What does a business analyst do?
Have you ever had an idea to change your industry? Analytical interests are not a typical answer of a person asked about special abilities. It is also not a profession that you can just be born with. However, the demand for business analysts is not declining.
As the technological branch of the labor market expands, the demand for business analysts will also increase. People from different schools and with different education can try their hand, because the main feature required will be the identification of customer needs in order to solve business problems. The more companies focused on growth and success in the market, the greater the demand for analysts. People with not only observation skills, but also communication skills. The most important thing, however, will be the will to acquire knowledge and develop skills.
The role of the analyst in the project
The business analyst sounds very general. It is a person who identifies and verifies the business needs of customers and interested parties, and finds solutions to problems. A business analyst, depending on the field, will have to demonstrate various types of additional skills and understanding of the industry. The role of this position has strongly evolved in recent years. Terms such as system analyst, business architect, IT analyst, or connection – business and system analyst appeared. This hybrid applies precisely to the IT market. His knowledge cannot be limited only to business, but must also include knowledge of the logic of the systems he works on, knowledge of the database and other project details in order to communicate well with developers.
Client communication with the team
The business analyst exists to determine what needs to be done for the system to function well or for the project to have a chance of success. The requirements engineer must additionally define how it should be done and what function it should have and what the system should look like. This doesn’t mean that an analyst or engineer needs to know all the technical aspects of coding, but it certainly won’t hurt. Can a business analyst without programming knowledge work on an IT project? No, its role is limited to customer satisfaction by coming up with specific solutions that are feasible and which the recipient requires.
The role of a business analyst is therefore to be a link, and if necessary – a mediator, between professionals and the recipient. Between the client and programmers and between the investor and contractors. The analyst must know the business processes in the company and be proficient in identifying current and potential problems during the project implementation. It is the central figure in the collection and communication of product information. He must demonstrate an understanding of business goals, user requirements, functional capabilities and be able to estimate and plan the course of work. However, he does not assume responsibility for the success of the application. The solutions are implemented by contractors and the performance of the functions or features of the product depends on them.
Who can be an analyst?
The analyst supports both parties in achieving a common goal, i.e. achieving satisfactory results. The client must receive what he expected and on the terms he set, and specialists or developers must be able to meet these expectations within a specific time frame. For people who like cooperation with the client, searching for the best solutions, deep understanding and penetrating the dependencies that determine a given project, the career of a business analyst will be perfect. However, if you have a knack for practical functions and how they affect the operation of the system, your competences can be extended to requirements engineering, i.e. business and system analysis. Both of these features are equally important and require insight, however the latter has a deep level of detail.
Analyst’s tasks in the project
Thanks to the knowledge of the business goals of the project, set by the client, it will be easy to determine the purpose of the product, i.e. functions that will be required by potential users. An analyst must demonstrate not only research skills, but also have some leadership qualities and communicativeness. His task will be to identify project stakeholders, which reflects his knowledge of the industry and organization. Requirements acquisition and definition is simply formulating an image of the product that the customer has. The analysis of these requirements and the creation of documentation, which in turn translates into the transfer of requirements to the team, is the stage of communication of information obtained from the investor to specialists and contractors. Then the business analyst has to coordinate the work by validating specific requirements and prioritizing tasks for developers. He will also deal with the management of these requirements and planning the approach to their implementation.
Now you certainly understand how general and highly detailed competences a business analyst must posess. These are the features of an intelligent and motivated person, not necessarily highly educated. From technical competences, through human resource management to adaptability. A good business analyst must do this. However, having these abilities cannot be expected to guarantee success. Hard work and continuous self-education is a recipe for success in this field. One of the most important features in this profession is planning an approach to requirements analysis in order to use the full potential of the team within a specific time frame.
Communication skills mean the ability to listen and conduct conversations, and inquisitiveness. These are the basic ingredients of a good analyst. He must also be able to make decisions quickly in a given situation by taking all factors into account. Analytical skills are important here, not only in terms of the overall approach to design and occupational hygiene, but also in terms of adapting to the realities of the system. A very important feature will be quick adaptation to the situation, and if necessary, training in a given area of knowledge. Leadership skills will help to plan work well, enforce its implementation, while facilitating the process. Perceptiveness and creativity are qualities that everyone has as long as they remain committed and focused on the project’s goal. Communication with the team and the ability to organize work is needed in virtually every industry.
A business analyst is a specific profession because it assumes constant development of skills and research of the environment. The best way to do this is to contact other analysts. Through the exchange of experiences, the whole community can help each other without a conflict of interest. There are industry-specific business meetings, often organized by members of the community. They allow for the exchange of experiences and solutions, which significantly speeds up the training process in the profession. Additional contacts made will certainly pay off in the future.
There are also analyst organizations that encourage active participation in industry life. Getting to know your colleagues couldn’t be easier. Such participation gives a sense of belonging, and keeping in touch can help solve problems in the project. Since 2014, the Requirements Engineering Association has existed, which also organizes the Requirements Engineering and Business Analysis Conference. Every year, over a hundred participants meet there for workshops and lectures. Other events of this type in Poland are the beIT conferences in Gdańsk or ReQtest organized by the Information Systems Quality Association.
Experience is, of course, an invaluable prestige and attribute on the labor market, but the certification will certainly attract additional attention to the employer. If you have already decided to work in the profession, it is worth investing time and money in courses that confirm your knowledge and experience. IQBBA certification is recommended for beginners. Further, suggested by the global organization of business analysts IIBA is CCBA (Certification of Competency in Business Analysis) and CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional). There is an IREB certificate for requirement engineers.
In addition, there are courses that will just as well prove your knowledge of the industry and your willingness to develop. There are also postgraduate studies for business analysts. Trainings organized by industry specialists are aimed at introducing novice analysts into the profession, preparing them for certification and, above all, organizing knowledge and familiarizing themselves with the practical aspects of business analytics.
Experience in the industry
No training and no certificate can replace something that is valued the most on the labor market, namely training in battle. Your experience is something that nobody can take away from you and it opens the door to many cooperation proposals. The more successful projects you create, the more clients will want to work with you. A good business analyst is, in a sense, a guarantee of success. Companies that invest in their analysts, their development and experience invest in their future. If you don’t know if business analytics is the industry for you, try attending the training. This is the best verification not only by contact with the field of knowledge itself, but also with the environment. If you have working knowledge, there is also a Requirements Engineering path, which is a more professional and detailed position. The sooner you decide to enter this specialization, the sooner you will gain invaluable experience.