How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree (7 Steps)

How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree

How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree: Less than half of the available business analyst jobs worldwide ask for a degree. Aim to pass the ECBA certification exam – it’s well-respected by companies and doesn’t need a degree. Business analysts have great job opportunities for the next 10 years, growing twice as much as the national average.

More and more businesses now want business analysts. They need people who can use data to help them make smart choices. In the future, we’ll need even more skilled business analysts because lots of companies are using data-driven plans.

The numbers show this too. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says jobs for business and management analysts will grow by 14%. That’s almost twice as much as the average job growth for Americans, which is 7.7%.

The cool thing is, that business analysts earn a good amount of money. Currently, the average yearly salary is $82,218, and they typically make $38 per hour. This means business analysts make more money than people in other well-paying jobs like stockbrokers, web developers, or data analysts.

However, how can someone begin a career in business analysis?

Getting a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, marketing, or even psychology might seem like a good idea. But in this article, I won’t be suggesting that path.

There are many ways to get into the business analytics field without a degree, even though having one might give you a head start in the job market.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Is It Possible to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree?
  • What is the Role of Business Analyst?
  • Is a degree necessary to pursue a career as a business analyst?
  • Important Skills for Business Analyst
  • Which certifications should you target as a business analyst?
  • Where can you find job opportunities as a business analyst without having a degree?
  •  Steps to becoming a business analyst without a degree

Is It Possible to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree?

To become a business analyst, the requirements can vary based on the employer, company size, and industry. While every company is different, many expect candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree for this role. In fact, approximately three-quarters of business analysts are estimated to have a bachelor’s degree, according to Zippia. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

You don’t necessarily need a business degree for this role. Many aspiring business analysts opt for majors in related fields such as marketing, finance, or technology. These areas provide training in various skills essential for corporate work. Among those with a bachelor’s degree, 29% studied business, 10% computer science, 9% finance, 7% accounting, and 45% pursued other fields.

Also read: How to become an Investment Banker Without a Degree(8 Tips)

What is the Role of Business Analyst?

How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree

In simple terms, a business analyst is someone who helps organizations find and solve problems. They do this by regularly checking how a company is doing, collecting and studying data, and then suggesting actions to the top managers based on their findings.

That’s why they’re often seen as the link between a company’s big bosses and its more technical departments. This is also why business analysts need to have strong analytical skills along with excellent people and communication skills.

Sometimes, a business analyst might need to get more involved in the company’s activities. They could be responsible for overseeing the introduction of new production methods, actively looking for suitable candidates to join the organization, and providing training to current staff.

The specific tasks of a business analyst can vary a lot depending on the company and industry they work in. But they all share the goal of trying to make the organization perform better every day. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

Is a degree necessary to pursue a career as a business analyst?

You don’t need a degree to work as a business analyst. There are over 40,000 job openings for business analysts worldwide that don’t require a degree, and less than half of these positions ask for one.

In the United States, having a degree is more important to hiring managers compared to any other country or region. This trend is seen in various professions, including business analysis.

On the flip side, people in the UK, Canada, Australia, and India have the best chance of getting a job as a business analyst without needing a degree.

Here’s a chart illustrating the variations between countries:

And, here are the exact figures:

  • Out of the 79,335 business analyst positions worldwide, 43,628 don’t require a degree. So, for 54.99% of business analyst jobs globally, having a degree is not necessary.
  • In the United States, out of the 34,638 available business analyst positions, 16,434 don’t require a degree. This means 47.45% of business analyst jobs in the US don’t ask for a degree.
  • In the UK, out of the 5,925 business analyst positions, 3,966 don’t require a degree. Therefore, 66.94% of business analyst positions in the UK don’t need a degree.
  • In the European Union, out of 13,099 business analyst positions, 8,888 are available without needing a degree. So, for 67.85% of business analyst jobs in the European Union, a degree is not required.
  • In Australia, out of all business analyst jobs, 1,306 are available without needing a degree. Therefore, for 65.93% of business analyst employment in Australia, a degree is not necessary.
  • In Canada, out of 2,629 business analyst positions, 1,551 are available without requiring a degree. Hence, for 59.00% of business analyst employment in Canada, a degree is not needed.
  • In India, out of 6,702 business analyst positions, 4,156 are available without needing a degree. So, a degree is not required for 62.01% of business analyst employment in India. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

Even in countries where having a degree is highly valued, like the United States, there are tens of thousands of job opportunities for business analysts without a degree. Despite some differences in regions and countries, it’s clear that not having a degree shouldn’t be a hindrance to working as a business analyst.

