Before you can improve your business analyst career, you must answer some questions like; which direction should you go and what steps should you take to get there?
If these questions aren’t answered at the beginning of your career, you may wrongly focus on skills or competencies that will take you in the opposite direction of your goals!
To help answer these questions, I have provided you with some guidelines that will come in handy as you move forward in your business analyst career.
Are you concerned that you don’t have what it takes to succeed as a business analyst because you lack extensive paper qualifications, certifications or certain college degrees?
Well, you may be surprised to know that succeeding as a business analyst has as much to do with intrinsic factors like your personality as it has to do with the extrinsic formal qualifications you feel are lacking!
For example, if you have a passion for solving problems or you are the “go-to person” when there is an issue, you already have some of the intrinsic qualifications sought after in business analyst professionals.
You have heard that hindsight is 20-20 but what you will also learn in this article is that insight can be equally as effective because it helps you see the impact of changes before they are implemented.
Face it; as a business analyst, you have experienced changes in software features, systems or business procedures that created confusion or hindered your ability to do your job.
Therefore, you understand the anxiety or frustration of users whose job duties will be impacted by major changes in their systems, right?
The short, cut and dried answer is that both the systems analyst and the business analyst work on gathering, documenting, validating, managing requirements but the Business Analyst is more likely to do this with the objective of meeting business requirements while the Systems Analyst will is focused on analyzing, documenting or managing how the Information Technology (IT) software / hardware systems will be designed to meet functional / system requirements.
In a real-world project, the business analyst is more likely to be in charge of documenting the Business Use Case while the systems analyst will be responsible for documenting the Systems Use Case.
As humans we all process information through filters and one of those filters is your current job title / background!
Though your job title may work well for you right now, the moment you try and take on a different role, job title / background / responsibility, you end up running into a brick wall! … it is like people fold their hands and adopt a challenging, prove-it-to-me attitude!
So, in today’s post, I will answer a question submitted by (Jan) who has worked 15+ years for one of the largest IT Corporations “but still feels boxed-in / walled-in” by his current job title!
Now is a good time to “consider a more flexible career” because all the changes taking place in the marketplace are fundamentally transforming the way we work as well as the opportunities available to us!
This is great news for anyone interested in a more flexible career or employment including options to work from home, consult for companies or retire or travel while earning an income!
Have you ever contacted a company by phone and before ending the call, the representative asked if you wouldn’t mind taking a survey at the end of the
Or, in a restaurant, noticed a box near the register with feedback cards saying … “Tell Us How We Are Doing“?
The purpose of these surveys or feedback cards is to give you (the customer), the power to influence or change how an organization does business!
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again“, is a saying that generally works. However, if you want to increase your chances of entering the business analysis field, you will need more than “trial and error” to get a job interview!
You will need to have in hand, a resumé that shows how you qualify as a business analyst, even though your past positions were not specifically in business analysis.
This question about the value of networking in one’s career was submitted by Reba from (Olympia, Washington). Here is Reba’s question:
I have a strong interest in entering the business analyst field as a career path, however, it is very difficult to access this field as a state government worker.
Many individuals have entered this field by knowing someone or networking.
They do not always know what their job duties are and do not deliver a good product to the customer, so to ensure I do not go down that path, I would like to make sure I receive training, exposure to the business analyst field to include hands on experience.
Stephen Covey advises us to put “First Things First”
But, when it comes to our careers or jobs figuring that out or prioritizing the most important things proves to be a surprising challenge for many IT Workers!
For example, while some believe that certifications are required for getting a job, others put more value on hands-on skills and experience!
So, the question is, which comes first in your career, “your hands-on skills & experience” or “your certifications”?
[Ask IT Career Coach] is a Career Advice Newsletter for Information Technology (IT) professionals including business analysts, computer programmers, data analysts, database developers, technical writers, project managers and software testers.
If you, have a challenging question about your career, submit it here and we will answer yours just as we are answering this question submitted by a technical writer titled: What Software Do I Learn to Become A Business Analyst? …
How do I learn or get the software knowledge that would make me a business analyst?
The Process For Changing your Career Path Starts With Your Current Employer
Here is a real-world example of how to do just that.
The current challenge facing me is how to find the right process for re-orienting my career from Web Producer to an introductory Junior position as Business Analyst.
I don’t hold any qualification in Business neither as Business Analyst but I am fully dedicated to becoming one.
I have just started reading books and doing research about this position and the responsibilities it entails.
Why Do We Need Better Requirements?
The following article is a frank, open and surprising discourse on why we need better requirements.
According to Standish or Gartner reports and other case studies, nearly “two-thirds of all IT projects fail” because of poor requirements and other causes.
Why Do Projects Fail?
Consider that a project fails when it overruns the budgeted allocation of resources, time or money or fails to deliver the intended business requirements or value.
Some teams are so deep into this, that throwing more money, people or extending the shipping date is their default solution to scope creep, budget overruns or project failure!
