Hazel, a business analyst posted some excellent advice on what it means to be a business analyst and I wanted to shared her advice with you in this post
Hazel’s advice covers specializing as an IT Business Analyst vs. Non IT Business Analyst (Capital markets, Broadcasting, Mortgage, Marketing, etc.). It includes tips on how to develop professional presentation skills and it also goes to the heart of the matter in describing “what or who is a business analyst”!
Read Hazel’s advice below. It is succinct, relevant and powerful … here is the rest of it:
Business Analysts As Professional Problem Solvers
I started in 1975 in the Systems Department of a large financial institution as what was termed then a ‘Procedures Analyst‘.
I hold a BA in Political Science and several internal and external courses related to the IT business.
Because I took programming (COBOL) my job title was changed to Business Systems Analyst. I also jointed Toastmasters so that I could give more effective presentations.
In the last few years the term was changed to Business Analyst and a certification programme was developed for those working in a BA position.
Business analysis is a problem solving skill that is complemented with business experience in a particular discipline.
The skills can be transferred across industries, but the business experience is unique and this is what makes it difficult to get into the field as you must always start from the bottom to learn it.
A Business Analyst is really a professional problem solver. To problem solve you must be able analyze, make decisions, and to communicate the findings effectively.
In the IT world, if you are very good at problem solving and decision making you can advance to more IT senior positions such as project manager.
One of my colleagues advanced to become a senior VP. If you have a passion for problem solving, its best to focus on an internship where you will job shadow an experienced BA and gain some experience in a particular discipline (say capital markets, credit cards, mortgages).
Once you understanding the steps to problem solve, and the mission of the company you are working with, then you can apply your problem solving skills to help them solve their problems.
Because of the differences across industries, it is only after being assigned to a job that you will build the hands-on experience to be a competent BA.
The Title can be misleading when you want to apply for a position, so read the job description carefully. You are really applying for the position of a professional problem solver.
I worked full time then as an independent consultant in an IT Business analyst position but you casn be a NON-IT business analyst – working in broadcasting, stock exchange, etc. who works with the business managers only!