Skip to main content

Arkansas State University

Important Soft Skills for Business Analysts

Businesses place a premium on professionals with expertise in practical applications of analytics systems, and they also expect candidates for those roles to possess a full set of non-technical skills. Generally known as “soft,” “interpersonal” or “people” skills, these non-technical skills have become so critical to the success of business analysts that several professional development organizations have promoted them to “power skills.”

Udemy, for instance, says there is nothing soft about power skills, adding that they are the key to future-proofing any company: “Power skills aren’t just nice to have. They’re essential for changing the workplace.”

Graduates of the Arkansas State University (A-State) online Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Digital Technology with a Concentration in Business Analytics program gain both technical and non-technical skills for technology and data analytics jobs. This makes them high-demand, well-equipped professionals for a number of professional spaces.

How Recent Changes Have Created Power Skills Demand

The workplace has experienced tectonic shifts over the past few years.

  • Employee disengagement and personal dissatisfaction with their professional lives drove the Great Resignation.
  • Government shutdowns during the pandemic disrupted and dispersed the computerized workforce, which created widespread adoption of remote and hybrid work.
  • In all that churn, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies took center stage, and quitting in place emerged as a severe productivity challenge as workers stayed at their jobs but stopped doing them.

According to Thomson Reuters, businesses now expect and accept that their workplaces will remain in a state of disruption and are putting additional resources into recruiting, hiring and retaining leaders with non-technical management skills to complement their technical expertise.

“Calling these attributes soft too often discredits their importance,” it notes, warning that without them “effective decision-making, teamwork, negotiation, leadership, perseverance, and more — basically anything that helps someone succeed in today’s dynamic business environment — would be deficient.”

What Non-Technical Skills Are Important for Business Analysts?

Call the skillset what you will, successful business analysts possess non-technical leadership skills that enable them to effectively bridge the gap between a department’s IT and business functions. Among its Top 10 management skills for business analysts, Computerworld includes the following:

  • Negotiation to ensure IT and business needs, requirements and limitations are communicated effectively to one another
  • Strategic thinking to help develop innovative technical solutions that meet internal clients’ business needs
  • Problem-solving to discover the underlying causes of challenges in order to ensure the solution addresses the root cause and not a symptom
  • Presentation and public speaking to facilitate communication between the business unit and senior management and stakeholders to influence resource allocation
  • Team building to structure and coordinate personnel and resources and ensure timely completion of successful projects

Technical and hard skills are essential to success in a business analytics career, but non-technical skills are equally important in technology roles, which the Business Analysis Doctor calls “a people-centered profession.”

It notes that “employers hire and promote people they like and trust and these are demonstrated through soft skills” because they are essential to solidifying vital professional relationships.

How Do Professionals Acquire Non-Technical Skills That Complement Their Technical Expertise?

The capstone to the business analytics concentration of A-State’s online program allows students to hone their technical skills and polish their “power” skills. The hands-on course covers team building dynamics, including negotiating key points in developing strategic plans and process improvements for public, private and non-profit organizations.

Benefits of a capstone, according to LinkedIn, include allowing “students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems, improve or develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, work in teams, develop leadership skills, [and] build professional networks.”

As the culmination of the A-State online M.S. in Applied Digital Technology – Business Analytics program curriculum — which includes courses in project management, data mining, predictive decision making and analytics — the capstone has students demonstrate skills such as:

  • Collaborating with project team members and stakeholders to sequence workflows from concept to completion
  • Communicating business requirements for technology-related projects
  • Assessing the impact of IT decisions on management and business operations

The program equips graduates for executive and senior management roles in data analytics, project management and process improvement. Technical abilities are no longer the only skills necessary for success in technology and data management. Power skills are gaining significant value, and professionals cannot afford to neglect them.

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s online M.S. in Applied Digital Technology – Business Analytics program.

Request Information

Submit the form below, and an Enrollment Specialist will contact you to answer your questions.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Or call 866-621-8096

Ready to go?

Start your application today!
Or call 866-621-8096 866-621-8096
for help with any questions you have.
  • Choose All That Apply