Deciphering the Business Analyst Job Description

Part 6 of 20 in the Series: How To Become A Business Analyst
business analyst job description

decipher ba job descriptions

You can find out “what employers look for in a job candidate” by browsing business analyst job descriptions.

However, you will notice that some business analyst job descriptions are poorly written!

A weak business analyst job description does not provide enough information for you to compare your skill set against the requirements posted on the job posting.

A Well Written Business Analyst Job Description Is An Effective Hiring Tool!

Here is an example of a weak or ineffective business analyst job description:

We are seeking a senior level Business Analyst (5+ years) with strong systems knowledge for a six month + contract.

They will need to have a strong background working with tech leads, working with end-users, gathering requirements, and creating BRDs.

This person will not have to create technical specifications, but will need to have the technical knowledge to help guide the decisions.

The right candidate will need to be the type of person to take control of a project and create direction where there isn’t any.

In order to be considered, the candidates must produce examples of past BRDs he/she has created.

This position has potential to run for the entire year.

A Guide To Business Analyst Job Descriptions

Here are my thoughts on why this business analyst job description is ineffective.

  • Is the employer looking for anyone who has worked in a business analysis capacity in for five years and can put together a good-looking Business Requirements Document? From reading, it would seem so.

  • Is putting together a Business Requirements Document (BRD) the hallmark of a successful business analyst?

  • What does the wording “create direction where there isnt’ any” refer to? Is the employer asking for project management skills as well?

  • What sort of technical knowledge is the employer asking for? What depth of technical expertise is need?

A Better Business Analyst Job Description

Here is a better worded business analyst job description:

Position: IT Business Analyst

Description:

  • The Business Analyst is a crucial role in creating and maintaining the strategic partnership between Business needs and Technology delivery in an Agile development environment.

  • The Business Analyst will be responsible for developing business requirements and related business rules based on Business Group needs.

  • The Analyst will work closely with the Business Partner and Business Subject Matter Expert(s) in the definition, testing, training, implementation, and support of functional requirements.

  • The Analyst will identify requirements via industry standard analysis techniques such as data flow modeling, workflow analysis, and functional decomposition analysis. The Analyst will solicit requirements through interviews, workshops, and/or existing systems documentation or procedures.

In general, the role will include the creation/revision of the following analysis artifacts and deliverables:

  • Process Maps
  • Business Requirements
  • Business Rules
  • User Stories
  • User Flows
  • Acceptance Tests

The Analyst will participate in daily stand-up meetings with both Technology and Business Partners to facilitate the understanding, clarification, and implementation of requirements in an Agile development environment.
Requirements:

BA/BS Degree, in a technology related field or other degree preferred.

4-6 years experience in building and specifying mission critical business applications, at least 1 of which is in a client/server environment.

Strong verbal and written communication skills. Must be able to communicate effectively and confidently with users, team members and management.

Must be flexible and willing to undertake a wide variety of challenging tasks.

Strong facilitation skills. Must be able to elicit requirements from various personalities across organizational and geographical boundaries.

Proven experience at driving consensus across multiple stakeholders.

Process driven analysis skills and a background in various requirements elicitation methods.

Proficiency with Agile SDLC processes

This business analyst job description is much better than the first one because it includes details and is specific about the tasks the business analyst will be performing.

How To Write A Good Business Analyst Job Description

For an employer to get the best business analysts applying to their position, they need to create job descriptions that allow business analysts to use their full range of unique skills, tools and techniques.

Writing better job descriptions is important because it assures the business analyst reviewing the job description that the organization has a good vision for their roles abd will put it to good use.

Business Analyst Job descriptions have to show an understanding of the value that BAs bring to the organization by briding the gap between business and Information Technology (IT).

Write business analyst job descriptions in a way that demonstrates you know how to put a good business analyst to work!

For example, a good business analyst should not be expected to run around just putting out fires wherever they flare up. Because a good business analyst would want to get to the root cause of the fire and create long lasting solutions that address the root causes.

A good business analyst doesn’t want to just “gather and document requirements”, he/she would rather “have expertise in a variety of requirements elicitation techniques such as interviews, focus groups, surveys, workshops etc, and choose the right technique for different elicitation situations.”

