A Business Analyst is one who studies and analyzes real or hypothetical organizations to design its processes and systems. The Business Analyst assesses the business model and its integration with technology. Restructuring failing or non-profitable systems or organizations is also an invaluable contribution of Business Analysts in corporate. A BA’s job is demanding, but also one of the most highly paid in the business world.
This article lays down the ground work for becoming a Business Analyst in 5 steps.
Step 1: Get to Know the Subject and Decide on Your Choice
Building your knowledge about what Business Analysis involves is the first step in making your career choice. There are a lot of resources available which you can use to get this knowledge. A few suggested books are:
- The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge – This book is a bit cumbersome and is really meant as a guide for working Business Analysts
- The Software Requirements Memory Jogger by Ellen Gottesdiener
- The Step-by-step BA Career Planning Course by Laura Brandenburg – Its downloadable for free from the net
- The Business Analyst Career Road Map
Don’t overdo the learning bit. Gather just enough knowledge to make a career decision. Don’t overburden yourself with the nitty-gritty’s, you can do it after making and confirming your choice.
Step 2: Transferable Skills and Leveraging
The switch over to a Business Analyst is mostly a mid-career decision. As a non-BA professional you would have applied many Business Analysis Techniques already. These skills can be easily carried forward, or transferred, to your BA profession. Many non-BA professionals skip past the initial jobs of a BA and move on to the bigger jobs. Your experience as a non-BA could be used effectively to leverage yourself into the realm of Business Analysis. If you have excellent communication skills or specific domain knowledge, hiring managers are looking out for you.
Step 3: Get Feedback
After identifying your skills and are confident about your career choice, get some tangible feedback. You can speak to your manager about your goals and take on more responsibilities involving your specific skill set in order to improve or practice your BA techniques. You could also circulate your resume and apply for a few BA jobs to get the experience and the feel. This exercise is purely to get a feedback on your abilities and suitability in the field of Business Analysis. You will gain valuable insights about your marketable skills and identifies your strengths and weaknesses to work upon.
Step 4: Think BA and Consolidate
By this time, you would have carried out a solid self-analysis of your skills and strengths. Your feedback could have indicated a few short-comings on which you need to work on. Draw up a development plan. Take on BA tasks on the job or volunteer for them. One BA task has the tendency to lead to another, consolidating and strengthening your experience and creating ever-expanding opportunities.
Take up training courses in Business Analysis if possible.
The BA mindset will help you achieve your target of becoming a full-blown Business Analyst, step-by-sure-step.
Step 5: Become a BA
All your efforts of carrying out tasks related to Business Analysis within your organization can pay off in either elevating you to a Business Analyst in your firm, or even creating a position for you. Though this is possible, the reality is that you have built up an excellent resume for BA over time. This will help you in applying for an independent Business Analyst’s position outside your organization.
A Note on Certifications
Now that you have launched yourself as a Business Analyst (or even before your BA status), it is recommended that you get certified to give you that edge in the highly competitive world of Business Analysis. This holds true for all types of BAs – whether from industries with specific domain knowledge, college freshers, people who have cross-migrated across industries or even MBAs).
Some suggested Certification courses are –
- The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) certification exam
- Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®) exam
- Certification of Competency in Business AnalysisTM (CCBA®)