Are Information Technology Skills necessarily or required to be a successful business analyst?
According to the Business Analyst Body of Knowledge (BABOK), a business analyst performs business analysis activities, no matter what their job title or organizational role may be.
The business analyst does, however, need to know how to communicate with the Information Technology (IT) team members intelligently, using some degree of technical knowledge.
It is important for a business analyst to have a general understanding of software systems, databases, and network servers.
If this general knowledge is paired with logical thinking skills, the IT department is likely to give more respect to the business analyst, listen to what he/she has to say, and cooperate in the solution process.
Organizations are solving more and more of their problems by implementing software programs to meet their requirements. Because software is being used as part of the solution, most business analyst jobs will require working, to some degree, on IT projects.
Some companies will require specific IT knowledge related to a particular program. But, intricate programming knowledge or the ability to write code is not generally part of what a business analyst needs to know.
But, it doesn’t hurt to have this specific experience. If you have experience in coding or other IT duties, the hiring company will assume you will be able to handle negotiations and problem solving with the IT department from an insider viewpoint, with understanding.
As a general rule, a business analyst’s job does not require deep, technical skills except when a job listing says otherwise.
A business analyst should, however, be able to handle basic software programs such as Microsoft Word.
One first impression of whether or not a business analyst knows how to use Word properly is how their resume looks.
If you present a company with an ill-formatted, typo-laden resume, written in Microsoft Word or similar word processing software, this will be a big red flag that you cannot even function with the bare minimum of expected IT / Software skills.
Some Information Technology Skills are transferable to any business analyst job. Some IT skills may still be transferable or applicable to your job even when your work does not involve IT.
When considering becoming a business analyst, it’s important to be careful about drawing distinctions between which business analysis topics are Information Technology (IT) specific and which are not.
There are business analysts in the IT domain where a great deal of IT skills or knowledge will be necessary. But, there are also a number of other domains where very little IT knowledge is required.
If you focus on a specific domain such as Telecommunications (Telco), healthcare, insurance, Marketing & Sales, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), or Banking & Finance; it may be more important to know the specific functions of the domain than it will be to know specific programming skills.
But, this might also require being familiar with specific software used within the particular domain. Knowing the basics of technology terminology, or software a business analyst uses to do his job is sufficient for most business analysts.
The bottom line is that some IT skills would be required from an Information Technology perspective, and some Business Analysis skills from the Business Analyst perspective.
Any additional experience that you choose to bring to the table as a business analyst usually only helps, as it allows you to see a situation from many points of view.
This makes for excellent communications between all involved parties.
Finally, keep in mind that it is more important that a business analyst is able to bridge the gap between the company’s needs and the solutions he/she presents than it is that he/she understand the intricate programing code that went into the solution’s software.
A good overall understanding of every part of the solution is important. After all, the business analyst is hired to put together a reasonable solution, within budget and on time by working with the business and technical departments.