is subtle, it’s important to know the difference between business and functional requirements to ensure effective requirements elicitation, documentation, and implementation. Understanding the difference also helps you keep the project properly focused and aligned so that your team can meet both the user needs and the business objectives at the end of the project.

FAQs

  1. What does BRD stand for in business?

    BRD stands for business requirements document. The BRD is an abbreviation for business requirements document. It is the key to a successful project when it documents thoughtful and well-written business requirements.

  2. What is a BRD

    A business requirements document BRD describes the business needs of a project. The project could create something new or unique, or introduce an enhancement to an existing product / service. The BRD includes the company's needs and expectations, the purpose behind these requirements, and any high-level assumptions, constraints, risks and issues that could impede a successful implementation.

  3. What is the purpose of BRD document?

    The Business Requirements Document (BRD) is authored by the business analyst for the purpose of capturing and describing the needs of the customer / business owner / business stakeholders. The BRD provides insight into the current state (AS-IS) and proposed (TO-BE) business processes, identifying stakeholders and profiling primary and secondary user communities.

  4. Who prepares the business requirements document BRD?

    The BRD is typically prepared by a business analyst. There are several individuals who may also be involved in creating it like the project team, business partners and key stakeholders. The BRD is one of the first few documents created in a project's lifecycle.

  5. Is BRD used in agile?

    In Agile, the product owner, business analyst or customer representative typically defines product features. The features are considered an epic in Agile, and these epics encompass everything defined in the BRD. The Agile project manager / scrum master works with the product owner to translate the BRD into epics that define the product.

  6. What is difference between BRD and FRD?

    The Business Requirement Document (BRD) describes the business needs whereas the Functional Requirement Document (FRD) outlines the functions, features and use cases required to fulfill the business need. BRD answers the question what the business wants to do whereas the FRD gives an answer to how it is done.

  7. How are business requirements captured in agile?

    While the BRD may be used is agile project management, agile teams will make use of Epics to represent high level features that need to be fulfilled. These represent business requirements in an agile project. Functional requirements will take to the form of user stories.

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12 Job Roles that need Business Analysis Skills

business analyst job roles

The Business Analyst is an agent of change. Business Analysis is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits. It involves understanding and determining how organizations work so that their full potential can be realized.

The profession of Business Analysis is used to identify and articulate the need for change in how organizations work, and to facilitate that change. Business analysts identify and define the solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders. They work across all levels of an organization and may be involved in everything including:

  • defining strategy.
  • creating the enterprise architecture.
  • taking on a leadership role by defining the goals and requirements for programs and projects.
  • supporting continuous improvement an organization’s technology and processes.

Gain the experience you need to work as a business analyst and any of the allied roles by joining the Business Analyst Experience Simulator adjacent.
Job titles for business analysis practitioners include:

  • business analyst,
  • business systems analyst,
  • systems analyst,
  • requirements engineer,
  • process analyst,
  • product manager,
  • product owner,
  • enterprise analyst,
  • business architect,
  • management consultant,
  • business intelligence analyst,
  • data scientist,
  • and more.

Business analysts have the specialized knowledge and skills to act as a guide and lead the business through unknown or unmapped territory, to get it to its desired destination. The value of business analysis is in realization of benefits, avoidance of cost, identification of new opportunities, understanding of required capabilities and modeling the organization. Through the effective use of business analysis, we can ensure an organization realizes these benefits, ultimately improving the way they do business.

Many other jobs, such as project management, product management, software development, quality assurance and interaction design rely heavily on business analysis skills for success.

International Institute for Business Analysis

Business analyst salaries in the US

The average base salary a Business Analyst makes in the United States ranges between $82,411 and $93,000. (Data: Indeed and BLS). The average additional cash compensation for a Business Analyst in US is $7,869. The average total compensation for a Business Analyst in US is $90,742. To know details of business analyst salaries in every state in the USA, read here.

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Functional Requirements Document FRD – Template & Examples

functional requirements document FRD FRS savioglobal.com

The Functional Requirements Document (FRD) is a formal statement of an application’s functional requirements. When clearly defined, requirements lead to successful project outcomes. Approved requirements establish an agreement between the customer (internal or external) and a provider to reach the same goal. In this article, we explain the need for a functional requirements document, its structure, contents, and offer a sample template format for your work.

What is a Functional Requirements Document (FRD)?

