Becoming A Business Analyst
One day or day one. You decide.
You may have heard of a Business Analyst in the past, or at the very least seen the concept of business analysis happen around you. Business Analysts are individuals who identify complex business problems, and use a range of innovative techniques in order to analyze and recommend creative solutions.
Ok, but who are you?
I’m Fiona Teddy-Jimoh and I’m a passionate Business Analyst.
In my spare time I’m also a passionate writer.
Today is quite special. I’m going to merge my two passions together and write about Business Analysts.
But seriously, who are you? And while you’re at it, what is a Business Analyst?
It’s circa 2017 in the world of recruitment and I’m working through a list of potential Developer candidates for Information Technology (IT) roles. Everyone is smiling, busy on the phones winning clients and closing job offers.
Everyone except me.
They make it look so easy while I constantly have my manager put me down because I’ve yet to make a single close since starting five months ago.
However, I’ve made peace with my situation -- I’m bad at this job.
I’m not bad because of my lack of technical knowledge. After all, I’m fascinated with how you can build a mechanical brain that translates a bunch of zeros and ones into the most magical hardware, software, websites, and more. I’m bad because something about this role is lacking...
That never-ending, hair-raising, heart-pounding, thrilling acceleration of passion that forces you into fifth gear every single day. That passion that makes you want to learn everything there is to know about the role you work in. That passion that greets you when you wake up and gets you excited to progress in your career.
As I sit and fail at my recruitment role, I realize that I don’t want to just offer IT jobs, I want to be at the forefront of the technological revolution -- leading the cause to a brighter tomorrow, today.
Dejected, I finish for the day and weave my way through the busy streets of central London. I’m close to the underground station and pass a small postcard stall -- the same postcard stall I pass day in and day out. However, something about this occasion is different. I notice a postcard that immediately resonates with the very depths of my soul.
One day or day one. You decide.
Something about the simple word play concealing the deeply philosophical meaning makes me pull out my purse and purchase it. I continue with my commute home and hold the postcard close to my heart. I feel happy and determined, even though I don’t know what goal this mantra is referring to, yet.
It’s the next day. With postcard in bag I commute to work.
Later, I overhear a colleague’s phone conversation with a candidate. He’s talking about some Business Analyst role. I’ve never heard of this type of role before. He finishes his conversation and I ask him about it.
He shrugs and says, “it’s an individual who bridges the gap between business and technology.”
Cheers for the vagueness.
I finish for the day (again) and weave my way through the busy streets of central London (again). Something about the role Business Analyst ignites my curiosity. Once home, I rush to my bedroom, pull out my postcard and stare at it.
I place the postcard on the bed, go to my desk, reach for my laptop, and do some research:
A business analyst is an advisor. [Business Analysts] advises business decision makers about potential changes or improvements to business IT systems and processes which align with the needs of the business.
There are a few things the English language fails to express adequately.
Love is one of them. The feeling of knowing that everything has suddenly fallen into place is another.
I research everything I can about Business Analysts. I research typical roles and responsibilities, level of education and qualifications required, how no two days are the same, and personal testimonies from businesses that benefited from having competent Business Analysts. I research until the early hours of the morning, sign myself up for online courses, and apply for Business Analyst apprenticeship roles.
Finally, I retire to my bed and spot my postcard.
One day or day one. You decide.
I know what I must do, as reckless at it sounds.
It’s the next day and it feels like the end of the repetition rut cycle. I walk past my desk and straight into my manager’s office. I’m too fired up to even take a seat. I look at my manager and say,
Fast forward to 2021.
I’ve excelled in my Business Analyst apprenticeship and have been awarded a distinction. I've also gained many core and practitioner business analysis certifications from the internationally recognized professional body, British Computer Society (BCS).
I’ve completed my BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis and I’m now working towards becoming a Chartered IT Professional (CITP), which is an individual who demonstrates extraordinary personal qualities, business knowledge, professional skills, and is an influential leader in the technology domain.
As a result of my unyielding passion for technology, creative leadership within business analysis, and on-going innovative ideas and influences in the technology domain, I’ve recently been shortlisted in the internationally-recognized Women in IT Award for “Next Generation Leader of the Year”, with the results to be confirmed later on this June.
More importantly however, I feel extremely fulfilled, passionate, and happy as a Business Analyst, and have obtained a wealth of work experience and best practises along the way.
Can I become a Business Analyst too?
Of course you can!
While the curve can be steep, as long as you have a drive to learn, a passion for technology and you’re interested in solving some of the biggest problems in business, then you too can also become a Business Analyst.
What are the Business Analyst competencies?
The T-Shape Professional concept highlights the importance of skilled individuals that have broad industry understanding across many disciplines, interpersonal qualities, and core role-related skill sets. I have created the following high-level diagram to demonstrate the competencies of a Business Analyst.
Personal qualities are all about your personality, how you engage with other people and the world around you.
To become a successful Business Analyst, you will need to be able to interact with many colleagues and stakeholders in order to elicit requirements for potential solutions.
The type of personal qualities required include:
- Excellent Communication Skills
- Analytical Thinking Skills
- Problem Solver
- Attention to Detail
- Team Player
- Negotiation Skills
- Adaptable Mindset
Business knowledge is your ability to understand the industry and organization you work in.
While Business Analysts fall under the technology umbrella as they work in the same circles as Developers, Testers, and Project Managers, Business Analysts and the art of business analysis benefits every single industry you can think of.
The type of business knowledge required include:
- Industry Knowledge
- Technology Knowledge
- Business Structures
- Commercial Awareness
Professional techniques are all about the core skill sets a Business Analyst need to conduct business analysis work and get the job done.
In order to solve complex business problems, Business Analysts must investigate the "who", "what", "when", "where", and "why". By using core professional skill sets, supported with personal qualities and business knowledge, you will be able to discover, document, and recommend the "how" to senior business decision makers.
The type of professional techniques required include:
- Strategy Analysis
- Idea Generation and Visualisation
- Stakeholder Analysis and Management
- Investigation Techniques
- Requirements Engineering
- Business Process Modelling
- Data Modelling
- Gap Analysis
- Benefits Management
- Project Management
Your level of understanding and ability to demonstrate personal qualities, business knowledge, and professional techniques are what will distinguish exceptional Business Analysts from the mediocre.
Can you teach me the way of the Business Analyst?
Using a mixture of tried and tested textbook techniques, and my on-going work experiences, as well as the experiences of other successful Business Analysts in my professional network, I aim to build an online community that offers a safe, straightforward, and enjoyable way to support your goal to becoming a Business Analyst.
Great! So what happens now?
Utilizing Memberful, which has revolutionized the way I can run and manage subscriptions, I aim to integrate my online community with Memberful and create a subscription-based platform that allows me to share educational videos that adheres to professional standards. These bite-size videos will give everyone the chance to learn step-by-step the required competencies needed to become a Business Analyst.
Using my passion for writing, I want to create monthly newsletters that are periodically sent to email inboxes that provide useful information about professional courses and industry-recognized qualifications to aspire towards.
By offering inspirational podcasts on my subscription-based online community platform, I aim to communicate on a very human level what to expect on the journey to becoming a Business Analyst.
So stick around, subscribe, keep your eyes open for my Business Analyst content, and remember:
One day or day one. You decide.
Reading list to get you started:
- Business Analysis Fourth Edition, Debra Paul, and James Cadle
- Business Analysis Techniques Second Edition, James Cadle, Debra Paul, and Paul Turner
- Developing Information Systems, James Cadle
- The Business Analyst’s Survival Guide, Leann M. Simonson
Professional Bodies for further information:
Resources used throughout this article: