Career Pathway: Business

Pathway Overview

Why Business?

  • Growing Economy
  • Globalization 
  • Complex Tax and Regulatory Environment
  • Increasing Use of Data and Market Research

Business careers are growing fast across many industries as business professionals provide invaluable field experience and expertise in a variety of specialized disciplines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, business occupations are expected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029, providing job seekers ample opportunity to explore different career paths and specializations, as well as openings for growth throughout their careers. Some of the notable specializations in business include accounting, project management, finance, marketing, management, business development, and information technology just to name a few.

Certifications and Licenses

CertificationDefinition/PurposeAssociated Roles
CBAPCertified Business Analysis Professional – Business analysis experience required.Business Analyst
Product Manager
Project Manager
Tester, Quality Assurance (QA) Professional
Change/Transformation Manager
Designer
SASSAS Certified Specialist: Visual Business Analytics – Designed for analysts who are using SAS visual analytics to analyze data and design reports; no work experience required.Business Analyst
Researcher
Statistician
Data Scientist
CISSPCertified Information SystemsSecurity Professional – Designed for experienced information security professionals.Chief Information Security Officer
Chief Information Officer
Director of Security
IT Director/Manager
Security Systems Engineer
Security Analyst
Security Manager
Security Auditor
Security Architect
Security Consultant
Network Architect
CMACertified Management Accountant – Designed for those with a bachelor’s degree in a related field or professional accounting certification, and two years of work experience.Staff Accountant
Financial Analyst
Accounting Manager
Manager/Director – Data Analytics
Manager/Director – Strategic Planning
Vice President – Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A)
Treasurer, Controller, CFO
CSCACertified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis – Designed for accounting and finance professionals. You must have an active Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification.Director
Accounting Manager
Finance Manager
Director of Strategy
PMPProject Management Professional – Designed for those with a bachelor’s degree, experience leading projects, and project management education or training.Associate Project Manager
Assistant Project Manager
Contract Project Manager
Business Project Manager
Information Technology (IT) Project Manager
Construction Project Manager
Project Coordinator
Product Manager
Software Project Manager

In-Demand Skills

Ultimately, your ability to land a specific role rests on your experience and background, as well as your proficiency in the skills below.

Transferable Skills and Qualities

  • Detail Oriented
  • Business-Driven
  • Collaborative
  • Critical
  • Data-Driven
  • Deadline Driven
  • Organized
  • Presentation Proficient
  • Solution Oriented
  • Emotionally Intelligent
  • Quality-Assurance Oriented
  • Self-Development Driven
  • Communicative
  • Management Focused

Business Skills (Field-Specific)

  • Business and Data Analysis
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Negotiation and Influence
  • Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
  • Reporting and Visualization
  • Macro/Microeconomics
  • Marketing
  • Digital Communication
  • Business Management

Job Titles or Career Areas

Note: This is a basic guide to kick-start exploration, not a complete list of all business paths.

Business Analysis

Business analysts are in high-demand because of their vital role in most enterprise settings. The information or data assessed by business analysts can help companies improve their strategic standing in comparison to competitors. Business analysts develop project-management procedures, ensure the efficiency and accuracy of project deliverables, analyze company processes, and handle client needs to satisfaction. These professionals analyze a company by assessing its business model and documenting its systems, finding vulnerabilities, and proposing thoughtful solutions to these issues. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists business analysts under the title, “management analyst,” and reports that the primary focus of this career path is to “recommend ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues”. Because these professionals work across all industries and disciplines, they tend to have varied backgrounds in business.

Common titles in this career path include: Business Analyst Project Manager, Business Architect, Business System Analyst, Management Consultant, Process Analyst, Product Manager, Product Owner, Requirement Engineer, and System Analyst.


In some cases business analysis professionals work within companies; however, in most cases, they are brought in as consultants to lead specific projects focused on developing solutions or identifying issues.

Accounting and Finance

Accounting involves tracking and organizing financials like budgets, audits, and taxes. Accountants manage the day-to-day cash flow within an organization, concentrating on numbers and financial reports. Finance is the use of data to manage and analyze financial trends. Finance professionals help companies devise strategies to maximize investments based on current and historical financial, business, and economic trends. Although these career paths are different, there is a lot of overlap. Accounting is a narrower field that focuses on professional processes to manage numbers and accounts, while finance uses the same information to analyze potential growth patterns to strategize company finances. The choice to pursue one career path or the other depends on how you want to interact with a company’s finances. Accounting professionals focus on “what is,” while finance professionals focus on “what can be” according to the numbers available. Both career paths are expected to see growth according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accounting jobs are projected to increase by 10 percent through 2026 and finance positions are projected to increase by 11 percent in the same period. Accounting and finance are two of the most popular business specializations.

Common job titles include: Accountant, Auditor, Management Analyst, Tax Examiner, Financial Analyst, Budget Analyst, Financial Advisor, Financial Manager, and Controller.

Entrepreneurship

Starting or purchasing a business can be an exciting career path, especially for business professionals who are innovative and customer oriented. The success of an entrepreneurial venture depends on the idea, execution, and how well it serves a specific market need. Prospective entrepreneurs should devote significant time and energy to developing a realistic business plan that includes a marketing strategy, financial projections, target-audience research, capital requirements, and specific milestones to complete as the business scales. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) – Small Business Development Centers offers free information and training on how to write a business plan, legal requirements, and buying a business.

Business Management 

Business management focuses on the art and science of running complex organizations and supervising others. This broad career path offers roles in finance, banking, business administration, human resources, marketing, and operations. Career advancement to executive and C-suite levels is possible. Employment in management occupations is projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Business management professionals need to be strong leaders, sound decision makers, analysts, and effective communicators with a consistent work ethic.

Employer-Ready

Employer-Ready Means…

  • Meeting industry requirements.
  • Creating industry-backed materials.
  • Successfully networking.
  • Demonstrating commitment to ongoing learning.
  • Being proactive with outreach and follow-up strategies.

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