Become a Business Analyst

As defined by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), Business Analysis is the practice of “enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders”. Business Analysts are the essential change enablers and catalysts that play an important part in implementing a change that addresses an organization’s business goals.


In case you are looking to move into a full-time position as a business analyst, your past experience will definitely be an advantage in some manner. Regardless of how limited your training has been in business analysis, you still have some experience with it in some form which can serve as the foundation for becoming a full-fledged business analyst.

This article will provide an answer to the fundamental question – How to become a Business Analyst? This is the first question every BA aspirant has or should be having? Let me answer this with a Step-by-Step Road Map.

Who is a Business Analyst?


A business analyst deals with the various data sets, analyze the data, transform the data and convert it into a beautiful visualizations. A BA also coordinates between teams. Business analyst are professionals who are responsible for requirements gathering, problem solving, data visualization and much more.

Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) is an IIBA Certification to help you become a business analyst. We are an Endorsed Education Provider (EEP) offering ECBA Training to help you meet the Eligibility Criteria.


Role of a Business Analyst


Before you get into understanding the steps on how to become a business analyst, it is of utmost importance to clearly understand the responsibilities carried out by a business analyst. Different organizations have different meanings & understandings of business analysis roles and hence the responsibilities also differ as a result. The responsibilities may also differ based on the type & size of the initiative, the methodology being followed, and various other factors.

BA

Understanding the Role of BA in SDLC

The software development process is that it does start with planning like any other project whether it's building a factory or building a highway. It requires you to start with building a plan, then the next task which is possibly the most critical task is to understand what does the customer want and convert them into a set of details, which the tech team can then take it forward. Let’s take a look at the SDLC and the role that a business analyst has to play in SDLC.

Requirements Development

Requirements Development is the first step. This is basically about understanding everything about what is to be done. In this phase, the role of a BA is

Systems Design

Then comes how it will be done, so deciding on how you can develop that solution using different kinds of technology platforms, tools, hardware and various other tech components so that it becomes the most efficient solution.

Coding

Then comes the final coding work where the coding and testing is conducted so that then the software application can be given to the customer.

UAT (User Acceptance Test)

Finally, the Customer Testing - The Client itself has to test to understand whether the solution meets the requirement or not, this is called UAT or User Acceptance Test.



Some Other Standard Responsibilities of a Business Analyst:

Skills needed to become a Business Analyst


Now the question is: What do you need to be a business analyst? or to be able to perform these activities. There are several skills needed to become a BA.

Some of them are needed at the Entry-Level and some of them are not needed at the Entry-Level. Functional knowledge is one that is something which is not mandatory at the entry-level but it's a mandatory skill for anybody at some point in time as you have to get into domain knowledge and without that, the scope of work will be very limited.

BA SKILLS FRAMEWORK


Business Analyst Skills Framework

So we have developed something called a craft framework which is basically four key skills which are needed to become a business analyst or needed to perform your responsibilities as a business analyst. Here are the 4 skills that are included in our BA skills framework.


1. Soft skills


Then comes your core BA skills - the fundamental skills of a business analyst. You can call them technical skills as here you need to learn UML user stories, agile waterfall, and JIRA MS ratio. These are the things which you need to learn as fundamental BA skills. Therefore, this framework includes the skills required for the following:

2. Core BA skills


The first framework is soft skills as you can see the role of a BA involves connecting and interacting with a lot of people and a lot of stakeholders. Therefore, the soft skills for a business analyst include the following:


3. Functional Knowledge


Functional knowledge is not necessarily an entry-level skill but you have to pick it up at some point in time in your business analysis career.


4. Functional Testing


Finally, in the testing part as you have seen we have a stage where the client conducts the UAT at that point in time. Before you go to your client for your software to be tested you also need to feel confident about it, you don't want to hear from the customer about surprises so you want to ensure that everything is in order. For this, you need to have some bit of skills to test things more like end-to-end testing more like process testing rather than an individual screen test. This framework includes:


Who Can Become A Business Analyst?


Can you become a Business Analyst if you are from a non-IT background or if you are a Sales professional or if you are a relationship manager in a Bank? The good news is that you can become a Business Analyst even if you are not an IT professional. The IT industry does not discriminate against any background as far as the Business Analyst role is concerned.

Who can become a BA?

Why Should You Become A Business Analyst?


A career as a Business Analyst offers great opportunities and growth prospects. The growth forecasts make it worth your time, with the potential for high salaries at entry-level to draw you in even more.


Step By Step Approach To Become a Business Analyst


Here are the steps you need to take to become a Business Analyst. Steps are similar for IT as well as non-IT professionals.
Note: This article is based on my book How to Become a Business Analyst: With Business analysis basics tutorial available on Amazon.

Steps to BA

Step 1. Conduct Skills Gap Analysis


You need to evaluate your skills against the required skills for an entry-level Business Analyst. Which are these skills? We have created a CRAFT framework to map the top 4 skills for becoming a Business Analyst.