Is Requirements Management Helpful?
If you work in an office where requirements management is a low priority, an afterthought or a process imposed by senior management, you may begin to lose sight of the value that requirements management offers.
In between chasing down your stakeholders for interviews, wrestling with your use cases or managing conflict and corporate politics, you may decide to abort what sometimes seems like meaningless meetings or endless paperwork.
What you may not know is that the reason you’re chasing down stakeholders or having so much trouble gathering requirements is that you don’t have an effective Requirements Management framework in place.
The good news is that the economy is adding on jobs because it is the time of year when budgets have been approved and employers traditionally post more jobs and because the economy is also beginning to recover.
This is as good a time as any to dust off your resume, polish your act and start the career you have always wanted.
This article tells you how to do that … get back into the job market and start the business analyst career you’ve always wanted!
The Business Analysts Role In Bringing Data Warehousing To Your Office
Today’s business executives spend a ton of cash on data warehouse projects because that is a big, key, strategic business initiative; the success of which weighs heavily on their minds.
Data warehousing is important because it saves or aggregates information in a manner that allows executives, management or office users to make strategic business decisions faster, better and more easily!
No More Silos In The Workplace
Data warehousing is critical to business success because it presents a way for executives or management to view or manage their corporation as a whole unit instead of in silos.
The Agile Business Analyst plays a key role in facilitating conversations between stakeholders, quality assurance / testing teams, customers, subject matter experts (SMEs) and software developers in an incremental, iterative fast-paced product development environment.
So, who is the Agile Business Analyst and why should business analysts who are already comfortable with the process of eliciting requirements in a traditional product development environment be concerned about becoming more agile?
Introducing The Agile Business Analyst Role
The Agile Business Analyst’s role includes facilitating communication, reducing the reliance on extensive documentation and reducing the length of the feedback loop in product development projects.
The Six Sigma career path intersects or shares a number of tools, processes, goals and techniques with the business analyst career path.
So, in this post I would like to introduce you to the … Six Sigma Business Analyst.
Ask IT Career Coach
This post answers the question submitted by a business analyst who is enrolled at the business analyst boot camp.
If you have a question or challenge, be sure to send it using: Ask IT Career Coach and we will answer it for you, just as we are answering the question below!
I have been talking to a number of software developers, interested in changing roles to business analysis. If you are one of those software developers, then this post is written to show you how to switch careers from software development 🙂
There seems to be some bias against switching roles to business analysis from software development. It’s a subtle form of discrimination from folks who stereotype all software developers as nerds with poor presentation and communication skills!
But is that really true? Are you poorly suited for a business analysis role just because you’re a software developer?
On the contrary, software developers can make good business analysts and I will dedicate the rest of this post to debunking this myth … just as I have done with several urban legends on this blog 🙂
I’ve taken dozens of IT job interviews with various IT departments ranging from small IT shops to Fortune 500 IT departments to non-profits to consulting firms to staffing or recruitment agencies!
I’ve been interviewed and hired for both management and non-management IT positions. I’ve personally interviewed, hired and also coached IT Professionals who’ve gone on to wow their interviewers or ace the IT positions they wanted.
I’ve been in several situations where to get the next consulting assignment, I interviewed with several firms and also received multiple, competing job offers!
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”
Develop Your Personal Brand And Become a Leader
This course teaches you how to develop and use your competitive advantages in the workplace, job market and industry using the PULL method.
You will learn how to become a leader in your industry by developing and taking advantage of your personal brand using PULL techniques.
By the end of this course, you will have learnt how to select the best leadership projects for your industry based on your background, skills, education, training, job history and interests.
Become a Leader And Get The Job You Want!
Getting a job by sending out resumes to employers is known as the push method because it depends on you pushing the employer to hire you!
The problem with the traditional method of getting a job is that everyone who is out-of-a-job is probably doing the same thing … pushing their resumes to hiring managers or employers!
Getting hired in a competitive job market doesn’t mean … “do what other job applicants are doing” … it means “do more than your competition!“
Is a business analyst with domain knowledge more valuable than a business analyst without domain knowledge?
By looking at how business analyst job descriptions are written, you may be tempted to say yes!
Business Analyst job descriptions are written as if there is a distinction between IT oriented business analysts with skills in UML, Use Cases, Requirements Elicitation, Requirements Modeling and domain oriented business analysts with knowledge in specific domains like sales, marketing, customer relationship management, insurance, finance!
This question was posted by a reader who needs advice on “what to do about making wrong career choices”.
If you need help with a Question or Challenge, be sure to ask it as a comment on this page and I will answer it fully just as I am answering this reader’s question below!
You’ve got a college degree, a good looking resume and an impressive listing of Information Technology (IT) skills but can’t seem to find an IT job.
Finding a Job doesn’t have to be a traumatic, nerve racking or frustrating experience filled with rejection, fear and pain!
Just follow this article series to find out what’s wrong or get back in control of YOUR job search.
