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Professional Development for a Business Analyst

We’ve been hiring like Gangbusters this year at Seilevel. In order to hire talented people, we need to be competitive with our compensation packages but we also need to map out our professional development for those who may be unfamiliar with the field. Our model of positions and promotions is fairly simple:

When one is formally introduced to the company, we try to elucidate the differences between positions as well as distinguish expectations between each. The requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to progress to the next level are cut and dry, there is no ambiguity about it.

There are different skills necessary to be competent in each of the positions, and one needs to have shown some professional development prior to advancing to the next stage.  As one gains more experience and her knowledge increases, she is more likely to advance.

There are many ways one can gain experience. The first is the most simple: time. The more time you spend doing something, the more experience you have with it. Malcolm Gladwell argues that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Another way is to become involved with your local IIBA chapter.  There are countless books and articles online on professional development for BAs. With a bit of effort, everyone can advance.

Business Analysts don’t yet have a formal, widely accepted professional development program available. However, the CBAP is gaining ground and may become to the Business Analyst community what the PMP is to the project management profession.

2 Responses to Professional Development for a Business Analyst

  1. Pat Gustafson July 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    There are many universities who have system engineering master programs. also, INCOSE has certification for systems engineering at different levels, beginner, veteran and expert. Or, is there a large difference between Business Analysis requirements and technical requirements, where these would not be a logical path? I’m new as an SE although have 15+ years as an engineer, so i am still learning this discipline.

  2. Kristin August 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Hi Pat!

    Technical requirements are a specific type of requirement. I would consider technical requirements to be performance, reliability, and availability related. We consider these to be non-functional requirements as they do not specify system behavior (from a user input) or an operation required to meet one or more features. As a BA, you’re going to be writing functional and non-functional requirements (which includes these technical requirements). So you can see that as a BA you need the technical requirements, but that’s not all. The BA’s job is more inclusive of the rest of the system.

    If you’re interested in getting into Business Analysis, go for it! You can absolutely make the logical path from writing technical requirements to the dealing with requirements with a broader area: the entire system.

    Kristin

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