An FRD or Functional Requirements Document serves as a contract for formal statement, between the business stakeholders and the technology team, on an application’s functional requirements.  The FRD is produced by business analysts or sometimes the technical team in response to the business requirements (captured in a BRD – Business Requirements Document).

The key purpose of an FRD is to translate business needs into technological functions in a system.  It’s where project stakeholders and the technical development team meet.  The creation of the FRD facilitates and ensures collaboration between business and technical stakeholders:

  • Business – it restates the business requirements in terms of functional features and capabilities to be supported by the new system or platform.  This ensures the project team understands the business requirements and are on their way to implement a solution which addresses the business needs or problems.
  • Technology – it captures key technical constraints and commitments as well key interfaces to external systems

While created by the solution team comprising business analysts, the FRD should be solution independent (in general) and it should express what the application should do and not how it should do it.  The FRD should not commit the technical team to a specific design. It is for the technical team to develop the actual design and implementation tactics.

The Functional Requirements Document (FRD) is one of the most popular ways to express functional specifications and define the requirements and functional solutions.

What are requirements in software development?

The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) acknowledges requirements as a usable representation of a need. Unambiguous, and detailed requirements help reduce cost and schedule risks and keeps the project on track.

Examples of functional requirements:

The following are some uncategorized examples of software requirements:

  • The system should have the capability to store and retrieve employee information.
  • A dashboard should be made available on demand with charts and tables (details to follow) depicting organizational statuses in real time.
  • The system should integrate with AWS SageMaker endpoints to retrieve predictions made on user input data for loan categorization.
  • All user interfaces should load in under 3 seconds, even under a load of 100 concurrent users.
  • Website traffic to and from the server should be secured using a 256-bit SSL.

The need for a functional requirements document

While the list of requirements above may suffice on smaller projects, large software development needs a more steady and structured approach. The FRD is a derivative and expanded version of the business requirement document BRD.

Functional requirements capture the intended behavior of the system and hence are tailored to fit the project’s need. This behavior may be expressed as services, tasks or functions the system is required to perform. The functional requirements are designed for the readership of a general audience to understand the system. Business as well as technical stakeholders should comprehend the same details in the FRD. Hence, no technical knowledge is required to understand this document.

The Functional Requirements Document (FRD) serves the following purpose:

  • Demonstrates that the application provides value in terms of the business objectives and business processes.
  • Contains a complete set of requirements for the application. It leaves no room for anyone to assume anything which is not stated in the FRD.
  • Is solution independent. The FRD is a statement of what the application is to do. The FRD does not instruct designs or implementation details to the technical team. Hence, references to the use of a specific technology is entirely inappropriate in an FRD. Technical implementation details are confined to a Technical Specification (TS) or the Software Requirements Specification (SRS).

Types of functional requirements

Functional requirements are classified in a variety of ways. Commonly these are broken down in to functions as such:

  • User authentication into the system
  • Access authorization levels
  • User interfaces
  • Compliance to laws or regulations features
  • Database transactions processing
  • APIs for systems integration
  • Report generation and visualization
  • Business / organization specific logic

Functional requirements document FRD / specification FRS template sections

Both functional and nonfunctional requirements can be formalized in the Functional Requirements Document. FRD / FRS’s contain descriptions of features, functions and abilities that the software product must provide. The document also defines constraints and assumptions. These can be a single document communicating functional requirements or it may accompany other software documentation like user stories and use cases.

The FRD is created for the entire solution or a part of it, and is usually an iterative process of consultations with business and technical stakeholders. Every feature must be documented before actually developing it. It is not uncommon for the FRD to undergo a series of revisions as the product is developed over multiple releases. This is because as newer information and client feedback is received, the development team gains greater clarity of the objectives. Everyone understands the importance of features, which can be accordingly prioritized.

Sections

The FRD / FRS includes all or part of the following sections:

  1. Introduction
    1.1 Purpose of Document
    1.2 Project Summary
    1.3 Background
    1.4 Project Scope
    1.5 System Purpose
    1.5.1 Users
    1.5.2 Location
    1.5.3 Responsibilities
    1.5.4 Need
    1.6 Overview of Document
  2. Functional Objectives
    2.1 High Priority
    2.2 Medium Priority
    2.3 Low Priority
  3. Non-Functional Objectives
    3.1 Reliability
    3.2 Usability
    3.3 Performance
    3.4 Security
    3.5 Supportability
    3.6 Online user Documentation and Help
    3.7 Purchased Components
    3.8 Interfaces
  4. The Context Model
    4.1 Goal Statement
    4.2 Context Diagram
    4.3 System Externals
  5. The Use Case Model
    5.1 System Use Case Diagram
    5.2 Use Case Descriptions (for selected cases)
  6. User Stories
  7. Appendix
    Glossary

This list of sections is meant to be representative and a guide, not a hard and fast rule. Every project is different, and you will need to determine the level of detail required for your FRD. For free support with your FRD, use the chat box to chat with our support team or send an email to support@savioglobal.com.

