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.