How do I start a career in Business Analysis? How do I grow my BA career? These are some of the most frequent questions The Skilled Business Analyst receives. In this post we share some tips / guidelines on how to kick start your BA career. Important to note that there is no silver bullet – some people land in the BA profession through exposure to projects and application of specific skills… Some go through a more formal structured route of studying / certifications. Either way these tips will be useful in helping you not only start your BA career but grow your career…
Understand the BA profession and key competencies
There is so much more to a Business Analyst than eliciting and documenting business requirements. A fundamental part of what we do as Business Analysts is fostering stakeholder relationships and promoting a shared understanding of business problems / needs/ opportunities. It is therefore important to understand at a high level the value that BAs bring to organizations and key skills. How? Start subscribing to thought leader content – blog posts, LinkedIn groups, webinars…
Reflect on your career and identify what skills and competencies you already have
Once you have an understanding of the BA role, the value it adds and key skills, it’s time to look back on your career and identify where you have applied such skills. You may not have had the formal title of Business Analyst but there may be specific skills you may have been applying in your work such as problem solving, analytical skills – all of which are fundamental skills for a Business Analyst. This step is particularly important as it allows you to see what you may already have and what gaps you need to fulfill. We at The Skilled Business Analyst offer a competency assessment service to gauge the Business Analysis skills you have based on prior work experience.
Find yourself a mentor
I am a strong advocate of this point. A mentor provides you the opportunity to discover and grow yourself. You will have a direct channel to someone who has been in the game, can relate to your experiences and give you sound advice. It gives you accountability and the assurance that you can always reach out to your mentor should you have any career related questions. There are many ways to find a mentor – join your local IIBA chapter to network and connect with industry peers.
Look for opportunities in your work environment to apply BA skills
Don’t be afraid to put up your hand for project related work where you can apply your BA skills. This will not only give you the opportunity to enhance your BA skill set but it will raise your profile in your organization as a Business Analyst. If you have time outside of work hours, another good avenue is to do pro bono work for nonprofit organizations – volunteer to help them solve some business problems they may have.
Look out for training opportunities to enhance your understanding
Many people make the pitfall of rushing to get certified and then think they are automatically ready to become a Business Analyst. Business Analysis is not a quick career – it takes time to build your skill set. The higher certifications (CBAP, CCBA) are good as a stamp of approval based on the work you have done in the past. ECBA is good if you want to get a base understanding of what a BA is.
Tailor your Resume to align to a BA role and get feedback from your mentor
Your Resume is the first interview with a potential employer! If you are applying for a Business Analyst role you need to ensure that your Resume is aligned to the role and demonstrates that you have BA specific skills. The Skilled Business Analyst works closely with professionals to tailor their CVs along with BA roles.
If you are looking to break into Business Analysis or simply grow your career, The Skilled Business Analyst can work closely with you and help you get you to the next level of your career. Contact us today to discuss.
Yours in Analysis
Business Analysis Instructor