Are Developers Qualified to Gather Business Requirements?

Ask A Business Analyst - Career Coaching Question
Ask A Business Analyst - Career Coaching Question

The Business Analyst Career Coaching service answers challenging questions about business analyst careers. Click here to submit your own question.

Here Is A Business Analyst’s Coaching Question …

I here this every day. If you don’t have recent experience as a developer you are not qualified to gather the detailed business requirements.

How can I prove that I can do this without an opportunity to show my work?


Business analysts come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have a vast knowledge of intricate software coding and developing. Others have more of an overall understanding of how software and an IT departments function.

Just because a person has experience as a software developer does not mean they will automatically make a good business analyst. Even a business systems analyst or IT business analyst needs to demonstrate the ability to gather requirements and successfully undertake other aspects of the business analyst’s job duties.

Having the skills of a software developer does not magically turn you into a qualified business analyst. True, a business analyst generally works with the developers with an IT department closely in solving business problems.

So, a background as a developer helps create a particular perspective of insight. However, learning how to communicate what needs to be done with an IT developer and knowing the intricate coding necessary are two separate skills.

Regardless of the amount of IT background, the Business Analyst is needed to exhibit leadership ability to take charge of and facilitate the requirements phase of a project.

Demonstrating that you can do the job of a business analyst will require gaining experience and skills of a business analyst. In addition to at least an overall understanding of technical skills, these include:

  1. -Being a self-starter

  2. -Preparing business requirements

  3. -Working with use cases

  4. -Business process modeling or data modeling skills

  5. -Analytical skills

  6. -Ability to problem solve

  7. -Critical thinking skills

  8. -Ability to meet deadlines and balance priorities

  9. -Ability to multi task

  10. -Ability to work well with multiple stakeholders (both inside and outside the company)

  11. -Excellent communication skills (including the ability to make a presentation to a variety of audiences, including those from within the IT department)

There are steps you can take to gain the experience you need to build an impressive resume and begin a career as a business analyst. Begin by writing down any experience you already have. Then, continue to use your documentation skills as you gain more experience along the way.

Gain Hands-On Business Analyst Experience

The place to start to prove that you have the ability to tackle the requirements phase is to first learn what is expected in this process.

Dive in and read as much as you can about writing requirements. Then, sign up for an online course like that found at the Business Analyst Boot Camp.

These courses allow you the flexibility to remain on your current job while gaining the necessary hands-on experience you need to further your business analyst career.

Succeed As A Business Analyst At your Current Job

Find a problem within the company where you currently work. Then, walk through the steps as if you are the business analyst serving as a liaison to solve a problem.

Use this opportunity to practice skills used by a business analyst and to gain the necessary hands-on experience you will need to prove to a hiring manager you can do the job. Remember that no experience you gain now will be wasted.

Gain Practice and Experience in Working with Requirements

While, there is much more detail involved and often repeating or reworking individual steps, the requirements phase of a project includes these three stages:

  • -Gathering requirements

  • -Analyzing requirements

  • -User acceptance testing

Gaining Requirements Analysis Experience

Gathering requirements is also called the Elicitation Phase. This requires skills in communications and conducting meetings where you will ask questions to discover where the problems lie so you can determine an appropriate solution.

Be sure to include the IT department in these meetings so you can demonstrate the ability to work effectively with developers.

This phase requires not only excellent verbal communication skills, but incredible written communication skills as well.

Written communications are necessary in documenting what takes place in a meeting as well as what steps need to be accomplished or what tasks can be checked off of a list.

Document Everything

These documentation skills will also serve well to provide proof that you have experience in gathering requirements.

This will become your ready-made business analyst portfolio which you can use to get your foot in the door to become a business analyst.

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