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Use Cases Model and Use Cases

Use cases describe the interaction between the system and external users that leads to achieving particular goals.

Each use case includes three main elements:

  • Actors: These are the external users that interact with the system.
  • System: The system is described as functional requirements that define an intended behavior of the product.
  • Goals: The purposes of the interaction between the users and the system are outlined as goals.

There are two formats to represent use cases:

  • Use case description
  • Use case model (diagram)

use case specification represents the sequence of events along with other information that relates to this use case. A typical use case specification template includes the following information:

  • Use Case Name
  • Summary
  • Basic Flow
  • Alternative Flows
  • Extension Points
  • Preconditions
  • Postconditions
  • Business Rules
Use case description example and template in a functional requirements document FRD by Savio Education Global savioglobal.com
Use case description example and template

use case diagram doesn’t contain a lot of details. It shows a high-level overview of the relationships between actors, different use cases, and the system.

The use case diagram includes the following main elements:

  • Use cases. Usually drawn with ovals, use cases represent different interaction scenarios that actors might have with the system (log in, make a purchase, view items, etc.).
  • System boundaries.  Boundaries are outlined as boxes that groups various use cases in a system.
  • Actors. These are the figures that depict external users (people or systems) that interact with the system.
  • Associations. Associations are drawn with lines showing different types of relationships between actors and use cases.

Example:

Use case model diagram example and template in a functional requirements document FRD by Savio Education Global savioglobal.com
Use case model diagram (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

User Stories – What are they, and the need for it

The Agile Alliance describes user stories as work that is divided up into functional increments. User stories are developed and represented in a format that emphasizes the value to the end user of the system. A typical user story describes three components:

  1. The end goal for the user to use the system. This is the most important factor when it comes to developing functional requirements. Always begin with the end in mind; the value being delivered to the user. For example, the ability to order products (ecommerce like Amazon), track deliveries (ecommerce like Flipkart, Alibaba), enjoy relevant content (streaming like Netflix, Spotify, Zee or social media like Instagram, TikTok), interact with people (messaging or social media apps like Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp), etc.
  2. The action that the user intends to perform, which when performed will lead to the goals being achieved (point #1). For example, placing an order, making payments, reviewing products, navigating pages, etc.
  3. The user role or type of user. For example, user roles may be customers, prospects, administrative users, etc.

Format of a user story

User stories are modelled on the following lines:

As a (role) I want to do (something) so that I can (benefit).

INVEST in a good user story

INVEST in an acronym that serves as a guideline for us to generate clear and useful user stories, and functional requirements in general.

The INVEST for a good user story stands for:

  • “I” – Independent (of all other user stories)
  • “N” – Negotiable (not a specific contract for features; the user story can be modified without much ado)
  • “V” – Valuable (its creation should add value to the user)
  • “E” – Estimable (to a good approximation)
  • “S” – Small or Size Appropriate (so as to fit within an iteration or sprint)
  • “T” – Testable (the user story should create something tangible that can be tested / verified, even if there isn’t a test for it yet)
  • The INVEST checklist for evaluating user stories originated in Bill Wake’s 2003 article, which also utilized acronym SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-boxed) for deliverables resulting from the decomposition of user stories.
  • The INVEST acronym was one among the techniques recommended in Mike Cohn’s “User Stories applied“, which discusses the concept at length in Chapter 2.
What does INVEST for good user stories stand for? Functional requirements and user stories are evaluated quickly using the INVEST criteria.
What does INVEST for good user stories stand for?

Difference between functional and nonfunctional requirements

Functional requirements are product features or functions that developers must implement to enable users to accomplish their tasks. So, it’s important to make them clear both for the development team and the stakeholders. Generally, functional requirements describe system behavior under specific conditions. For example, the system should:

  • Authentic a user login attempt after the user enters personal information.
  • Feature a search box which allows users to discover products related to their search inputs among various products on the platform.
  • Send a order confirmation email when a new order is placed upon successful payment.

