Business Analyst Or Computer Programmer Careers, Which Is Better?

Part 4 of 9 in the Series: How To Start A Business Analyst Career

If you are having a hard time choosing between a business analyst career and a computer programming career, perhaps it is because you can’t tell the difference.

I want to help you out by explaining the major differences between business analyst and computer programming careers.

These differences include:

1. Technical Skills

2. People / Leadership Skills

3. Educational Requirements

4. Learning Curve

5. 2007 and 2008 Job Market Outlook

6. Salaries, Wages and Compensation

7. Job Satisfaction

Technical Skills Needed for Business Analyst and Computer Programmer Careers

Business Analysts need to know the basics of progamming while computer programmers need to be experts at software development. While computer programmers are required to be experts at using programming languages like C/C++, Java, C#, VB, PHP to develop web, windows and mobile applications, business analysts are required to know how to model and analyze business/software processes

People/Leadership Skills Needed for Business Analyst and Computer Pragrammer Careers

Business Analysts need to have good to strong people and leadership skills. They need to be good at eliciting information from people, communicating on paper or in person, building relatonships, collaborating with team members coming from different backgrounds and viewpoints.

On the other hand computer programmers need to be good at recognizing technical excellence in their team mates. They also need to be good at presenting their point of view to their team members on technical issues.

To make it simple, computer programmers can get away with having weak people skills and strong technical skills while business analysts can get away with having weak technical skills and strong people skills.

Educational Requirements for Business Analyst and Computer Programmer Careers

Business Analysts traditionally major in business management unlike computer programmers who traditionally major in computer science.

To cross-over from a business analysis career to a computer programming career you need to master software development. This can be achieved without going back to college by learning a suite of related computer programmng languages.

On the other hand, crossing-over to a business analyst career from computer programming requires you to work on your soft skills. Of the two, crossing-over to a computer programming career is more difficult because you need to master a number of software development technologies which is not a trivial task.

Learning Curve for Business Analyst and Computer Programming Careers

The path to becoming a computer programmer is technically more challenging because computer programmers have to be experts at programming in a variety of key or important programming languages. They also have to keep their skills current in whatever programming languages they choose to become expert in.

Finally, computer programmers need to be experts in the entire software development life cycle. Business Analysts on the other hand only need to master 2 or 3 technologies to get a job.

Also employers expect the business, leadership, communication and people skills required for business analyst jobs to come naturally. They verify this by closely examining current and previous business analyst roles and responsibilities for evidence that you exercised those skills on the job.

Their thinking is that if you’ve succeeded in previous business analyst jobs, you are likely to be a good hire for their current business analyst job opening.

The Job Outlook for Business Analysts and Computer Programmers

The job market outlook for computer programmers and business analysts is good and favorable. Experienced computer programmers and business analysts who know how to market themselves will find it easy to get a job in the current job market.

Beginner computer programmers and business analysts have a lot of opportunity also, because the demand for their skills and services is high. The key is to learn how to quickly master the skills employers are hiring for and also learn how to separate the really good employment opportunities from those that will waste your time.

Salaries, Wages and Compensation for Business Analysts and Computer Programmers

Because the demand for computer programmers and business analysts exceed their supply, their compensation is very good and will continue to get better. However, computer programmers are compensated at a higher rate than business analysts even though business analysts often have more visible roles.

Seasoned or experienced business analysts who know how to market their skills and how to sell their value will be compensated at above market rate.

Job Satisfaction for Business Analysts and Computer Programmers

There are some factors that influence or decide how much you like your job. Job satisfaction varies from person to person because some people are inherently more satisfied with life than others. It varies from employer to employer because some managers, firms and teams are more fun to work in than others.

Depending on what matters most to you, here are additional factors that influence how much you like your business analyst or computer programming career:

(i.) Prestige: Business analysts invest the majority of their time interviewing or working with business owners, stake holders, project managers, team leads and management. They have a more visible role than computer programmers who spend a good deal of time writing code on the computer.

(ii.)Craftsmanship: Computer programmers write code and develop software. At the end of the day, they create a deploy a program unlike business analysts. The ability to visualize and craft artificial business intelligence can lead to considerable personal job satisfaction.

(iii). Personality: One of the most important factors to take into account is your personality. For a variety of intangible reasons, you may enjoy spending a lot of time on the computer writing code or you may not.

Also, you may begin your information technology career as a business analyst and then over the years realize that you have a hunger or passion for coding. On the other hand, you may begin your career as a computer programmer and over time begin to feel burnt out.

Either way, always keep in mind that you can switch from a computer programming career to a business analyst career or switch from a business analyst career to a computer programming career.




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