Your Business Analyst Career Development Plan

Browsing good business analyst job descriptions is a must because it shows you where the market is going and what skills are hot or not in-demand.

Don’t get so caught up in your current business analyst job that you miss the boat on new skills in the industry.

Browse or read good business analyst job descriptions that will help you create a career development plan that keeps you on the leading edge of the business analysis industry.

Once you figure out “what employers are hiring for“, evaluate how strong you are in skill sts that are hot in the marketplace.

The skill sets you are lacking will show you the areas to get additional training or coaching on.

Have you ever read a business analyst job description that was not very clear?

Do you have questions on the skills posted on job descriptions?

Post your comments or questions on the business analyst job descriptions you have been browsing on this page.

References




17 Discussions for “Deciphering the Business Analyst Job Description”

  1. NITIN

    Dear Team ,

    lve seven year experience in finacial products ( Stock Broking , MF , Insurance , IPO, etc ) and before that 2 year work in IT field .

    Course done C-Dac , PGDCA , MBA , PGDFS And all certifications of Exchange ( NSE , BSE , AMFI , CURRENCY )

    Right now lm looking to Business Analyst Profile in IT Sector .

    Or suggest me What opportunities are there for me in IT sector as a Finance domain expert ?.

    • If you want to work in the Information Technology (IT) Industry, you will need to have additional software development / web development background / experience besides the financial background / experience.

      Your current financial background / experience will help you as a financial business analyst, but not as an IT Business Analyst

  2. Vinay

    How to become a Business Analyst? I’m a fresher for this role. I’ve experience in Sales for around 2yrs.

    What are the key ingredients a person should have to become a business analyst?

    • The key ingredients you need to have to become a business analyst will include:

      Verbal Communication Skills
      You need to be skilled in all forms of verbal communication including presentation skills, meeting facilitation skills, negotiation skills, conflict resolution skills, etc.

      Written Communication Skills
      Report writing skills, technical writing skills, document writing skills, UML and Use Case documentation skills, etc.

      Requirement Analysis Skills
      Requirements elicitation skills, requirements documentation skills, requirements management skills, requirements validation skills, requirements analysis skills .

      Technical Skills
      Other technical skills besides UML and Use Case skills

  3. Mahesh

    I have 16 Years of experience as a medical representative,Marketing experience for about an Year and 3 years experience in sales force effectiveness dealing with data and analytics.

    In addition I have the experience of Functional support to a DW BI project- 8 months.

    What opportunities are there for me in IT sector as a pharma domain expert or a Business analyst?.

    • map transferable skillsets or experience to career opportunities in Pharma / IT Industry.

      Start by identifying the careers that map to your 20+ years of skills and experience as a medical representative. For example, identify where you spend your time (Customer Support, Sales and Marketing, Analytics, data.) and then identify similar roles that you can transfer your skills into in Information Technology (IT) or Pharma.

      You may come up with an analysis that suggests that a lot of your skills can be transfered to similar jobs in IT (Data Analytics, Business Intelligence, etc.) but not necessarily Pharma or some other industry.

      The goal is to find new roles or responsibilities in the new industry (pharma, IT, etc.) similar to the roles that you have been performing or doing

  4. Tatenda

    hello ,

    lve done comptia A+,Network + and Server + and lm about to start a bach in business administration degree.

    right now lm stuck and lm not realy sure whats the next step in doing something related in IT whilst lm working and doing a degree.

    please help me?

    • Get an internship that provides hands-on experience. Then when you graduate, use the internship to bargain for a job.

      I would advice that you try internships in different industries (business analysis, network administration, etc.) that way you will be better informed as to the suitability of those careers.

      Don’t be one of those people who assume that they have to do what they studied in school or who assume that just because they studied something in school, they will enjoy doing it for the rest of their careers.

      Assume that the time you spend in school is an opportunity to investigate and experience different careers, find the career that you will really enjoy and then get a headstart in that career before graduating!

  5. Ram

    Your articles are so interesting and thanks for these informative articles.

    I have been a programmer/web developer and now changing to be a business analyst. So in my resume I thought to put “Business Analyst – Developer” as the title. Would this stand out and attract more places for interview? Or its not good to put my “Developer” as part of the title?

    • Why Software Developers Make Good Business Analysts:

      I would like to encourage you in your quest to transition to a business analyst career.