Also read: How to Become a Project Manager Without a Degree(7 steps)

Important Skills for Business Analyst

Business analysts need to have a unique mix of both technical and interpersonal skills to be effective in their roles. While the specific skills required may differ depending on the organization and industry, some fundamental skills are essential for all business analysts. Many of these skills are transferable, meaning they can be gained through hands-on experience, on-the-job training, or certification programs, even without a formal degree.

Some of the most important skills a business analyst needs are:

  1. Critical thinking skills
  2. Good Analytical skills
  3. Good communication skills
  4. Problem-solving skills
  5. Creativity
  6. Understanding of Business Environment
  7. Information technology (IT) skills
  8. Domain knowledge

Critical thinking skills

A business analyst needs to be good at solving problems. This means they can look at a complex issue, break it down into smaller parts, and find logical solutions. They should be able to spot trends and connections in data. Usually, the more problems a business analyst works on, the better they become at thinking critically and solving issues.

Good Analytical skills

Analytical skills go hand in hand with critical thinking for a business analyst. It means they can look at lots of data to find patterns and trends. This might involve understanding financial reports or figuring out what customers do. A good business analyst is comfortable dealing with a large amount of data and is good at math.

Good communication skills

A business analyst is like the middle person between the IT (Information Technology) team and the business people. They need to have good talks with both groups. This means understanding what the business needs and explaining it in technical terms, and the other way around. They also have to make complicated ideas easy to understand for everyone and change how they talk depending on who they’re talking to.

Problem-solving skills

Business analysts need to be good at deciding what tasks are most important, handling many projects at the same time, and finding practical solutions to different problems. They also need to manage difficult tasks, often with tight deadlines. So, being well-organized and having excellent problem-solving skills are very important for any business analyst. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]


Apart from recognizing patterns in how a company works, business analysts must also be creative problem solvers. This might involve creating a blueprint for a new product or coming up with an entirely new business model to make the manufacturing process more efficient. To boost the effectiveness and financial success of the companies they work with, business analysts should have creative thinking skills and the ability to come up with innovative solutions.

Understanding of Business Environment

A business analyst needs to understand how companies operate and what factors contribute to their success or failure. This involves having a general understanding of the industry’s finances, the competitive landscape, and upcoming trends and developments.

Information technology (IT) skills

To excel as a business analyst, it’s beneficial to have some IT skills. These include knowing basic coding languages like HTML, CSS, and SQL. Being comfortable with popular business software like Microsoft Office and Google Suite is also useful. Familiarity with common project management tools such as Asana and JIRA, along with knowledge of data visualization tools like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI, can be valuable in the role.

Domain knowledge

“Domain knowledge” means understanding a specific industry or subject. For instance, a business analyst working in retail should know how the industry operates, including its terms, procedures, and guidelines. While some business analysts switch industries, it’s easier to start in one you already know well. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

Also read: How to Become a Financial Advisor Without a Degree (6 steps)

Which certifications should you target as a business analyst?

If you don’t have a college degree, earning a certificate is your best bet to start a good entry-level career as a business analyst.

The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) is the most trusted organization for business analysis certifications. Even if other candidates have degrees, passing at least one IIBA certificate exam gives you a significant advantage over them.

Keep in mind that you need to complete a specific number of Professional Development (PD) hours to qualify for any of the business analyst certification exams mentioned below. You can accumulate these hours by taking hybrid, online, or in-person classes. It’s often more convenient, faster, and cost-effective to take online courses. We’ll delve into that later on.

There are countless certifications for business analysts, but these are the most sought-after and recognized:

  • Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
  • Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA)
  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
  • PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)

Let’s dive into the details of each of them.

Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)

I strongly suggest starting with the IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA). This certification is the industry standard for most entry-level business analyst positions. It’s relatively easy to pass the exam, and you have the option of online proctoring.

To apply for the exam, you only need to have completed at least 21 hours of professional development, and passing it is not too challenging if you have a basic understanding of business analysis. By the time you finish the required 21 hours of professional development, you’ll likely have gained that knowledge.

