If you want hope… Many people, before becoming a Business Analyst know little about the role or the requirements needed to be successful in the role. They often fall into it or apply because it sounds exciting in the hope they will be successful.
So, if you’ve heard about being a Business Analyst, or read one of the many online resources, like the Business Analyst Guru website, you may be wondering how did they do it? Well, this article provides some great, practical tips to anyone who is hoping to become a Business Analyst. But doesn’t yet have the job title or experience to go with them.
So, here’s the deal…
If you’re doing an everyday office assistant role and want to progress. If you’ve moved into an entry level job after university or college just because you needed a job and want to ‘erm progress. Or even if you’re doing a skilled role and wish to grow in your field of expertise.
Then this article is definitely for you. So, here’s the 8 key tips that you can begin implementing immediately.
1. Understand the key things a Business Analyst does
The fact is:
Many people are undertaking BA activities in their day job without even knowing it.
So, having a basic understanding of what the role requires and what you may be doing if your job title was ‘Business Analyst’ is crucial for moving into that area.
Improving the way things are done, changing procedures for the better, and understanding what people want out of a system or process are all key tasks that you can expect to be doing as a BA.
Once you’ve got your understanding, then take a step back and think about how you might be doing these things already in your everyday work.
At the start of an ISEB qualification, the lecturer asks a class of 30 people if their job title is Business Analyst
About 15 people put their hand up to say yes.
He then asked the other 15 people what tasks they did in their role.
When he thought, their role included tasks of a Business Analyst – he told them so.
Once he’d finished going around the room, he asked the question “How many of you are doing the job of a business analyst”
This time, 28 of the 30 people put their hand up.
It just goes to show that 50% of people may not even know they are already doing the role of a BA.
It’s down to you to find it out!
2. Transform your Resume
Your resume is absolutely the most important part of YOU.
Here’s a detailed explanation of how you can make the transformation so that you have the perfect Business Analysts Resume.
But one of the most important points is about your job titles. Your job titles may have been Assistant / Administrator / Technician etc.
But if you add words like:
- Process Analyst
- Project admin
- Process Improvement
At the end of each job title, your resume will immediately shoot onto the shortlist of the recruiter.
So be creative and don’t forget to back the new titles up with a couple of sentences in the description of your roles.
3. Get involved in projects today
In large companies, there are always lots of projects going on. This is true even in small companies.
All you should do is ask your manager if there are any projects you can get involved in.
What’s the worst they can say – No, you don’t have time? Then you say “I’m happy to do it in my own time.
Working in your own time is honestly where you will learn the most about yourself while taking huge steps towards becoming an expert in your field.
So don’t sit there watching TV – get yourself motivated and get involved in some exciting, new pieces of work.
4. Always think about how you can improve what you are doing
If you think like this in your job anyway, you’re already in the making of becoming a successful BA.
Ultimately, don’t just sit there repeating the same job, in the same way, every time you do it. At work or at home, look for ways you can improve how you do your tasks.
If that means using Excel to make improvements, then do it. Or if it means getting others involved to help improve things, do that.
Either way, the faster you can make your tasks DONE, the more projects you will have time to get involved in at work.
And the more projects you can get involved in, the sooner you will be able to talk yourself into that all-important BA role.
5. Apply for graduate BA roles in Software companies
Are you fresh out of Uni? If so, look out for graduate opportunities in software development companies, business consulting companies or tech companies.
Doing a graduate scheme with these guys will undoubtedly give you a taster for working as a Business Analyst.
But that’s not all, if you then decide a BA role isn’t for you, you don’t have to do it forever.
Even more importantly, if you do decide you love it, you’ve already given yourself the experience and ultimately you’ve proved yourself to the people that matter…
Yes, the experienced Business Analysts.
6. Big up the little experience you do have
This is true even if you just want to succeed in your general career!
But here’s how you do it.
Fact: It’s easy to put yourself down
So instead of looking at a job specification saying –I don’t have that, I don’t have that.
Look at a job spec and think to yourself “How can I word my resume so I can show I’m able to deliver what they’re asking”
That way, you’ll be able to think positively about your own knowledge and experience.
7. Get Microsoft Visio (a process mapping tool)
I’m positive that 99% of BA’s will agree with me on this…
Microsoft Visio is a Business Analysts tool of choice. If you don’t have Visio, you can’t get a true understanding of the processes around you.
Because mapping out a process flow using Visio provides an easy way to make improvements. And even better? move boxes around like you could just never do in Excel or Word.
Once you have Visio on your computer, map out the steps of the tasks you do at work, analyze them and see how you can make them better.
However, don’t spend an age trying to get it absolutely perfect – get something down and tweak it as you go.
8. Make yourself busy – ALL THE TIME
This is absolutely vital.
Some say the art of a great Business Analyst is finding something to do when there’s NOTHING to do.
Yes, it’s true that some BA’s twiddle their thumbs waiting for lazy (shhh) stakeholders to get back to them. However, this is your time to thrive.
So, what should you be doing?
INVESTIGATE, INVESTIGATE, INVESTIGATE
Find something, anything to review and get a better understanding of – read documents, play with systems or speak to experts. It doesn’t matter as long as your improving your knowledge in your domain.
So, there you have it, some motivating, practical tips you can use to become a successful Business Analyst.