      Putting the title “Business Analyst – Developer” would not make you more attractive to hiring managers or make your resume stand out because hiring managers are usually either seeking to hire a business analyst or they are seeking to hire a software developer.

      However, if you want to transition to a business analyst career because you feel like that is a better career for you, then you may be in for some good news.

      IT Managers do need business analysts with a good understanding of the software development life cycle.

      I would say that you should use that as a your selling point over someone who doesn’t have first hand knowledge of the software development process … on the other hand, just changing the title of your resume is not enough to get you a job. You have to do much more than that!

  6. It’s the classic “chicken-and-egg” which came first question.

    It actually solvable.

    Here is an example of one good way to solve it:
    http://www.it-career-coach.net/2009/07/21/become-a-leader-and-get-the-job-you-want/

    Please read the article and let me know what you think about the approach.

    Please review the comments on the page and leave or post yours as well.

    Also, I will be releasing a SWOT Training module that addresses the same situation using SWOT Analysis.

  7. Yes, I couldn’t agree more, Kingsley.

    Those are the 2 points I listed under weaknesses section. I have now tackled point 1 and I am awaiting/observing the outcome before I make further amendments. As for point 2, how best do I get more BA experience?

    I read the article entitled “How Important Is Domain Knowledge For A Business Analyst?” and I am sure I fit into the Specialist BA (for SCM, ERP and CRM). However, like the article pointed out, potential employers look at BA who can give them immediate results. How can I then work my way to get my foot in?

    It seems like a chicken-and-egg cycle….

  8. No, I have seen this happen before and it’s certainly not restricted to the Australian Business Analyst job Market.

    You are quite right in youe analysis. Yes, you are probably not being short listed into any category and the reason is that your Resume doesn’t match that the profile of a BA for the job in question.

    As this has happened more than once, it means that your resume is not stacking up again that of other BA’s (the competition).

    Taking the analysis further, you have to ask yourself why:

    1. Is a cosmetic problem that just requires a resume re-write
    2. Is it a deeper problem that may only be solved my getting more hands-on BA experience?

    So, these are possible weaknesses;

    1. weak resume
    2. insufficient hands-on BA experience

    So, was my answer helpful?

    Thanks

  9. Kingsley, I have some questions for you.

    As I was doing the SWOT analysis as you suggested, I have no problem adding points to Strengths and Opportunities. But I realized that I don’t really know what my weaknesses and threats are because each time my application is unsuccessful, I am not able to get any answers/feedback as to why I am not suitable other than “my background does not match the client’s requirements”.

    This means that when they process the applications, I usually don’t get into the “probably” or “short-listed” category. The only weakness that I could think of is that I have never had any title/designation as a BA but as software engineer, analyst programmer, support analyst. However, in reality at work, I do play the hat of a BA, in fact, this happens most of the time.

    I have been spending time researching what a BA’s CV should be and at the moment, I am not sure if I’ve nailed it. I also wonder if this is an Australian thing or it is common everywhere else.

    Do you have some pointers for me in regards to this?

    Thanks in advanced.

  10. Ivin says Thanks for the advice, Kingsley. I will definitely give this a try.

    I have just repackaged my CV last night to emphasize my success as a BA than a developer. I have more than 5 years of solid technical experience in Oracle but I want to progress to business and functional area more than technical.

    Will let you know how I go ;)

    Thanks again!

  11. reply Ivin: I appreciate your feedback and I’m glad to know that you find this article helpful.

    I would be glad to help you achieve your career goals.

    1. I recommend that you start with a SWOT Analysis. I will be releasing the full SWOT Analysis Training in a short time but we can do an impromptu one for you. For the SWOT Analysis, your Objective is “Transitioning into a Full-Time Business Analysis Role’

    2. List all your known strengths and weaknesses based on the feedback you’ve been getting from Interviewers.

    3. Identify all the BA opportunities that you’re pursuing or hope to pursue as well as the threats to your success

    4. Prepare a strategic step-by-step plan that helps you achieve your objective.

    Regards

  12. Ivin says: Thank you for sharing such articles. I have been assuming BA roles and responsibilities for more than 5 years now but I seem to have trouble “marketing” myself to be spotted by head hunters.

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