Non-functional requirements in an FRD

Nonfunctional requirements define how the system should perform. Some examples are:

  • The website pages should load in 3 seconds with up to 1000 concurrent users.
  • The system should be able to handle 1 million users in a month without performance deterioration.

Here’s a brief comparison and then we’ll proceed to a more in-depth explanation of each group.

ParameterFunctional requirementsNonfunctional requirements
ObjectiveDescribe what the product doesDescribe how the product works
End resultDefine product featuresDefine product properties
FocusUser requirementsUser expectations
DocumentationCaptured in use caseCaptured as a quality attribute
EssentialityThey are mandatoryThey are not mandatory, but desirable
Origin typeUsually user definedUsually developer defined or other tech experts
Testing PrecedenceTested before nonfunctional testingTested after functional testing.
Examples– User interface,
– authentication,
– authorization levels,
– business rules, etc.
– Performance,
– usability,
– security
– testing, etc.

Non-functional requirements detailed examples

Nonfunctional requirements describe how a system must behave and establish constraints of its functionality. The following are the most typical nonfunctional requirements utilized in most functional requirements documents FRD.

Usability

Usability defines how difficult it will be for a user to learn and operate the system. Here’s how usability can be evaluated:

  • Efficiency of use: the average time it takes to accomplish a user’s goals, how many tasks a user can complete without any help, the number of transactions completed without errors, etc.
  • Intuitiveness: how simple it is to understand the interface, buttons, headings, etc.
  • Low perceived workload: how many attempts users need to accomplish a particular task.

Example: Usability requirements can consider language barriers and localization tasks: People with no understanding of French must be able to use the product. Or you may set accessibility requirements: Keyboard users who navigate a website using <tab>, must be able to reach the “Add to cart” button from a product page within 15 <tab> clicks.

Security

Security requirements ensure that the software is protected from unauthorized access to the system and its stored data. It considers different levels of authorization and authentication across different users roles. For instance, data privacy is a security characteristic that describes who can create, see, copy, change, or delete information. Security also includes protection against viruses and malware attacks.

Example: Access permissions for the particular system information may only be changed by the system’s data administrator.

Reliability

Reliability defines how likely it is for the software to work without failure for a given period of time. It decreases because of bugs in the code, hardware failures, or problems with other system components. To measure software reliability, you can count the percentage of operations that are completed correctly or track the average period of time the system runs before failing.

Example: The database update process must roll back all related updates when any update fails.

Performance

Performance is a quality attribute that describes the responsiveness of the system to various user interactions with it. Poor performance leads to negative user experience. It also jeopardizes system safety when it’s overloaded.

Example: The front-page load time must be no more than 2 seconds for users that access the website using an LTE mobile connection.

Availability

Availability is gauged in terms of time that the system’s functionality and services are available for use with all operations. So, scheduled maintenance periods directly influence this parameter. And it’s important to define how the impact of maintenance can be minimized. When writing the availability requirements, the team has to define the most critical components of the system that must be available at all times. You should also prepare user notifications in case the system or one of its parts becomes unavailable.

Example: New module deployment mustn’t impact front page, product pages, and check out pages availability and mustn’t take longer than one hour. The rest of the pages that may experience problems must display a notification with a timer showing when the system is going to be up again.

Scalability

Scalability requirements describe how the system must grow without negative influence on its performance. This means serving more users, processing more data, and doing more transactions. Scalability has both hardware and software implications. For instance, you can add memory, servers, or disk space to increase scalability. On the other hand, you can compress data, use optimizing algorithms, etc.

Example: The website attendance limit must be scalable enough to support 200,000 users at a time.

Functional Requirements Document FRD Template

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Software prototypes and wireframes

Prototypes are meant to be inexpensive and quickly developed visual representations of requirements. Wireframes are low-detail illustrations of a website or an app. To break it down, wireframes are low-fidelity, basic layout and structural guidelines of your web product’s layout and prototypes are an advanced wireframe with more visual detail and interaction.

File:Profilewireframe.png - Wikimedia Commons
An example of a Wireframe (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Wireframes serve as the foundation of a website or app’s visual layout, and it is at this stage that you will arrange elements on the page or screen. The purpose is to map out the priority of the content on the screen. A good rule of thumb is to keep your wireframes simple, with details that represent the core structure of your site / app only.

