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Career Progression for Business Analysts

This is an excerpt from a discussion on ModernAnalyst.com about the Real world examples of BA career progression.

Idevanoff,

Thanks for listing these, however I am already aware of each and everyone one of these proposed career moves. I’ve read about them endlessly and to me they sound like something a BA Apologist would come up with (this is not aimed at you, just my general thoughts about how these so called career moves are pitched to any current BA). I’ve been aware of titles and roles such as Lead BA/Product Manager/Software Architect etc for over 5 years now but have yet to find any BA actually move into this role. What is your own personal position at the moment?

Regarding the role of a Business Architect – I too find this role very very interesting. Not too long ago (last year) I actually interviewed (3 phases) for just this role in a very large government organization, only to be turned down last minute for shady/as yet unknown reasons that were never properly explained. To me, this role is a natural evolution of a BA and I know of only one person who has successfully moved into this position (considered both a senior level role, high risk, high paying, good exposure etc). I search the job sites in this region pretty diligently and in 3 years have only found 2 adverts for this role. It is in a rare and often rarely understood role, though I have read extensively about it (plus the BABOK 1.6 has an entire section about Business Architecture which is pretty enlightening).

My purpose of initiating is this discussion however is not to be briefed on the possibilities of what a BA can evolve into, which I believe are at best theoretical extrapolations of the maturity of this role, but ACTUAL, REAL examples of people who have progressed into something bigger, better, more meaningful and challenging.

Here was my response:

At Seilevel we specialize in gathering requirements for Fortune 1000 companies. Im not sure that project manager or software architect are a good fit as a career path. Software architects need to have the technical background and project managers dont have the same creativity.

Our career path is as follows, Requirements Analyst (1-2 years experience), Product Manager (2-5 years), Senior Product Manager, Requirements Architect

People who have worked for us have gone on to work as product managers for companies like Google and Amazon. They typically make on the order of 120K+. Our salary range is from around 40K-140K. For jobs after “Business Analyst” product manager is by far the best fit. However, we dont call our people business analysts because of the limited career path that the job title has. For internal IT projects we use IT product manager. In a nutshell, their job is to ensure end user adoption and end user satisfaction and treat their IT project like a product.

Requirements Analyst – can execute specific requirements tasks like mapping requirements to process flows, looking for inconsistencies or gaps, perform manual traceability etc. Does not work directly with clients

Product Manager – can take specific features and determine how they need to work, works with subject matter experts 1 on 1, works with individual contributors

Senior Product Manager – can take an entire product and ensure that the features are consistent with the vision. Can work with large facilitation sessions. Works with senior managers and some directors, can cut scope based on the business objectives

Requirements Architect – can elicit business objectives from VP level executives, can ensure that business stakeholders agree to only the scope that meets the business objectives, can elicit corporate strategy from executives and use that to drive software portfolios and high level projects. Can implement requirements processes to a large organization.

Either our product manager or senior product manager levels map to product managers at other companies. Our requirements architects would be director level and above executives at other companies.

Hope this helps!

Do you have other suggestions on career progression for business analyst’s? Please let me know.

One Response to Career Progression for Business Analysts

  1. Auguste Comte April 9, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    I have recently trained as a BA and has a professional certificate: however apart from soft skills like good general communication skills, I feel like a fish out of water, in spite of the mountains of literature I have read. How do I get my first BA job?

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