Steps


You can download this Competency Evaluation Matrix to conduct a Skills Gap Analysis.


Step 2. Plan to Upgrade your Skills


Once you have completed skills gap analysis, you would know the skills you need to acquire the skills. Now it’s time to determine the approach you would like to take to acquire these. What do you need to consider:

Acquiring the Business Analysis Skills

Acquiring the Soft Skills


Step 3. Skills Acquisition plan


Your skills acquisition plan must include a certification. The most reputed entry-level Business Analyst certification is IIBA ECBA Certification. You can plan to go for a self-learning approach or an instructor-led training approach. Do keep in mind the gaps in your skills. Your learning approach must include those specific gaps. You can also read about the ECBA Preparation approach.


Timelines: Our experience suggests that you should plan for 100-110 hours of study to achieve your goal. So if you are working or having an extra workload you need to plan accordingly. A 7-10 weeks plan works for most people.


Step 4. Action Time


The next step is obviously to get started and start learning. Focus on learning the concepts first and then apply them to your area of work. That will help you in relating to the concepts better and will also lay the foundation for the interview.

Also, do practice and visualize. For example, Once you have learned use cases, create use cases for your projects/area of work and get it checked. That will give you a lot of confidence.

Communication and presentation skills are also important. If you feel you need to improve in that area, it’s a good time to work on that as well. Join a course.

Basically, you need to put in the effort for all the skills to reach the desired level.

As specified previously, earning a certification can help you acquire & enhance these skills and potentially increase your eligibility for business analyst positions. Below are some highly recognized certifications in the field of business analysis offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) –


Certifications

  • Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) – For Instance, It is for individuals who are planning their career in business analysis and reflects that one has significant knowledge of business analysis concepts and techniques.

  • Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA) – It is for BA practitioners with 2-3 years of business analysis experience. So, It certifies that one possesses business analysis capabilities in terms of detailed knowledge and skillset.

  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) – Since, It is for seasoned BA professionals with 5+ years of business analysis experience and is a testimony to the fact that one has extensive know-how, skills and experience in the field of business analysis and is well equipped to work on most complex business initiatives.

Certifications

Moreover, attaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree or any other form of advanced education not only helps in acquiring some essential skills. It also helps meet the mandatory eligibility criterion of business analysis openings. Bachelor's degree in fields like finance, computer science, information management, or a similar field. For instance, It can prepare you for business analysis-specific job openings. So, a Master's degree in business administration, computer science, information management, or a similar field could help enhance your skills & knowledge, and give you a competitive advantage in the job market.


Step 5. Work On Projects to Gain Practical Business Analysis Skills


While you are in the process of acquiring skills or have already put in the best of your efforts. There is no better way to apply the learnings and even enhance the acquired skills than working on a practical project initiative. If you are already a working professional, try in order to explore the possibilities of gaining useful experience by performing a business analysis role or assisting a full-fledged business analyst. Hence, as you work on a real project, you are learning and practicing essential soft skills and hard skills that are required to perform business analysis in an effective manner.


Step 6. Reshape Your Resume


Resumes are windows to you and your personality. Make it count. An employer looks at the resume first in order to evaluate you. A good resume will help you in getting shortlisted for the interviews.

What Should Your Resume Include?


Build your LinkedIn profile as well. Employers look at your LinkedIn profile these days. Why should you have a LinkedIn profile?Don’t forget to provide the link for your LinkedIn profile in your resume. Upload your resume to the job sites and start applying.


Step 7. Prepare For The Interviews


In the software industry, we use the term Dry Run. A dry run is used to refer to trials before the actual go-live day. You should also use a dry run of interviews. Use a couple of interviews as dry runs. Use the experience to assess your preparedness.

I always used these strategies while searching for jobs. Believe me, it is very effective to prepare you for your best day.

All the best for your Business Analyst journey.

About Techcanvass


We are an Information Technology Certifications training Organization for professionals. It offers internationally recognized certifications in the fields of Project Management and Business Analysis. It is a premier Authorized training partner (ATP) of Project Management Institute (PMI), USA and a premier Endorsed Education Provider (EEP) of International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), Canada.


About Author


Author

Abhishek Srivastava
-Senior IT Professional , CBAP Certified

Abhishek Srivastava is a seasoned IT professional with diverse experience in Banking, Insurance, Utility and Education domains. Managing large accounts, Program management & Business Analysis has been his forte, having done so for customers like ICICI Bank, NTPC & many other International customers.

In the past, he has been associated with companies like Mastek and 3i Infotech Ltd (erstwhile ICICI Infotech Ltd). An NIT (Erstwhile REC) / IIM Kozhikode graduate, now as an entrepreneur, he is pursuing his dream of creating an organization for providing quality training in the fields of Project Management and Business Analysis. His other areas of interest are Business Analysis consulting and mentorship. Over the years, he has mentored and guided more than 1000 professionals

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