The ECBA certification exam includes these topics:

  • Basic concepts of business analysis
  •  The role of the business analyst
  •  Fundamental business analysis techniques
  •  I IBA’s Code Of Conduct

Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA)

Next in line, I recommend focusing on the IIBA’s Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA). [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

Unlike the ECBA, the CCBA has stricter prerequisites. To be eligible, you need a minimum of 3750 hours of practical experience as a business analyst. This means you should prioritize gaining more job experience before aiming for the CCBA, especially if you have a few years of experience already.

However, if you do possess the required experience, pursuing the CCBA is a wise choice. It not only allows you to demonstrate your expertise and experience but also serves as a valuable strategy to enhance your career prospects and income potential. Completing the CCBA sets you apart from others, as while many business analysts hold the ECBA, fewer have achieved the CCBA.

Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

Unlike the challenging CCBA exam, the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) certification exam is even more demanding. To qualify for the CBAP, you need a minimum of 7500 hours of experience as a business analyst.

However, if you possess the required expertise and are confident in your understanding of business analysis methods, succeeding in the CBAP exam can significantly elevate you above your competitors. Few business analysts have earned the CBAP, making it an excellent way to showcase your skills.

By the time you meet the requirements for the CBAP, you should be ready for senior business analyst positions. Achieving success in the exam will not only validate your expertise but also propel your career to new heights.

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)

The final certification is the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) test. Unlike the previous ones, the Project Management Institute (PMI) administers this exam instead of IIBA.

While PMI is a major player in project management certification, the IIBA remains the top choice for business analyst certifications. Although PMI is a strong contender with well-regarded exams, IIBA is still the leading authority in the business analyst certification field. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

To take the PMI-PBA exam without a bachelor’s degree, along with completing high school, you need 35 hours of business analysis professional education, including online courses, and 60 months of business analysis experience. While a college degree is not mandatory, having one is beneficial as it reduces the required work experience from 60 to 36 months.

The PMI-PBA is designed for seasoned business analysts aiming to progress in their careers, with a required experience level comparable to the IIBA’s CBAP test.

Where can you find job opportunities as a business analyst without having a degree?

In today’s data-driven world, many companies can benefit from the skills of a qualified business analyst, even if you don’t have a degree. Here are some popular companies that hire business analysts without a degree.

Big tech companies

Many big technology companies nowadays have business analysts or entire business analytics departments. This is because business analysts play a crucial role in helping organizations engineer new products, streamline production processes, and improve existing product lines. It’s highly recommended to consider a long-term career goal of working for a well-known tech company, as these positions often offer higher pay compared to other alternatives.


Startups are a great option for business analysts without a degree. Many companies are open to hiring applicants with little or no academic schooling if they can showcase their value through job experience or relevant credentials. Working for a startup provides an opportunity to gain practical experience and establish a foothold in the business world.

Business analytics companies

Companies like Accenture and Tiger Analytics specialize in helping other businesses achieve their goals through solutions involving data analysis and process improvement. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

Public sector

Business analysts work for the federal, state, and local governments to improve how they operate. They might speed up processes like issuing passports or analyzing crime statistics. Occasionally, private companies, such as Palantir, collaborate with the government to provide business analytics services.

Management consulting firms

Management consulting firms help companies solve various problems, reach their goals, and streamline their operations. Some of these firms have a dedicated business analytics section to help clients with data-related issues.

Freelance work

Experienced and in-demand business analysts often take on short-term projects as independent contractors, providing their expertise to multiple clients simultaneously. While this approach can offer better control over work-life balance, it might be challenging for less-experienced business analysts to find consistent, reliable, and well-paying opportunities through platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.

Steps- How to become a business analyst without a degree

  1. Identify and understand the knowledge you already have in a specific industry or field.
  2. Acquire the basics knowledge of business analysis
  3. Join an IIBA-endorsed business analytics course
  4. Get real world experience with business analytics tools.
  5. Build a public business analytics portfolio.
  6. Pass the ECBA certification exam.
  7. Start applying for business analyst roles that do not require a degree.

1. Identify and understand the knowledge you already have in a specific industry or field.

Most companies prefer hiring business analysts with experience in their specific industry. This can work to your advantage if a business analysis position opens up in a field you already know. Here’s why: when a company hires a candidate with prior industry knowledge, it saves a lot of time and money that would otherwise be spent on training.

