Many people enter the position of business analyst in a variety of different ways. Some people finish their degree at an institution of higher learning and immediately assume a position as a junior analyst for a large corporation. Others will have a few years of work experience in a related field before entering the business analyst profession.
A career as a business analyst is the result of years of focused and well-calculated efforts which lead you in the direction you intend to go. Once you are employed as a business analyst, career growth will depend upon the experience you have acquired as well as your specific interests in future areas.
Unlike other company positions which are well defined, a business analyst position can involve a diverse skillset which originates from a college education and then a collection of professional experience which unites administrative and communication skills with IT or other specified area. Business analysts who are highly successful often blaze trails for future aspiring business analysts with versatile experience in a wide variety of business areas combined with exceptional communication skills, organization and facilitation experience, and the ability to be a team player. In other words, a successful business analyst often possesses a comprehensive set of experiences and often wears many different hats which serve an organization in a variety of ways.
Typical Role of a Business Analyst
Since the role of a business analyst is never well defined, we can provide you with a general idea of some of the tasks involved with being a business analyst and the typical career path a business analyst may follow.
- Business Operations Analysis: A business analyst will review current business processes to help the company identify improvements and new opportunities. This requires prior experience working in specific areas of business operations and previous work in the IT industry. This experience coupled with analytic skills allows a business analyst to effectively design business systems that work or IT systems which appropriately serve company goals and objectives.
- Business Interactions: Effective communication skills are imperative for a business analyst since they often interact with key company stakeholders. This helps to accurately identify issues and recommend appropriate directions for the company to pursue in specific areas which warrant improvement.
- Organizational Analysis: A successful business analysis must have exceptional organizational skills for collecting documentation. They also have a keen eye for opportunity and improvement in business when reviewing the documentation
- Problem Solving: The business analysis constantly uses problem skills to identify key business issues. They then use this information to design an appropriate business or IT solution depending upon the nature of the problem.
- Implementation and Testing: A business analyst will often use the skills learned in their IT education to work with system architects and developers to oversee the proper implementation of a system infrastructure. They may then work with this team to test and troubleshoot the system to determine if alternative solutions need to be addressed.
Keep in mind that the above attributes of a business analyst are just to provide you with a general idea of what a business analyst does. These will vary according to the company where you are employed as well as your specific area of expertise and level of experience.
Career Path for a Business Analyst
Depending upon how the particular position(s) in which you work are defined, your qualification for a business analyst position may place you at different levels. Some business analyst roles require specific technical qualifications and systems knowledge. This type of position may take you on the path to a higher level senior position within a company.
Other business analyst roles may require professionals which hold a comprehensive set of experiences in the business area. Additional business analyst roles may place an emphasis on facilitation skills which allow you to move along multiple business fields.
Once you have acquired experience in your area of strength, you can choose the next step in your career by moving into roles which place an emphasis on your specific attributes. This might be a role such as senior business analyst, product manager, corporate trainer or consultant, and other upper level roles. After about ten years of experience at this level, you will be prepared to take on a senior level role such as Chief Technology Officer or other roles in which your expertise is well suited.
To make certain you follow your best career path to becoming a business analyst, you must have knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses in addition to specializing in a specific business area. Assessing yourself in advance will ensure you will choose the best career path which is right for you individual talents.