Career Paths for Business Analysts

Author: Geri Schneider Winters

People come to the job of Business Analyst in many different ways. Some people graduate from college and immediately start to work as a junior Analyst for a major corporation. Often a Business Analyst has some years of work experience in some related field before starting to work as an analyst.

You may choose to work for a company in the role of Business Analyst, or you may be a consultant and some of what you do is work as a Business Analyst.

Once you are working as a Business Analyst, what can you expect in terms of career growth? This will depend on the experience you bring to the job and your interests.

BA’s with more experience are generally assigned to larger and/or more complex projects. If you are an experienced BA, you will be often asked to mentor junior Analysts, and depending on your other
experience, you may also be asked to mentor the Project Manager, Software Process Engineer, QA group, or even the Project Architect or Designer.

Over time, you may be asked to work on a small project as both the Business Analyst and the Project Manager. This will introduce you to the job of the Project Manager. You may decide to gain experience and certifications through the Project Management Institute (PMI) and evolve your career into management. You could work your way up through the levels of management as far as your talents and desires take you.

You may decide that you really love the BA job. Over time, you will work on more complex projects with more responsibility. You may then choose to create an internal organization for other BA’s in the company, to provide guidance, internal training, and resources such as templates or guidelines for people in that role.

You might decide you really like teaching and mentoring, so go into jobs such as corporate training or consulting. You would work to train and mentor other Business Analysts in their jobs.

You might become very interested in software development processes and become a process engineer. This tends to be a consulting position. Few companies have software process engineers on staff, though you may find such as position as part of a corporate governance or continuous quality improvement organization.

With your strength in the soft skills of listening, speaking, writing, and meeting facilitation, you can look at other kinds of careers that may interest you more than writing requirements for software projects.

For example, if you really like learning to install and use software tools, you might become a tools person – someone who elicits the corporate needs for software tools, determines what tools are needed, and how they will be used to support corporate goals. You might also be involved in creating manuals and training for company personnel to show them how to use the tools in their jobs.

Maybe business is your real passion, so you use your soft skills to become a business coach. You work with people to discover the goals of their business and how to achieve these goals. This is often a position where you work with small business owners who want to improve or grow their business.

Consider a job as a Product Manager. Note that is product not project. A Product Manager is a marketing person who surveys the market and writes the business requirements for new projects. A Product Manager typically works closely with project teams to achieve good products that meet the needs of the marketplace.

As you see, with experience as a Business Analyst, you have developed a lot of skill in listening, speaking, writing, and meeting facilitation. You may have also learned a lot about a particular domain. You can use these skills to develop further as a Business Analyst, or to go into other jobs such as Project Manager (and higher management positions), Product Manager, Tools Person, Governance, Quality Improvement, Business Coaching, Corporate Training, Mentoring, and Consulting.

125 thoughts on “Career Paths for Business Analysts”

  1. Hello Admin,

    I am a sophomore studying Management as my major. After constant change of minds with career path, I finally decided that Management Analyst is something I might enjoy working as. But this profession is something new and unheard of for me. I do not know how to pave my path to being an Analyst or even an associate to start with. If you could help me with figuring what my next step should be. What position should I intern as or look for job as to start up with?

    Hoping for a soon reply.
    Thanking you,
    Manisha Shrestha

  2. Hi,

    I have 5 years exp in projects for manufacturing & EPC’s & now i am looking forward for an analyst role.I am a BE in Instrumentation.

    Please guide me what course or certification will be helpful for me to get the role because although i have applied for certain vaccency,i m not even getting a cal.

    Regards
    Nishi

  3. Hi Geri,

    I have 5 years of IT experience..degree in Bsc IT and MBA ( HR & Marketing).
    With the IT experience i do not say i have expertise in any particular domain but more on tools/application support.

    Now i have decided to move on to BA role, Geri – can you please assist me thru this switch..What kind of BA relevant trainings should i get into..Can i actually be an IT an business analyst or do u have something else to suggest.

    Please help me thru this phase.

  4. Hi Geri,

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this, this blog is very informative. However, I have a few questions specific to this job role (BA).

    In my job role, it involves, SSIS, SSRS and SSAS (Dataware Housing, reporting etc), I find it interesting, however, I don’t find BA job roles with these skills required, outside of my organization, I want to move out of my company, please suggest how should I proceed in technical line (I don’t prefer management roles).

    I’ve 3 years of experience.

    Thanks!

  5. Hi Geri,

    I have done Electrical Engineering and MBA core. I have 2 years experience as a Procurement Engineer. I am interested to become a Business analyst or a Project Manager. I am totally from a Non- IT field Can you guide me which field will work more for me? and how can I reach there?What are the training course required?

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards,
    Sia.

  6. Hello admin,

    Your blog is absolutely great and it has provided me a window to open up to different areas of work…

    I have been working an a SME in Supply Chain for about 3 yrs and moved on to a Business Analyst position mostly in the Finance area (working for the last 2yrs). Though i have started my career in this path i am not sure what could be the next steps to grow.
    Though i love working in the SCM vertical, i have always been pulled into Finance. I do love numbers and hence i am still working in that area but i would like to know where and how can i expand my skills.
    I am an MS grad in Computer Science.

  7. Hi,
    I am working as a software developer in an esteemed organization from past 1 year . Am i eligible for the business analyst job and if yes will it be beneficial for me ?
    thanks

  8. Hi,

    I am a B.tech graduate. I have 2 years of experience in sales. I am planning to switch my career as IT Business analyst and planning undertake a Program for the same. Please suggest me where exactly should I work on because I am new to all this. I also did some technical courses like Oracle 10g and Informatica in the past. I doubt is whether these two years of experience into sales will be considered or not. Please suggest me ASAP.

