This post answers a question submitted by Elena who is “looking for the right study program for becoming a professional business analyst”.
There is an old comedy sketch quoted by many that tells of a young man asking directions in New York City.
He stops a man on the street and asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” to which the man replies, “practice, my son practice.“
That is how it is with becoming a professional business analyst. Practice and proven performance are looked upon with more favor than a degree or certification, even the much touted MBA.
While a resume’ filled with degrees looks good, those hiring in the Business Analyst industry are actually more interested in your performance on the job in the face of constant changes in the industry!
There is no magical degree or certification that will solve your career challenges because the actual skills for success are developed through solving real-world problems / challenges.
So, don’t go hide behind a degree program or certification thinking that a third-party endorsement on your resume will make you successful!
5 Must Have Skills For Successful Business Analysts
The job of a business analyst includes visualizing, articulating or solving business problems, gathering and making sense of data, applying logical thinking, designing and testing solutions to problems and / or formulating plans for every aspect of the company’s business processes including; financials, marketing, operations and information systems.
A Business Analysts’ Technical Skills may include knowledge and experience of information technology or the software development life cycle (SDLC), an understanding of the principles of software testing and quality assurance and the ability to model the systems under observation using formal modeling languages.
Technical knowledge may also include business domain knowledge in marketing, finance, operations, etc. as well as technical training, certifications or education which provides one with the theoretical / background knowledge needed for the job.
Part of being a good business analyst is the ability to manage both yourself and others well.
Managerial skills may also include project management, time management, planning, delegation, prioritization, organizational and leadership skills.
A good business analyst must be able to bring stakeholders with different or even opposing views to a consensus.
As a good negotiator, the business analyst must be able to articulate the best possible outcome from conflicting views and get all the parties to agree with a beneficial direction without alienating anyone.
Written / Verbal Communication Skills
A business analyst needs both strong oral and strong written verbal communication skills.
A good business analyst should be comfortable while presenting or speaking in public.
Statistics and studies have shown that the majority of people fear public speaking more than anything else. If you are fearful of public speaking, take the time to overcome this fear by practicing speaking in front of others in an informal setting such as Toastmasters.
In addition, a business analyst should develop the ability to communicate with all levels of management as well as software developers, customers and line workers.
Finally, a business analyst should develop strong technical writing skills for use in documenting problems, analyzing options and reporting solutions.
You’ve learned all five (5) skills, now how do you get a business analyst job?
Once you’ve learned the skills needed to become a business analyst and you have gained some hands-on experience, it’s time to upgrade your resume to reflect your newly-gained skills.
Start by presenting a well-written resume to potential employers, because this leaves a good impression and makes it easy for you to be shortlisted for job interviews.
You can find job leads through online websites like Dice.com, Monster.com or Craigslist.com. Dice.com can even email you free job leads after you signup and indicate this as a preference.
Finally, keep in mind that the Business Analyst Industry is performance driven. So, your past job experience has to be relevant to a potential employer’s needs before you can get your foot in through their door.
With this in mind, focus on gaining the experience needed to climb the ladders of success and not on getting more certifications or college degrees.