This post answers questions received from senior business analysts asking about how to carve out an upwardly mobile career path in their company or organization.
The answers in this post are presented as tips, solutions or ideas for business analysts looking towards a better career path.
If you have a question about your business analyst career, be sure to post it as a comment on this post and I will be glad to answer it for you.
Here are the tips for business analysts looking for a better career path:
Should Business Analysts Test Software Applications?
In my department, analysts are mainly used for testing applications.
I know that there is more to this than testing applications.
What skills sets would you suggest I gain in order to become a top notch analyst?"
Should Business Analysts Test Software Applications?
- While business analyst are not full-fledged software testers, some organizations do require business analysts to test their software applications, oversee the testing process or collaborate closely with the QA / Software Testing Team.
- When business analysts test software applications, they usually perform a form of testing known as Usability Testing, Functional or Acceptance Testing.
- Business Analysts are sometimes asked to test software applications because they are the custodians of the customer, project or software requirements and so as such, need to confirm that the product or solution meets documented requirements.
- However business analysts are sometimes asked to test solutions (and not just software components) because their company is short on QA staff and are merging both the QA / Software Testers duties into that of the business analysts!
- Note: there is a lot more to the art of software testing than usability, functional or acceptance testing. These other other forms of testing may require scripting or automated tools and are not usually required of business analysts.
What Is The Future For Senior Business Analysts?
The toughest challenge facing me is the transition from Senior Business Analyst to Lead Analyst.
The Future / Career Path for Senior Business Analysts:
There is a real career path for senior business analysts. This career path comes with new titles, additional duties / roles or recognition (formal / informal) depending on the organization.
To start with, there is no common way of showing the seniority or lead position of a lead business analyst
In some organizations, the lead business analyst is the most senior or experienced person on the team and not necessarily the most educated.
The position of the lead business analyst is sometimes given informally when a manager refers other business analysts to the lead and / or identifies the BA as such.
- If you are intent on being the lead business analyst, strive to distinguish yourself over a period of time by the quality of your work, the depth of your knowledge and expertise and your commitment to delivering excellent business results.
- Study the lead business analyst and start learning whatever it is they bring to the table that you presently don’t.
- In many organizations, the title of lead business analyst is earned over time because the lead business analyst has to have a strong understanding the business / organization. My advice is this: Be patient and hunker down for the long haul.
Remember the Kaizen principle, which is used to achieve an outstanding result by delivering smaller but consistent, qualitative improvements over a longer period of time.
- Start identifying the issues that your users have. Demonstrate to your manager that you have the analysis skills to take on the lead business analyst role.
- Increase your output when it comes to problem-solving on the project. Make yourself available and visible to users instead of shying away from contact with them.
- Get as much additional training as you can afford and channel all your efforts to becoming a better business analyst by learning everything that you can about business analysis.
If you gain new skills or demonstrate additional abilities on the job, you will position yourself for more responsibility … even that of the lead business analyst.
Finally, becoming a lead business analyst has a lot to do with demonstrating outstanding leadership skills.
It is not just what you know (knowledge alone is not enough for this role) but how well you can step out of your box to help your fellow business analysts, team or company.
Learn how to demonstrate exceptional leadership, communication. coaching and mentoring skills in addition to your traditional business analysis skills and you will stand out from other senior business analysts or your peers!
What Is The Career Path for IT Business Analysts?
I need help. My company is considering creating specialist areas for the Business Analyst in IT.
Is there a model or any existing categorization of Business Analyst role in IT?
I am only aware of roles like Senior/Junior Business Analyst.
The Roles / Models for IT Business Analysts:
There are several possible career paths for IT Business Analysts depending on the size of the organization or the diversity of tasks performed by your business analysts.
Assuming that your company has a legitimate need to start putting business analysts into silos, here are some options, categories or specialized roles:
Usability / UI / User Experience Business Analyst
Web Business Analyst
E-Commerce Business Analyst
Marketing Business Analyst
Business Process Analyst / Process Engineer
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Business Analyst
Use this list to elicit more careers centering on specialized functions performed by the business analysts on you team.
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