I am writing this post to answer a question posted by a business analyst on “How To Become A Contract Business Analyst”.
If you have a question or challenge about your business analyst career, post it as comment at the end of this article and I will answer it for you as well 🙂
Here is the question on how to become a contract business analyst.
Having recently started in my first permanent position as a Business Analyst, I find the toughest challenge for me currently, is getting up to speed with the systems I have to analyse and develop (Risk Management and Finance Systems).
Now, 5 months later, I am thoroughly enjoying my BA role and tasks.
However, I am considering moving into a contracting position. The primary reason would be for the money.
My fear however is that I would be moving into a contracting position prematurely and having read some of the posts in this string above, it seems that BA contractors have to be highly skilled.
Perhaps I should firstly ensure that my general BA skills are a lot more refined before putting myself into a position where I am required to be a specialist …
The big question is, how does a hiring manager determine the skill level of a contract business analyst?
Is that determination based on the experience, number of years in the industry, certifications, educational qualifications, recommendations on LinkedIn or perhaps the quality of work the business analyst can perform?
How To Become A Contract Business Analyst
It may shock you to find out that contract business analysts can earn up to 50% more than full-time business analysts with the same skills, experience and training.
The specifics of how much more you can earn as a contract business analyst depends on the company that hires you and how good you are at negotiation.
Some companies pay at the bottom of the pay range for full-time business analyst careers while others are at the higher end of the pay range based on a business analyst salary survey.
However, even though contract business analysts are paid much more, they are required to be highly skilled, competent or expert business analysts at what they do!
That is fair, isn’t it, when you look at it from the Manager’s perspective.
The Hiring Manager who pays a contract business analyst’s salary has to pay an additional premium or bonus to a staffing or recruiting firm for hiring that additional skill level.
With this in mind, the total cost of hiring one contract business analyst may end up being up to two (2) times the salary paid for one full-time business analyst.
The manager who hires a contract business analysts has to have a good justification for paying those additional costs.
Business Analysis Skills
The contract business analyst has to be highly skilled at what they do.
If they are not that skilled, then they wouldn’t last long on a contracting gig, because hiring managers would not want to keep them on the project without getting a quick and immediate return on their investment.
And really the surest way to justify the skill level and salary of a contract business analyst is by producing a high quality and amount of work every time.
In other words, contract business analysts have to wow clients by solving business problems quickly and by demonstrating strong competency at routine business analysis tasks like Use Case or Requirements Documentation.
Business Analysis Experience
The contract business analyst has to be highly experienced at what they do.
This does not necessarily mean that a contract business analyst must have 10 years of experience or anything like that, but that when it comes to specific skills like Use Case Documentation or Requirements Elicitation, the contract business analyst is expected to have a breadth of experience that can only be gained by exercising those skills in several business situations in the past.
In other words, clients don’t want their contract business analysts to use them for learning since they are expected to be experts or highly skilled professionals!
Hiring managers think that they have already paid for a high expertise level so they want to start reaping dividends, the moment you work in through their door as a contract business analyst.
Business Analysis Education
The contract business analyst has to be highly informed, trained or educated in business analysis because managers don’t expect to find gaps in the knowledge areas of their contract business analysts.
Gaps may be tolerated in their full-time business analyst employees but not in contract business analyst jobs.
So, you need to be at the top of your game and that includes having the requisite knowledge to get your job done quickly, excellently and without any issues.
In the end, only you can tell you whether you can make the jump to becoming a contract business analyst.
The rewards to being a contract business analyst can be really good.
You get paid a lot more ($45 to $55/hr. or even more) and you get to work on a lot of fast-paced projects where your leadership skills can be fully utilized.
However, you will also have to be highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced to succeed as a contract business analyst.
And you must be able to perform, produce results quickly or prove to everyone that you are worth your hire!
Finally, note that becoming a contract business analyst does not depend on how many years of business analysis experience you have but on how sharp your skills are!
If you have any question or challenge facing your business analysis career, go ahead and post it as a comment at the end of this article and I will address it for you.