Best practices while creating the functional requirements document FRD

Creating documentation is an integral part of any software development project. Well-documented requirements ensure that stakeholders and developers are on the same page and also help define project scope and budget. Here are a few useful tips on how to make great documentation.

Requirements have to be clear and understandable. Make sure your requirements are stated in a concise manner that doesn’t contain ambiguity or allow different interpretations. Also, try to avoid technological jargon. Remember that each audience is different and stakeholders might not be familiar with specialized tech terminology. Instead, enrich your documents with visuals, diagrams, and graphs to support the information and make it easier to perceive. Adding glossaries and cross-links is also helpful.

Requirements have to be specific, accurate, and complete. When writing your documentation, be consistent with the language and make sure that your requirements are accurate. They should cover every scenario, but never contradict each other. Avoid vagueness and weak phrases such as “system has to be fast” or “when something happens.” Be specific and quantify the terms so that all the readers can understand them in the same way.

Requirements have to be testable. Write requirements in such a way that after the product is created, testing can show whether they are delivered successfully.

Requirements have to be feasible and sensible. Focus on the functionality and quality attributes that users actually need. Remember that requirements have to reflect higher-level business objectives.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Functional Requirements Documents (FRD)

  1. Who creates the functional requirements documents (FRD)?

    The business analyst (BA) usually is the one who creates the FRD. The BA is best suited to propose a functional solution because of their deep understanding of the domain and the business needs.

  2. When is the functional requirements documents (FRD) created?

    The development of the functional requirements document (FRD) generally occurs after the finalization of the business requirements in the form of the BRD.

  3. What is the use of the functional requirements documents (FRD) for downstream processes?

    The FRD serves as a basis for all subsequent project development activities including the development of detailed system designs, technical specifications, and test cases.

  4. How can the functional requirements documents (FRD) be used in software testing?

    The development of test cases primarily relies on the FRD as the best source of information. This is applicable for system integration testing (SIT) and user acceptance testing (UAT). Expected behaviors of the system, along with impact implications are derived from the FRD.

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Top 5 Tools and Technologies for Business Analysis

Here we recommend the top 5 tools and technologies for business analysis that you should master. In increasing order of technical ability:

Tools and Technologies for Business Analysis

  1. MS Excel of the MS Office suite:
    Let’s face it. A majority of us who have worked a job in the past 10 years have definitely (at least) heard of MS Excel. It’s simple sandbox styled interface, a plethora of features, functions, and easy to understand layout have made it an indispensable tool for many. Statistical modelling and analysis can be easily achieved by the using the Data Analysis Toolpak. And complex optimization scenarios can be explored and achieved with the Solver add-in.
  1. MS Visio or yEd:
    A BA is frequently required to represent the current state and future state of organizational processes or programmatic workflows. This is accomplished through the use of a framework called the business process modelling notation. It is a set of guidelines that help creating notations that are easily understood and interpreted by people in the same field. MS Visio or yEd are commonly used tools and technologies for this purpose.
  2. Tableau:
    The Tableau Software has seen tremendous growth over recent years. This is thanks in part to the thrust to infuse analytics in business intelligence. This growth is also due to the fact that it is one of the easiest tools to master visualization. Tableau’s features truly surpass many of its competitors. And its no surprise that companies are increasingly dependent on Tableau Software products for their business intelligence and visual analytics needs.

Programming

While some roles do not expect programming from business analysts, it is increasingly evident from current job profiles and company expectations that some form of programming experience is desired, and preferably the ones discussed below.

  1. Structured Query Language (SQL):
    SQL is a programming language used specifically to interact with relational databases. There are several flavours of SQL with every relational database vendor attempting to create a unique or stylized version of it for their systems. Think of MS SQL Server, Oracle’s PLSQL, MySQL (acquired by Oracle, etc.). But the core abilities and language constructs – syntax (think of grammar) remain the same across databases. A BA is frequently required to interact with data and databases for their work. This is truer for business analysts in technologically intensive industries.

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  1. Python programming:
    While many companies depend on Python programmers to build websites, apps, and other technologies, a BA also would do well to learn this language. Companies increasingly rely on statistical models for decision making. Python has a huge collection of community driven packages that make even complex algorithms available for your use with a few lines of code. Don’t be afraid; Python is also one of the easiest languages you could learn. It’s meant to be English-like. So if you’re reading this article, you probably can also learn Python quickly!

I wish you the best in life.

Warm regards,
Savio Saldanha