is changing careers from software developer to business analyst, right for me?

 

Question

I have worked for three years as a software developer, i have realized that i don’t enjoy this coding anymore and now want to move out of coding.

I have found the position of business analyst to be the most interesting and suitable option, where in i can use my software developer experience as well as use my excellent communication skills for this BA position.

Am i right in assuming so.

Any advice?

Answer Is changing careers from software developer to business analyst, right for me?

Business Analysts who work with Information Technology (IT) or software development projects are referred to as IT Business Analysts.

As a software developer, you are in a good position to become an IT Business Analyst because you have programming experience and you also have Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) experience, which makes you an IT team insider.

A software development background with excellent communication skills sets a good foundation for becoming an IT Business Analyst.

IT business analysts need a strong understanding of the SDLC process, and they have to be comfortable working with computer programmers.

In addition, they also need to have excellent communication skills.

IT Business Analysts Need Excellent Communication and Interpersonal Skills

When you think of great communicators you have known, or read about, what comes to mind? Being a good communicator involves far more than preparing notes for a speech and delivering them, or reading off of a teleprompter well.

Communication skills for business analysts will include written and verbal skill. Some underlying (soft skills) include leadership, conflict-resolution, meeting facilitation and negotiation skills.

A business analyst uses these soft skills like a software developer uses technical skills.

Verbal Communication skills are key IT Business Analyst skills.

You will be required to make presentations to large or small groups from various departments.

The fastest way to develop good verbal communication skills is by joining Toastmasters, which is a supportive organization where group members grow together while practicing presentation skills.

IT Business Analysts Need Listening Skills

An an IT Business Analyst, you ask qualifying questions to make sure that you heard what the person is really saying.

Before ending a conversation, make sure you listened and understood what was said, and didn’t just hear the sound of words being spoken.

IT Business Analysts Need Leadership Skills

The IT Business Analyst needs to assert himself in a likeable manner to gain control of the problem-solving process.

IT Business Analysts Need Conflict-resolution skills

When dealing with two or more people, conflict is inevitable but how you handle it can make or break a project.

Using basic customer relation skills is helpful. The basic skill of common courtesy and tact can put out a flame of anger and end many arguments.

IT Business Analysts Need Facilitation Skills

Before you can begin to problem solve, you first need to understand the problem and the possible solutions.

Remember that facilitating is not taking over as the boss. Rather, facilitating is pulling out information from those hesitant to talk and quieting down those who jeopardize the conversation by taking over conversations.

Facilitating meetings is an important part of gathering, or eliciting, requirements. As a facilitator, you will want to open up communication lines between every stakeholder.

IT Business Analysts Need Negotiation Skills

To negotiate well, you must first understand the key factors of an issue as to what is most important and what can be cut loose. So, you must know what / when to give and when to take.

As an IT Business Analyst, you have very little control over the actual final decision making that comes from the company’s management, but you do have the power to influence it. Do this through using good negotiating skills.

IT Business Analysts Need Written Communication Skills

Documentation is an important part of being a Business Analyst. Being able to write clearly and concisely is a valuable skill in communicating what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done.

One of the easiest ways to improve written communication skills is to start a blog. Learning how to write is a skill that can be developed through reading well-written information, it’s also a good idea to read as much Business Analyst-related technical publications you can get your hands on.

Software Developer Experience Is Helpful for IT Business Analysts

Even though you came from IT and understand IT, you still may need to re-gain the trust of the IT department, once you move over to business analysis.

This is because, once you take on the title of Business Analyst, you may be seen as the enemy on the side of the business and management as opposed to being part of the team.

It’s similar to when a child who grew up in poverty is suddenly discovered and turned into a star athlete on a professional team.

Yes, he has made it to the big time, but his friends from the under-privileged neighborhood may feel left behind.

Since you already understand the inner workings of IT and come from the philosophy that technology has answers to business problems, you should be able to emphatize / understand the viewpoint of developers.

The most effective and efficient way to get things done is to have an understanding of both sides to an issue.

As an IT Business Analyst, you will have to work directly with members of the IT team and since you already know the terminology and the inner workings of this department, you are primed for success.

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    7 Responses to "is changing careers from software developer to business analyst, right for me?"

    1. Business Analysts Training   May 9, 2011 at 8:05 PM

      Yes, a software development background and excellent communication skills makes one a good candidate for a business analysis career and here is why I say that:

      • Business Analysts Need Excellent Communication Skills

        Business Analysis requires strong to excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

        So, Soft skills is to business analysts what technical skills is to software developers / computer programmers!

        Communication skills for business analysts will include written and verbal skills and soft skills will also include leadership, conflict-resolution, meeting facilitation and even negotiation skills.

      • Software Developer Experience Is Helpful for IT Business Analysis

        Business Analysts working on Information Technology (IT) / Software Developer Projects are known as IT Business Analysts.

        These business analysts need a strong understanding of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) and they have to be comfortable when working with computer programmers!

        As a software developer, you are in a good position to become an IT Business Analyst because you have done development, you are an insider and you completely understand the SDLC process or the process of developing software!

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    2. Janet McLean   April 23, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      Interesting topic and comments. I have recently made the transition from software developer to business analyst and am blogging about it on http://movingtothelightside.blogspot.com.au/. I would welcome any further comments or advice. Thanks.

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      • Business Analysts Training   April 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM

        Janet:

        Congratulations on your transition, we would like for you to share in detail with us your lessons learned during this transition … in other words, how did you do it 🙂

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        • Janet McLean   April 28, 2012 at 2:21 AM

          I’m quite early in my transition from software developer to business analyst and am still learning lessons which I am detailing in my blog http://movingtothelightside.blogspot.com.au/. To the question of how I did it, fortunately for me my employer offered me a BA position after recognising that I had certain “soft” skills such as communication, diplomacy and tact.

          These combined with a background in analytical skills from my development days, and some agile skills from my days as a scrum master made for good potential as an agile business analyst.

          So I would say that if you are often complemented in your performance reviews for your soft skills then you probably have the potential to be a BA. Approach your employer and express an interest, they may agree!

          I’ll continue to update my blog with my learnings along the way….watch this space!

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          • Business Analysts Training   April 28, 2012 at 8:55 PM

            Janet:

            Thanks for the post, we have added your blog to our list of useful resource blogs / references for business analysts.

            Are you on twitter, can you post your twitter address?

            Thanks

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