One of the toughest challenges facing business analysts today is building the domain experience required for business analyst jobs.
Acquiring business analyst domain experience from scratch is hard because you need to get a job before you can build domain expertise … yet no-one will give you a job without that required domain experience!
This post however discusses how to get around the business analyst domain experience required for business analysis jobs.
This question was posted by a Healthcare Business Analyst looking for work!
If you have a Burning Question or a Challenge that you need help with, be sure to ask your question as a comment on this page and I will answer it fully just as I am answering the question below!
If you find this article helpful then share it with your friends using the “Share This Post” Link.
You provide valuable information or advice to others each time you use the Share This Post Link.
This question was posted by a Business Analyst in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.
If you have a Burning Question or a Challenge that you need help with, be sure to ask your question as a comment on this page and I will answer it fully just as I am answering the question below!
Here is the Question:
Use Cases skills are in-demand for documenting or communicating the functional requirements of a system
Use Cases skills are employed in product design roles, software development or architecture roles and are among the most sought-after skills for business analyst jobs
Why Use Cases Training for Business Analysts?
Here are some of benefits of Use Case training for business analysts:
Use Cases are effective for documenting the business processes, requirements (business or system), features and functionality of a system. So Use Cases skills are needed at the problem analysis or requirements gathering phase, software design or development phase or testing phase
Do you wish to know how to succeed at business analyst job interviews? Here is the secret.
Business analyst interviews are designed to evaluate two things:
- Your business analyst skills
- Your business analyst experience
How Sharp Are Your Business Analyst Skills?
At your business analyst interview, you are evaluated based on the correctness, promptness or comprehensiveness of your answers.
Give the correct answers
Your answers are evaluated based on how precise or correct they are.
Even when the business analyst interview questions are open ended, your answers are still evaluated as correct or incorrect.
I discovered the power of practice tests in 1999 after I aced a job interview test with a score in the mid-nineties and got hired fast!
Over the next few months, I mastered how to boost my skills rapidly using the technique that I will share with you in the rest of this article.
Research has shown that practice tests or quizzes improve your retention, recall or understanding.
Research that studies how people learn skills effectively also demonstrates that students who study and take quizzes have better long-term recall than their colleagues who study without taking quizzes.
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).
You can find out “what employers look for in a job candidate” by browsing business analyst job descriptions.
However, you will notice that some business analyst job descriptions are poorly written!
A weak business analyst job description does not provide enough information for you to compare your skill set against the requirements posted on the job posting.
A Well Written Business Analyst Job Description Is An Effective Hiring Tool!
Here is an example of a weak or ineffective business analyst job description:
What should you do when you decide you want to become an IT Business Analyst?
You may have been a software developer, data analyst or even someone who has never worked in the Information Technology industry at all.
Perhaps you have an MBA or other business degree, but you have an interest in technology and you think IT Business Analysis is something you’d like to try your hand at.
It is common knowledge that the biggest reason for IT project failure is poor requirements. If the requirements that the developers are working from are wrong, incomplete or otherwise inadequate, that project is doomed to join the 70% of IT projects that fail every year.
So why not simply gather good (SMART) requirements? Ask any business analyst and they will tell you that the biggest problem they face is getting users to tell them what they really want out of a new system or process. Why? The reasons are varied. Sometimes it appears that users simply won’t communicate what they really want. Sometimes it appears that the business analyst is asking all the wrong questions. Sometimes it appears that the users change their minds all the time.
When gathering or analyzing requirements, it is just as important to focus on the process that you are using to develop your requirements as it is to focus on the requirements themselves.
If you have a poor requirements elicitation or management process, you risk not understanding the business problem you are trying to solve or turning out a poor product.
The cost of Information Technology (IT) project failures has become so high that one can no longer ignore the fact that business analysts need to invest a good amount of time into understanding what they intend to build.
How you value knowledge tells me a lot about who you are … because knowledge capital is the most important resource in any organization.
In the digital age, what makes one employee more valuable than the next employee is simply stated … the amount of knowledge, skill, expertise, training and learning they have managed to acquire and put to use.
Now, managers are not interested in employees that know it all … only in employees that constantly put their knowledge capital to work by solving corporate problems or challenges … those employees are the gold mines in any organization.
Looking for a new business analyst job can be intimidating whether you are a seasoned business analyst looking for a challenging business analyst position or you are applying for entry-level business analyst positions.
If you do not handle your business analyst job search correctly, you may be passed over for positions that you are really qualified for or your resume may never get to the desk of the hiring managers or you may get discouraged by the lack of interest in your resume from potential employers.
What is the fastest way to learn a technical, business skill or life skill?
Is any of these the fastest way to learn a skill?
1. Articles, tutorials or books?
2. Video or CD based courses?
3. Audio or MP3 based courses?
My Career Makeover Secret
If you have been following my blog, you probably know by now that I was educated as a chemical engineer.
However, I changed my career to information technology after I graduated and started work.