How do I move from my current career in the film industry to a new career in business analysis
Setting The Stage – List the Roles / Responsibilities of Business Analysts
In the film industry, the director pulls together the work of a producer, a scriptwriter, an actor, and other behind-the-scene workers to present a finished work of art.
As a business analyst, you take on the role of a director, in a sense, by being a liaison, or go-between, to bridge the gap between the business side and the IT side.
You work to discover what an organization needs on the business end, and then find a workable solution, often through software development.
When making a career change from the film industry to business analysis, the best place to start is to compile a list of what is expected of the new career position.
Begin to list every role, responsibility, duty and task performed by business analysts. This is an important step because it will set the stage for truly taking on the job and performing as a business analyst.
When you begin to list out what a business analyst does, by reading about the position and scouring want ads that contain a job description for a business analyst position; you will find that some companies expect certain skills which other companies do not.
The precise definition of what a business analyst does changes somewhat from organization to organization. But, there are some skills that are generally accepted as being needed across the board, for all business analysts.
Here’s a list to get you started:
- Verbal communication skills
- Written communication skills
- Meeting facilitator
- Ability to elicit (gather) requirements (find out the needs)
- Interview skills
- Negotiation skills
- Analysis skills
- Basic technical skills
- Use Case Diagrams knowledge and skills
- Unified Modeling Language (UML) knowledge and skills
- Problem solving skills
List Your Transferable Skills
Now, make a second list. This list should include all of the skills that you currently have which match up with those listed on your business analyst duties list.
Let’s say, for instance, that you have been writing the UML and Use Case Diagrams in your current role as a Software Engineer in the Film Industry.
This list of transferable skills would, then, include your UML and Use Case skills. Look carefully over all of your work history, and include every skill you have acquired throughout your working career.
Bridge the Gap In Skills
Look at both lists, and compare them side by side. As you begin to check off the skills you already have, you will begin to form your final list: Your skills gap list.
This is a list of all the skills that are missing which are listed as those required of a business analyst.
For example, you might find out that Requirements Elicitation or Meeting Facilitation is one of the required skills which you do not yet have.
This final list will serve as your plan, or your script; for discovering how, when, and where you will get these missing skills. Use it as your guide to becoming a business analyst.
Rehearse The Part of Being A Business Analyst Right Where You Are
Take on the role of a business analyst, right where you are. Move out into an area where you may be a bit uncomfortable at first, and get the valuable hands-on experience needed.
Do this while you still have the benefit of practicing the role of business analyst without the risk that goes hand in hand with quitting a job first.
Keep an eye out to look for opportunities within your current job where you can gain the missing skills by expanding your current roles and responsibilities.
This will take some initiative on your part. You will need to find the opportunities, and then step up and volunteer to do it.
Ask for more responsibilities which will give you the missing skills you need. For instance, volunteer to conduct a meeting, or take the steps to solve a real business problem within your department.
Make sure you practice your documentation and report writing skills as you go. The more you document, the more of a portfolio you will build for yourself, which will come in handy when interviewing for a business analyst job.
Expand your communication skills. You may be comfortable with how your individual department works, but you will need to look for opportunities where you can begin to develop your communication skills with the business side of the organization as well.
The more you understand both sides of an organization, the more valuable you will be as a business analyst.
The opportunities are there in almost every organization if you keep your eyes open to find them.
This kind of hands-on experience will cheer you on as you begin your job search process to progress into a business analyst career.
Now it’s showtime!
After you have gained some hands-on, real-work experience in being a business analyst, shine the spotlight on your skills by updating your resume’ to reflect what you can offer a hiring company in the role of business analyst.
Then, go out and apply for jobs that strike your interest.
Include a well-written, personalized cover letter with every resume’ you send out.
When you get called for an interview, be sure to bring with you a full portfolio of experience; which you have been documenting along the way.