Identifying your transferable skills is the first step towards successfully transitioning, changing or starting a new business analysis career.
Though this article is written for those starting a business analysis career after having worked as a computer programmer, the principles presented here are helpful to anyone interested in starting any new career.
The first step in starting a new career is building self-confidence by recognizing that the career you are transitioning to has some relationship or similarity to the jobs you have performed in the past.
It is important to take this first step of identifying your transferable skills because it instills self-confidence, reduces anxiety and helps you bridge the gap to a new career.
We like what we are familiar with and we feel more tense, anxious or uncertain about unfamiliar or new environments because we are not sure that we can cope or succeed in them.
So, taking this first step of identifying your transferable skills will do wonders for your self-confidence and career success.
Identify Your Transferable Skills
Did you realize that the skills you develop as a computer programmer go beyond purely coding skills?
As a computer programmer, you perform a number of tasks or roles at different points in your career which will assist you in starting a new business analysis career.
Start by making an inventory of your current skills and then identify those that will assist you in bridging the gap between your computer programming and business analyst career.
Some of these transferable skills may include:
- Requirements gathering
- Requirements documentation
- Technical writing
- Oral and written communication
- Critical thinking and analytical skills
Here are additional pointers to the role of transferable skills in starting a new business analysis career.
Transition your Leadership Skills
The typical software developer is a heads-down coder who focuses on specific tasks and does not think in terms of the big picture or pay attention to it (not a big picture thinker).
However, if you have been a technical or team lead, then you are comfortable with thinking and working on the big picture and at the same time, managing all the smaller details that accompany developing software such as:
- Estimating, planning or assigning tasks with project managers
- Gathering or validating requirements for the developers with business analysts
- Planning iterations, releases or builds with release managers
- Hiring new team members with IT Management
- Validating high-level business cases, user stories, vision and scope documents with the business team (directors, senior management, power users, customers and business analysts).
In this leadership and big-picture role, you would have learned how to delegate tasks, solve human problems as opposed to purely coding issues and worked with all sorts of professionals: customers, IT / project managers, business team etc.
This ability to work with, relate or communicate with different types of corporate users is a skill that you will transfer to your new business analysis career.
Transition your Technical Writing Skills
Technical writing is a skill that is frequently practiced or exercised by senior software developers and technical or team leads.
This is because from time to time you are asked to write software manuals, create help files or document the internal workings of software systems with Use Cases or UML.
Even in companies where there is a full-time technical writer, you may be asked to assist with documenting the procedures, business processes, architecture or business requirements because the technical writers cannot keep up with the volume of work!
So, you have probably practiced or exercised written communication skills which are transferable to your new career in business analysis!
Transition your Software Requirements Gathering Skills
Many developers have had to gather, analyze, validate and document software requirements at some time in their careers because their team lacked enough dedicated business analysis resources.
In this role, you would have had to identify the critical stakeholders or customers, elicit and analyze their requirements, document and validate the requirements with your software development or management team.
In this role you would also have practiced critical thinking and analytical skills, developed or managed professional relationships and exercised vital oral communication and networking skills.
Here is the main takeaway from this post for you
- Take an inventory of your skills
- Identify your transferable skills
- Bridge the gap to your business analyst career using your transferable skills
This post discusses how to start a new business analyst career. Follow the steps outline in this post to instill self-confidence in your abilities or bridge the gap between your current occupation and your desired career in business analysis.