If you’ve previously worked at a law firm and a legal firm is looking for a business analyst, you become a strong candidate instantly, especially if you have skills related to both law and business analytics—even if you don’t have a formal degree in business analysis.

Likewise, if you’ve had experience in a healthcare setting, you can use that knowledge to demonstrate your understanding of the various laws and regulations related to providing medical care.

Before immersing yourself in the complexities of the business analysis field, assess your knowledge across various industries and explore how business analytics is applied in your sector. Take the extra step to understand the common procedures, strategies, and tools used for business analysis in these industries. The more research you do, the smoother your learning journey will be.

If you lack prior domain knowledge, choose a professional path that interests you and stick with it. Focusing on one area rather than trying to master everything can significantly ease the path to building a business analyst career. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

To give you an idea, here are some of the most sought-after sectors where businesses need analysts:

  • Healthcare
  •  Banking and Finance
  •  E-commerce
  •  Telecommunications
  •  Consulting
  •  Retail

No matter which path you choose, make sure you’re interested in the field. Your work will be smarter, quicker, and more effective when you’re passionate about the industry you’re exploring, even though considering market demand and growth potential is important

2. Acquire the basics knowledge of business analysis

You should start by getting to know the basic concepts and tools of business analysis, such as:

  • Data analysis
  •  Requirements gathering
  •  Process mapping
  •  Business modeling
  •  Project management

You can gain these skills by attending conferences, reading books or articles, and taking online courses. There are plenty of online resources like webinars, blog articles, and instructional videos.

To make sure you have enough hours to qualify for the ECBA exam when you’re done, I strongly recommend enrolling in an online school approved by the IIBA. While watching YouTube videos and reading blogs can be helpful, they usually don’t provide a structured learning path or guide you toward becoming a certified business analyst.

Once you’ve identified your area of interest or chosen a specific path, it’s time to start learning the basics of business analysis. This will help you start seeing the connections between business analysis and the

3. Join an IIBA-endorsed business analytics course.

The simplest way to grasp the basics of business analysis and accumulate sufficient contact hours for the ECBA exam is to join a business analytics course from an education provider approved by the IIBA. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

Although there is a high demand for business analysts, the competition for these positions is intense. Many of your competitors may hold a master’s or bachelor’s degree. This means that it will be extremely challenging for you to stand out if you are not certified.

Here are some highly recommended online business analytics courses:

  1. Business Analysis Fundamentals (UC Berkeley Extension).
  2. Business Systems Analysis (Getsmarter). 
  3. Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) Certification Training

Business Analysis Fundamentals (UC Berkeley Extension).

Consider enrolling in a fantastic introductory course that delves into the world of business analysis. This course covers the role of a business analyst, commonly used approaches, and the application of various analytical tools and techniques. While it may be a bit pricey, it’s an investment in your future career, allowing you to showcase the esteemed Berkeley name on your resume without taking on substantial student loan debt. This course is particularly recommended for beginners, providing the necessary 30 contact hours to qualify for the ECBA exam.

Business Systems Analysis (Getsmarter).

Embark on this introductory course to explore various business analytics techniques. Acquire the knowledge and skills needed to apply them in a professional setting. The course, guided by the University of Cape Town, provides a substantial 40 contact hours, well exceeding the requirement for the ECBA. Drawing from my own experience with similarly structured GetSmarter courses, I found them occasionally straightforward but generally beneficial. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) Certification Training

This highly advanced course is designed for experienced business analysts with seven to ten years of expertise, preparing them for the CBAP exam. If you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend taking this class, as it provides 35 contact hours and is tailored for more seasoned professionals.

If you didn’t find a course that interests you here, you can check the full list of approved education and training providers by the IIBA. They offer various online and offline training options, each specifying the exact number of contact hours you’ll receive.

4. Get real world experience with business analytics tools.

If you’re aiming to be a business analyst, it’s essential to gain hands-on experience with real business analytics tools, in addition to understanding the theoretical aspects.

The choice of business analytics tools depends on the industry you’re in, with various options available. Regardless of your industry, I recommend delving into the crucial concept of business process modeling.

Business process modeling involves visually representing an organization’s business processes. It can be used to create new processes or improve existing ones.

In simple terms, being adept at business process modeling is a must for anyone aspiring to become a business analyst. Business analysts utilize a method called business process modeling to document how an organization operates.

