When it comes to embarking on a new journey, it helps to have a little guidance to shine a light on the path ahead, to help with clarifying confusing concepts and jargon, and give you a little confidence when you’re questioning yourself.
In case you’re new here – and to the Business Analyst role, in general – I’m Jeremy Aschenbrenner, also known as The BA Guide, and I’m so glad you’re here! The inspiration behind why I created The BA Guide was to help aspiring BA’s start their career off on the right foot and to help ambitious BA’s level up their skills and, ultimately, their careers.
In this article, I’ll outline some key skills that you should hone early in your career and provide you with an outline of some great foundational courses and resources to start with.
Is the Business Analyst Role Right For You?
Not everyone is suited for the BA role. Like any occupation, there are personalities and innate characteristics that are better aligned with the requirements of the job than others. The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) provides a great guide to the traits that most closely align with the challenges and abilities of professionals. Here are a few that they highlight:
The IIBA brings a very important point to the forefront: there are few educational degrees dedicated specifically for the Business Analyst role, and the career path to the occupation itself isn’t always clearly defined. That being said, many successful BAs enjoy paving their own way into the role and are comfortable with some level of ambiguity. I can, however, offer some guidance on helpful paths to take to get you prepared for the role. Check them out in this video here!
Strong Communication Skills
Having strong communications skills is one of the most crucial traits of a successful Business Analyst. As the IIBA highlights, “BAs are consistently communicating with clients, and must do so effectively to ensure strategies are completely understood and properly implemented.” What’s more, BA’s are constantly communicating with parties at multiple stakeholder levels, both internally and externally, so clarity and organization in communication is key.
Natural Problem Solvers
One of the responsibilities of the Business Analyst – and really, one of the aspects of the role that tends to draw professionals in – is the problem solving that’s involved. Business Analysts are constantly focused on solving problems – within teams, with processes and systems, and for organizations trying to reach identified goals.
I agree with all of those, but have a few more I’d add to the list of essential skills that BAs need to hone:
Be A Confident Negotiator
Not everyone sees eye to eye on all matters when it comes to business. Sometimes stakeholders clash when it comes to needs and wants, how to get the final goal, resources to invest in, and other factors. A skilled BA should be able to help negotiate between multiple parties and aid in finding a resolution or compromise that will bring the most value to the organization and its customers as a whole.
When I say ‘facilitator’, I don’t mean just booking meeting rooms and running meetings. Being a great facilitator means encouraging collaborative conversation, asking thought-provoking questions, and walking away from the meeting with useful insights.
For more critical skills to hone in your early years as a Business Analyst, take a look here!
Where to Get Started
So you possess a good amount of the Business Analyst skills I mentioned above and want to know how to get a strong start on your BA career. I can help with that too! There are some great Business Analyst courses right here on The BA Guide website to help you build a strong foundational skillset for your career.
Business Analysis Fundamentals
Learn all of the crucial foundational concepts that you need to know to thrive in your BA career with my Business Analysis Fundamentals course (discounted for a limited time!).
Agile Fundamentals: Scrum, Kanban, and Scrumban
Help organizations make changes faster, more cost effectively, and more efficiently, while also becoming an invaluable member of the team. Check out my everything Agile course here!
If these courses have intrigued you, I’ve recently put together another article that details a path of valuable courses and resources both here, on The BA Guide website, and elsewhere!
I hope this has given you some direction on where and how to start your career as an aspiring and ambitious Business Analyst. If you need a little more convincing that the work is worth the rewards, take a look at this article I wrote about the Top 7 Reasons You Should Become A Business Analyst! Spoiler: the Business Analyst salary is definitely one of those reasons. Happy reading!
– Written by Jeremy Aschenbrenner, The BA Guide