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How to Become a Business Analyst

So you've been reading about Business Analysis and feel that a career in this exciting and varied field is for you, but you're not quite sure where to start? Don't worry, we've compiled a few tips below and we're always happy to help with more specific queries, or to recommend appropriate support and training - just drop us a line.

Step One: Is Business Analysis the career for you?

Every business has a reason for being in existence: be it to land the first private spacecraft on the moon, provide industry-leading software products, or run the best ice cream shop in Manchester. In striving to achieve this "mission", an organisation will need to do many different things, including creating new, and improving existing, products, processes and ways of working.

The Business Analyst (often abbreviated to BA) is skilled in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation in relation to its environment and competition. They will help the organisation to take advantage of opportunities by formulating options for change and facilitating the implementation of that change. To learn more, see What is Business Analysis?

The experience of being a BA can vary considerably between industries and depends on the level and type of BA role. You can probably imagine that the environment and issues involved in selling ice cream will be quite different to those for landing vehicles on the moon! Nonetheless, the core skills and qualities required to do the job are relatively consistent. If you enjoy problem solving, are analytically-minded, observant, objective, and a good listener and communicator, then you may just have the makings of a great Business Analyst. Why not find out What Makes a Good Business Analyst?

Step Two: Get the BA skills

So you've decided that Business Analysis is the career for you - what next?

Experience: Shadow a Business Analyst

If you are already in a job, perhaps you can arrange some Business Analysis experience without making any drastic changes. Speak with your manager and see if there is an opportunity to shadow an existing Business Analyst, perhaps just for a short time every week. There may even be the option to take on a Junior Business Analyst role, working under the guidance of an experienced BA. If either option is open to you, grab it with both hands and immerse yourself in the world of a Business Analyst. Not only will this start to teach you some of the basic skills required, it will also give you experience of the day-to-day life of a BA in a the real world.

Following this, or if the opportunity for in-work experience is not available, you may wish to consider formal Business Analysis training. This will build on the basic skills you may have and start to develop you into a fully-fledged Business Analyst (but don't worry, no prior experience is required for training).

Fast Track: Business Analyst Training

If you're just starting out or looking for a career change, few routes into the profession are as direct as Business Analysis Certification. In the UK, the most widely recognised qualification is the BCS Diploma in Business Analysis. Consisting of four modules, which can be taken at a pace to suit you, the BCS Business Analysis qualification covers the core skills needed to be Business Analyst. Most TCC courses include a real-world case study and all contain plenty of opportunity for practical work to get you up to speed as quickly and effectively as possible.

A Business Analyst certification demonstrates that you have the skills and knowledge required to do the job. Of course, like any new skill, as you gain experience you will become more comfortable, practiced and efficient with your work. You shouldn't expect to walk straight off the training and into a Senior Business Analyst role, but having the qualification is a great foundation and an important signal to potential employers that you are serious, enthusiastic and committed to the role.

Read more about Business Analysis Certification and Training.

Step Three: Find a Business Analyst role / job

Sometimes, you may be able to secure a role within your current organisation - do take the time to investigate this option as it can often be an easier route into the career. It is possible that you have been funded through BA training by your employer, with a view to taking on a specific role. In this case you may not have to "find" the position at all! This happens more often than you might think and is always worth investigating!

If you're looking to secure a role in a new organisation, there are many different approaches you can take:

If, as is likely, you will be interviewed for your new role, you may find it useful to get an idea of some of the Business Analyst Interview Questions that might be asked. Remember that every interview is different and it has been shown time and time again that organisational fit and personality are valued above pure knowledge. You need to demonstrate that you know your stuff, but don't forget to also show your wider qualities and how you would add value to the company.

Step Four: Do the Job!

Congratulations - you're a Business Analyst! But don't stop there - like any job, it's now about gaining as much experience as you can. Every day spent as a BA will bring new challenges, improved knowledge and the opportunity to develop real world strategies for enabling successful outcomes. No matter how much you learn remember that, whilst you will find similarities across your work, every project has a different set of objectives and risks; the most important thing you can do as a Business Analyst is to listen and learn - approach each assignment with an open mind.

If you want to get a head start, why not take a look at What Makes a Good Business Analyst. Also, remember that we offer a number of in-work support options such as coaching, mentoring and consultancy. We can offer support at an individual, project or team level - just get in touch for a friendly chat.

In the meantime, all of us here at TCC wish you the best of luck in your new career!

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