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How to plan your career as a business analyst

Aaron Serrhat
Business analyst: it’s not exactly one of those when-I-grow-up-I-want-to-be jobs but it can certainly be a lucrative, interesting and long career – if you follow the right path.

Business analysts (or BAs) are responsible for analysing a business’s processes and scrutinising how they work. They then create answers to specific problems by providing technological solutions and building a business case for improvements.

But you already know this, right? What you want to find out is what’s next? Where this role can take you – and how far you can take this role. 

Climbing the business analyst career ladder

Whether you started work as a software developer, technical support or infrastructure specialist, or are nearing the end of your studies, you’ll be keen to make your way up the Business analyst career ladder. Here are some of the routes you can take.

Graduate to business analyst

If you are coming straight out of university with a degree in information systems, business or accounting, you may want to bridge the gap into a role with a business analyst training programme. At Capita we offer a two-year programme that provides you with key skills and industry recognised accreditation on which you can base your future career. Find out more about the Novus graduate IT business analyst opportunities we offer. 

Developer to business analyst

Perhaps you’re already working as a software developer. If so, there will come a time when you need a new challenge. You will have a wealth of transferable skills – communication, analysis and data mining – that can give you a big advantage in a business analyst role. Completing an industry-recognised business analyst training or certification will add another string to your bow.

Industry professional to business analyst

Maybe you have business industry knowledge and expertise or specific technical and systems knowledge. Either way, having dedicated industry knowledge is always going to appeal to recruiters looking to fill a business analyst vacancy.

Choosing your own career path

There is no fixed route when it comes to choosing a business analyst career path, which is a good and a bad thing. On one hand, it means you have the opportunity to blaze a trail for the Business analysts of the future to follow. On the other, it may also mean you feel unsure about how to take your career in the right direction.

If you want to plan your career as a business analyst, there are some simple steps you can follow:
  • Focus on the core skills required to take you to the next level. Skills might include critical thinking, documentation, communication, analysis or visual modelling. Hone the right skill base and you will be able to establish yourself as a solid contributor in any business anaylst role.
  • Don't disregard a more lateral career move. This could mean moving forward from a project management role to business analysis- or vice-versa. Think outside the box and see how your competencies can take yout o new levels. 
  • Aim high. There are plenty of senior-level business analyst roles that present new challenges and oppertunities. There are also many career options that will take you beyond business analysis all the way to CEO or CIO

What makes a successful business analyst?

The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) has set out clear categories that guide you up the business analyst career ladder. According to the IIBA, these are the key competencies that business analysts (whatever their level) bring to every project: 

Analytical thinking and problem-solving
Behavioural characteristics
Business knowledge
Communication skills
Interaction skills
Software applications

If you think you have the skills to match these competencies let us help you take your business analyst career to new heights. Send us your CV today and one of our consultants will be in touch with any suitable opportunities. 

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