Are database development, computer programming, data analysis or web development required skills for Business Analysts?
Perhaps you’ve seen, heard about or applied for jobs asking for a broad or seemingly impossible range of skill sets?
Like those job descriptions for business analysts requiring computer programming skills or those for PMP Certified Project Managers with 5 years of software development experience!
This post addresses “how to bridge the gap between business analyst skills and unfair job descriptions written-up by Information Technology (IT) departments”
Bridging The Gap Between Business And Information Technology (IT) Careers
I would like to know if Business analysts are expected to know more about programming.
I attended a job interview last week and the interviewer was hesitant to consider me for the post of business analyst (BA) as i have no coding experience.
Do i need to know about database design, structure etc for me to be a good BA?
All along in my previous projects the database design, architecture and technology were decided by the technical team and DBA’s and i come into the picture as BA only after everything has been finalized.
But i was a Junior (jr.) BA and now im applying for the position of senior BA and people point out my lack of coding experience.
“Here is the answer to the challenges created by business analyst job descriptions which are worded to include programming and database skills”!
Looking from the business analysts (job seekers) perspective, you may be tempted to say NO.
You may also argue that computer programming tasks should be left ONLY to software developer job descriptions.
Looking from the perspective of employers, recruiters or hiring managers, you may say YES because business analyst job descriptions are just a means to an end!
For employers or hiring managers, the end is always the same (the job that needs to be done) … and job descriptions are just a means to achieving that!
So, which of these two perspectives (the employers or the job seekers) is the right one?
The employer who only cares about getting work done and will use any job description to achieve that end or …
The business analyst who feels overwhelmed by requirements for computer programming skills on business analyst job descriptions?
To this question correctly, we need to understand the roots of the conflict! So, let’s take a look at the source of gaps between IT Job Descriptions and Business Analyst Careers.
Introducing The IT Business Analyst
The Information Technology (IT) Business Analyst Role Is Slowly Coming To Maturity
As the roles of the computer programmer, database developer and systems analyst matured, the “IT Business Analyst” role evolved to fill analysis and requirements tasks left out of software development roles.
The Accidental Business Analyst?
As software development teams improve their requirements management or software development processes, some computer programmers begin picking up the requirements gathering and analysis tasks left undone by their team members.
These Accidental Business Analysts are usually computer programmers or systems analysts with strong people, communication, business and requirements management skills who transition into or assume the role of the IT Business Analyst.
Some employers have not achieved a separation between “IT Business Analyst Roles” and “Computer Programmer Roles” in their minds.
For these employers, the distinctions between IT Business Analysts and Computer Programmers are a superficial play on words … hence the business analyst job description written-up to include computer programming languages!
So, back again to the question; “should a business analyst learn computer programming languages or acquire database development skills”?
Are You Looking For A Business Analyst Job?
If you’re not looking for a business analyst job then you don’t need to learn computer programming (except if your employer mandates it).
If you’re really that secure in your current business analyst job and know for a fact that you won’t be looking anytime soon … then you may argue that programming is not for business analysts 🙂
If you’re looking for a business analyst job and you want to go the extra mile for prospective employers, then go-ahead and learn some computer programming!
It’s really the attitude that matters because job descriptions are not intended to be perfect and in the employer’s eyes, they’re just a means to an end.
Put Yourself In The Employers Shoes for a moment and you will begin to see that it’s not personal. The employer only wants what’s best for the company and if they’re so inclined, you may help them by learning some computer programming!
Give Employers What They’re Asking For
I strongly believe that you should give employers what they want instead of wondering about the fairness or correctness of business analyst job descriptions!
Perhaps, you feel overwhelmed by the requirements for computer programming or database skills in business analyst job descriptions.
Or you feel that it’s unfair to expect business analysts to perform programming tasks
Get a clue, if you’re not the one hiring, then your feelings are irrelevant!
In today’s competitive job market, you will fare better by addressing the employers concerns because if you don’t, someone else … who is more hungry or desperate than you will!
Another business analyst who wants to provide the required programing services will get the job you need!
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