    Thanks and Regards,

    Chandra Shekhar.M

  9. Hi,
    I am Rahul Barpatre,and i have completed B.E in Electronics and Telecommunication.
    Currently i am working as an Quality analyst Engineer in the CMMI 5 level Software industry .I wish to have the position of B.A in my future career .
    Could you possibly suggest me the right track that i should follow in my future.
    Should i go with the MBA in my future ?????if yes then please suggest me the Stream that i should adopt.

  10. Hi Geri,

    Thanks for such an informative article !
    I have done my bachelors in Computer Science Engineering and have been working for a small sized IT company(product based) for the past 4 years. During my tenure with this company, I have been in many roles. I have worked as QA for 1 year, involved in application development for sometime and during this period my primary job was understanding the business process of the customer, understanding and analyzing the customer’s requirement and documenting the same, helping the development team in understanding the requirements and helping the QA team in understanding the requirements for preparing test cases.

    I have not taken any training for BA neither I have a MBA degree. Recently, I have planned to switch to a new organization and most of the interview calls I received are for the post of BA.

    My domain expertize is diversified as I have worked on various domain(e commerce, transportation, some custom project for client) in various projects. Now I have a job opportunity as a BA and the domain is Life Sciences (product based company).

    The product I have worked on is very rare domain (railway shed operations).

    My question is what would be my career path from here. Where do I fit in, as I have worked across various domains. What should be my next step and what should I have by the time I leave my next company to seek better opportunities.

    Thanks,
    Rajesh

  11. i just want to ask whts the growth path in a data analyst career ? is it a good start for a graduate? how can i grow frm there?

  12. i jst want to ask whats the career growth path in a data/research analyst career? is it a good start for a graduate? how can we grow in the career?

  13. I am currently working as Software Testing Engineer (Manual Testing) and have about 3+ years of experience. i have few questions regarding my career progress.
    What are the chances of me being a Business Analyst?
    what are the ways?
    Is it a good leap? (from tester to BA)
    Or is there any better option and what is it?
    Thank you in advance for your consideration.
    Have a great day.

  14. Hello Sir ,
    I am a Software Engineer and is interested in BA profile . I have done engineering in IT and have knowledge of various software languages and technologies which i think can utilize it in this Business Analyst role . I have also been offered as “Business Analyst – pre sales ” . So please guide me will it help me to give me a good real path .

  15. Hi Geri,
    I want to start my career in BA. I had completed my MBA in marketing and now i m working with good IT company as a market research analyst.

    so can you pls tel me the career path.
    or which is the best career option for me ..BA or BI

  16. Hi Geri,

    This post is very beneficial to me as it cleared my maximum doubts about BA.
    I am Management graduate and have 6 year of experience in Telecom and Asset Management domain.
    I am very keen to Business Analyst role which leads me to Business Management role later on. I would like to become a person who decide business goals, strategies for business growth.

    Could you please guide me which BA domain should I choose ?

    Thanks and Regards,
    Ricky

  17. Hello admin!

    I read the whole article. Guess I am not too late. My question is I am an Aeronautical Engineering with a year experience in the same domain and I have completed my MBA in Marketing. Now I look forward to excel in Management. In fact I want to start as BA. Please give me some advise as how should I approach. I look my self in strategic genre of the business more of a think tank, more of long term goal. Will BA lead me to it? What is your pick about the same? I have a good communication and presentation skill.

    Do let me know your opinion. Eagerly waiting for it. Thank you.

  18. Hi Geri,
    Thanks for this article. I work as a Business Analyst, from past 2 years. I have 6 years of experience in the IT industry. I have worked as a process engineer for about 3 years (CMMI) and moved into software testing. I switched to business analysis since this job interests me. It’s been good so far working in different phases of SDLC. But in all this changes I made I was unable to stick to a specific domain. I worked in retail domain, education, finance, healthcare to name a few. I could never gain good domain knowledge. I get poor responses when I apply for a job since I don’t have domain knowledge. How should I choose domain? What factors should I evaluate when I pick a domain. How to gain domain knowledge with out practical experiences.
    Your help is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

  19. Hi I have completed my MBA in Finance.
    I have a job in hand with BA in Capital market domain. And another job with Quality Analyst in a big bank but with domain other than capital market. I had the experience of 3 years as QA before my MBA.
    The salary in BA is one third as that of in QA. I am confused whether i should take a job as BA or QA. Should I go with profile or pay. Please help me on this query

  20. HI

    I have done my MBA in marketing and have 2.5 years of exp in telecom operations.I am keen to move to BA role in telecom or IT industry.But not sure whether is there any scope for me to get into BA role, as I am not having any technical quantification .

    kindly guide me how can I get into BA role.

  21. Hi,

    I am working as Sr. BA in Investment Banking domain from last 7 years. As a next step towards my carrier i need to decide between PMP OR to continue as SME in the same domain and to reach the desired goal of becoming a Solution Architect.

    I have comleted my MBA and masters in financial management; In this context, i would like to upgrade my skills. Kindly suggest me .

    Thanks

  22. I am working as a Software developer in an IT company. I would like to go for Business Analyst role..what i have to do?… Is any certification i should have? could you pls guide me

  23. I am a BBA graduate and 3 yrs experience in software testing.
    After gaining 3 yrs experience in testing I have completed MBA marketing.what can be my career path for BA role

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