Can Non-IT Business Analysts Find BA Jobs?

Is there opportunity for someone to become a Business Analyst if not from an IT background?

I manage a Contact Centre so am using call centre software however have an Arts degree.

I am however very customer-focused and analytical so was wondering what course to take and opportunity there is within the BA industry for someone with my background?

Business Analysts come from a variety of backgrounds. Many have an in-depth knowledge of IT, while others have more of an overall understanding of how an IT department functions. Both require more experience than just an end-user hands-on use of one kind of software.

To complicate matters, not every company has the same requirements and expectations of the business analyst’s role. And, there are different kinds of business analysts.

Some companies see the role of a business analyst to be mostly business related, while others see it as purely a job within the IT department. Still other companies combine the two and expect the business analyst to incorporate a vast background of skills and knowledge into what is sometimes referred to as a business software analyst.

There are IT Business Analysts who work for IT or software related projects. Then, there are Domain Business Analysts who help solve business problems for a specific domain such as finance, education, telecommunications or healthcare.

While you don’t necessarily need to know complicated coding to do the job as a business analyst, you do need to have a solid overall grasp on technology and how the IT department works. Many find it helpful to have experience in software development, technical writing, quality assurance or project management.

What Does a Business Analyst Need to Know?

A business analyst serves as a liaison in pinpointing problems and offering solutions to business needs. This usually means bridging the gap between business and IT and includes solutions in the form of software which means working closely with an IT department. This is why IT experience is generally a requirement in becoming a business analyst.

It also includes skills such as:

-Excellent communication skills (including written and verbal)
-Interpersonal skills (what some call customer service)
-Knowledge and experience with requirements (conducting meetings, gathering/eliciting, analyzing, creating a BRD (Business Requirements Document) and following through with user testing)
-Knowledge of technology (such as J2EEE/.NET, or JS/HTML/ASP)
-Knowledge of SQL, data analysis, reporting, UML, Microsoft Office Automation and Visual Basic programming
-Technical knowledge (such as software development, technical writing, quality assurance or project management)
-Analytical skills (including analyzing the process and the system)
-A solid business understanding
-Problem solving skills
-Decision making skills

Benefits of Learning IT Business Analysis Skills

The benefit a business analyst with an extensive IT background has over the one that does not usually shows up in the technical aspect of understanding the coding that will go into the software to solve a problem.

An IT background is also beneficial for the business analyst to be able to fully understand how the department works and to be able to adequately communicate with those in IT.

Make Yourself Marketable

Not only will experience with IT help you conduct your job as a business analyst with ease, the more knowledge and experience you have will put you in a position to better market your skills.

Your knowledge and experience lays the foundation to making yourself marketable and desirable to a company looking to hire a business analyst.

The more you know about every aspect that goes into your work as a business analyst, the more desirable your skills be will to a hiring manager. And, the more successful you will be on the job.

Gain this experience through self-study, online courses that offer hands-on experience and through diving in to solve a problem in the company where you currently work.

You will find information about the current practices and expectations of a business analyst in the Business Analyst Body of Knowledge (BABOK) guide from The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) who offers information and certifications.

In addition to this, online training courses, such as that found at the Business Analyst Boot Camp offer hands-on training that will lay an excellent foundation toward pursuing a career as a business analyst.

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One Response to "Can Non-IT Business Analysts Find BA Jobs?"

  1. Calvin   March 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    I am a contact centre analyst and in my opinion you need either an IT background if you’re doing ‘systems analysis’ or a pure analytical background if you’re doing management analysis, ie, BA Econ, Math, Stats or Accounting/Finance. A BA in anything else will likely not hack it.


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