This involves creating diagrams that depict various processes within a business, the interconnections among different departments, and the flow of information between them. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

There are numerous software applications suitable for business process modeling, with some being free and others requiring purchase. It’s advisable to experiment with different tools to find the ones you’re most comfortable with and that align best with your future professional goals.

Some commonly used business process modeling tools include are:

I suggest trying out different programs and using online tutorials to learn how to use them if they seem intuitive to you. Being skilled in using a professional business process modeling application can give you a significant advantage over others who only have theoretical knowledge, even if they have a degree.

In addition to these three, I recommend gaining practical experience with other versatile business analytics programs:

5. Build a public business analytics portfolio.

When you apply for business analysis positions, employers will want to see examples of your work. The best way to showcase your skills as a business analyst is to create a portfolio of your previous work.

You can find numerous project ideas online, or you can come up with your own. What’s important is that your portfolio demonstrates your ability to handle the main responsibilities of a business analyst.

Consider the following sample project ideas for your portfolio:

Here are some examples of tasks you can include in your business analyst portfolio:

  1. Review the operational procedures of a small business and suggest improvements.
  2. Develop a new business procedure for a company entering a new market.
  3. Use business process modeling tools to visualize how customers interact with an e-commerce website.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of an employee onboarding process for a business.
  5. Track the flow of information among different departments within a medium-sized company. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

These are just a few suggestions. There are endless possibilities. Be creative and come up with tasks that you believe will showcase your abilities best. For example, if you excel in data visualization, focus on projects that leverage that particular skill.

The aim is to prove to potential employers that you have the necessary skill set for the position and that you can apply those skills in real-world scenarios. Check out this excellent Coursera post for ideas on how to structure a successful portfolio. While it’s geared toward data analysts, the concepts apply to business analysts as well.

6. Clear the ECBA certification exam.

If you don’t have a business degree, getting certified is the best way to kickstart your career. This holds especially true in business analysis, where the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) is the only recognized authority for maintaining high standards.

When it comes to business analyst certification, IIBA is the go-to. To make it simple, they have one entry-level certification program, the Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA).

Employers often prefer the globally recognized ECBA certification as it demonstrates that you have the essential skills and knowledge to kickstart a career as a business analyst. To qualify for the exam, you just need to finish 21 hours of professional development; having a degree is not necessary. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

If you’ve followed our step-by-step guide on how to become a business analyst without a degree, you should easily meet the required hours, especially if you enrolled in an online course approved by the IIBA as a recognized source of instruction.

While the exam itself is not inherently difficult, it’s crucial to prepare for it. I recommend taking a few practice exams to ensure you are well-prepared. For more detailed information about the ECBA and other certifications for business analysts, refer to the previous section where I provided additional insights.

7. Start applying for business analyst roles that do not require a degree.

Now that you have a portfolio showcasing your work and a new certification on your resume, it’s time to start applying for entry-level business analyst positions.

To boost your chances of landing a job, focus on tailoring each application to the specific job description. Highlight relevant previous work, skills, and credentials that align with the requirements of the particular position.

Even if you lack experience, don’t hesitate to apply for entry-level jobs. Many companies are willing to provide on-the-job training for new business analysts. So, don’t let your lack of experience hold you back from applying to jobs that interest you.

For better job prospects, we recommend targeting small to medium-sized businesses. These companies are generally more open to hiring entry-level workers and offering on-the-job training.

Applying for positions in industries you’re already familiar with is also a smart strategy, as we discussed earlier. Your prior domain knowledge will give you an edge over other applicants. [How to Become a Business Analyst Without a Degree]

Some examples of entry-level business analyst positions include:

  • Junior Business Analyst
  • Associate Business Analyst
  • Business Analyst Trainee
  • Entry-Level Business Systems Analyst

If you’ve reached this point and completed all the steps, you are now a business analyst without a degree.


In conclusion, you can totally become a business analyst without a degree! Just follow these steps: First, figure out what you already know about a certain industry. Then, learn the basics of business analysis—like understanding data and improving processes. Get certified with the Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA), and create a portfolio to show off your skills.

Business analysts are in demand, and lots of companies are okay with hiring someone without a formal degree, especially if you have the right qualifications. Stand out by highlighting key skills like problem-solving and good communication.

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