shifting roles to entry level business analyst from program analyst

How To Start An Entry Level Business Analyst Job
How To Start An Entry Level Business Analyst Job

I want to shift my role to at least an entry level BA.

I am Program Analyst with one year of experience, I want to know how i can shift from being a Program Analyst to Business Analyst.

My Team lead has identified me as being very suitable for this role, and has asked me to work on it.

Will taking up any certifications help me shifting the lines?

Kindly guide me through the process.

How To Shift Roles From Entry Level Business Analyst

One look at a tall, mouth-watering, multi-layer sandwich, and you realize your mouth is not large enough to take a bite without making a huge mess, or even choking. But, when you cut it up into bite-sized pieces, you begin to enjoy and savor the dining experience.

In a similar manner, getting a job as a business analyst can be accomplished easier when you break down the process into smaller, manageable steps.

Step 1 – List The Roles, Responsibilities and Duties of a Business Analyst

Before you do anything else, take some time to identify what is expected of a business analyst.

Identify and make a list of all the Roles, Responsibilities and Duties of a Business Analyst.

Take your time to understand the overall job description. Without this understanding, you can find yourself wasting a lot of time studying topics that are irrelevant or appear to have no idea what you’re talking about during an interview. Save yourself the embarrassment and begin by making a list.

It might help to know the three major processes that a business analyst is involved in (Elicitation, Analysis/Specifications and Validation). At a bare minimum, your list should include:

Communication skills (both verbal and written)

The business analyst needs to be an excellent communicator. This involves many facets. He needs to be able to present information as well as listen to find out necessary information.

He must be good at conflict resolution, negotiating and interviewing (gathering information). He must also know how to implement tact and basic customer service mannerisms into his communication.

In addition to the verbal communication, a business analyst needs to be adept at documentation. He will take notes at meetings which will provide valuable information about how a phase of a project will be carried out.

He will need to document every step well, and be able to write clearly and concisely so his reports are understood.

Elicitation skills (finding out the necessary information)

this involves being a good listener and knowing how to ask qualifying questions to make sure you understood what was said. It also means being a good facilitator to bring out ideas during meetings from others.

Analysis and problem solving skills

You do not have to have all the answers. It’s the job of the business analyst to act as an investigator to uncover what solutions lie beneath the surface and what solutions need to be created through software development.

Validation skills

The business analyst does not just come in, solve a problem and then leave. He stays working throughout the entire process, including making sure the users know how to use a software program and that the problems were solved sufficiently.

Step 2 – Check Off Business Analysis Skills Already Achieved

Get out your colorful pen and get ready to check off the list. Once you understand all the ins and outs of what a business analyst does on the job, it’s time to make a list of the skills, experience, education and training that you already have and can bring to the table to benefit a new company.

Play a matching game, and match up your skills with those you listed for a business analyst.

Step 3 – Identify The Missing Business Analysis Skills?

Step back and look at your list. Are there several areas left unchecked, or do you see a page full of check marks? The skills that are left unchecked are the ones to focus on to bridge the gap between what you already know and have skill to do, and what you still need to learn.

Take a highlighter and highlight these skills you need to concentrate on. It might be easy to shrug this step off and jump to updating your resume, but if you don’t focus on your skills gap (even if it’s small), you may face humiliation or rejection when a hiring manager points out what you are lacking, or disregards your resume’ entirely.

Step 4 – Bridge The Business Analysis Skills Gaps

Bridging the gap may not be as difficult as it appears. But, depending on how long your list of unchecked skills is, it could take some time.

Choose to study on your own, or to seek out business analysis training. You will need to decide which is the most efficient means to get you to your goal of becoming a business analyst.

Self study is definitely cheaper, but nothing compares to the experience you gain from online training that provides real-work world experience.

Step 5 – Get A Business Analyst Job

You’ve come to the final step and are ready to update your resume’ and begin the job search process. Make sure your resume stands out by writing it in a way to accent what you will bring to a company.

Then, look for a job through recruiters and online job search sites, or through a network of professionals with whom you’ve become acquainted.

Prepare an individual cover letter for each job you apply to, doing a little homework about the company to show you are more than just a passing applicant. You are serious about working as a business analyst, so highlight your best skills.

Apply to companies of interest, and then prepare for your interview. Congratulations! If you’ve taken the time to follow these steps, you are on your way to a business analyst career.

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One Response to "shifting roles to entry level business analyst from program analyst"

  1. Business Analysts Training   May 7, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Follow this Step By Step process in changing or shifting your career from that of a program analyst to a least an entry level business analyst!

    • First take the time to identify all the Roles, Responsibilities and Duties o a Business Analyst.

      This exercise is important because if you are not precise in your understanding of what a business analyst does, you will waste a lot of time studying the wrong topics or worse convey a lack of understanding of the profession itself at your job interview!

    • After you are clear on what a business analyst actually does, take the time to list out skills, experience, education or training from your current business analyst job which can be transferred to your new business analyst career!

    • Next, identify the missing skills or gaps in your experience. Be truthful to yourself about this because it is better for you to fix your weaknesses than to have a hiring manager point out to you that your work experience is lacking or worse, ignore your resume all together!

    • Now bridge the gaps in your skills & experience through self-study and/or business analysis training.

      While self study is cheaper, it is also more difficult, so just make up your mind which option is better and then learn or improve your business analysis skills!

    • Congratulations, if you have carried out all the previous steps, you are now ready for a business analyst job and you may update your resume and start applying for them 🙂

    Good Luck with your Career Transition


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