Devansh had reached saturation point in his career as a Marketing Manager. Though he was a consistent performer, nothing seemed to excite him at the job anymore. He was desperately looking for something more challenging, something that could be a turning point in his career.

Devansh was aware of Business Analytics as the next big thing and numerous mentions on the social media and job portals about it had intrigued him. He was always good with numbers and had great analytical skills. But he was not from the IT background and this dampened his spirits of pursuing Business Analytics.

Just like Devansh, many of you may have this inhibition. But this fear is far from the truth. Sometimes even a fine thread of fear or inhibition can create a huge gap between us and our dreams. So it is best to put these fears to rest and look at things more objectively.

Understand the role of a Business Analytics professional

A business analytics professional identifies a problem, works on data, analyses it from various perspectives, builds models to visualize and predict the outcome and weaves a story around the data to communicate the findings to the stakeholders.

So we can see that in the entire role, it is mainly the analytical skills, modelling skills and communication skills which rank higher than the technical skills.

Technical expertise is highly preferred but not mandatory

That said, the business analytics incumbents with the required programming skills and other technical know-how definitely score more than the ones without them. However, this doesn’t mean that those from non-IT fields cannot foray into Business Analytics. Basic technical skills can always be learnt if you have the inclination and enthusiasm. Rest of the skills are transferable from your previous work experience or background.

Transferable soft skills do matter

Here are some of those transferable skills that are must for a Business Analytics professional:

1. Good numeric abilities

 It goes beyond doubt that business analytics is all about data. So you can only choose to spend so much of your time with data if you have an undying love for numbers. Being comfortable with huge sets of data, strong base of statistics and ease in handling numbers is a crucial quality for Business analytics. These rank higher than the technical skills required. While analytics tools can be learnt through training institutes and practise, but numeric qualities need to be innate.

2. Strong analytical skills

 Deciphering the story behind numbers is not exactly a skill but a bent of mind. The more inquisitive you are, the more logical thinking powers you have and the more the grit you have to get to the details behind the numbers. Analytical mind or strong problem-solving abilities are skills that define the success of a Business Analytics professional.

3. Strong domain expertise

 Most of the business analytics professional solve problems related to some of the other domain like telecom, marketing, banking, technology, FMCG etc. In order to understand the business problem, wade through the data and designing a model to solve the business case, one must have a thorough knowledge of the particular domain. By knowing the important sector-specific metrics, the business model of companies in that domain, the unique issues the sector faces, a professional can bring a lot to table as a business analytics aspirant.

4. Great communication skills

 The profile of a Business Analyst involves a lot of liasoning and negotiations between various teams. Understanding the client’s requirements, working on the data and communicating the same to various stakeholders requires good communication skills. This is something which is a transferable skill used across industries and profiles. Thus, most of you know that for success in a client-facing role, possessing good communication skill is a given.

5. Relationship Building skills

 Relationship building skills rank high when you are into business analytics. Here we are talking about a relationship with stakeholders and everyone who is involved in the project right from customers, team members, seniors, technical teams or other partners. Only when you build a good and strong relationship with others and network well, can you accomplish your task as a business analytics professional.

6. Emotional Intelligence

 Business Analytics professionals work in highly stressful situations. A person with high emotional intelligence is able to understand his own emotions as well as others. He knows how to channelize the emotions into a positive outcome. One who has control over emotions can only possess good decision-making skills. High emotional intelligence also enhances leadership skills of an analytics professional.

Business Analytics is much more than just technical skills.

Coming back to the requirement of technical skills, we reiterate that these skills are very important for a Business Analytics professional, however, hailing from a non-IT background should not be an impediment in your journey to reap rewards of a gratifying career such as Business Analytics. Skills such as writing SQL queries, base SAS, tools such as R and Python, developing visualizations through tableau or text analytics can be learnt by enrolling in a reputed training institute. Apart from these you can also read books, network with the professionals or attend seminars to get a primer on these technical skill sets. These are tools to perform analysis, but it does require a logical human brain to drive it. Without knowing fundamentals or understanding the basic structure of a problem, even these tools can be of no help.

The bottom line is, Business Analytics is open for all fields. Analytics is not just about technical knowledge or tools, it is about how you approach a problem and solve it, keeping the best interest of the stakeholders at large.