Frequently Asked Questions

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Business Analysis Career Advice

It’s important to start by learning the foundational concepts of business analysis. Business analysis is such a wide field and covers many industries, so to help prepare you fully for the highest number of roles, you want to lay a foundation of knowledge with a little bit of information spread across a lot of different topics. This will help you form a well-rounded information base, and help you learn what your interests are.

It’s possible to find this information on blogs and webinars, but that can be a hit-or-miss approach. That’s why I’ve created the Business Analysis Fundamentals course. You’ll learn about essential BA concepts, methodologies, elicitation techniques, and how to work with stakeholders. Learn the integral components of business analysis to thrive in your career!

Want more details? Check out Jeremy’s video response, What’s The First Step I Should Take to Become a Business Analyst? 

This answer can be broken down into three parts:

  1. Do you need a college degree to become a Business Analyst?

Yes, to become a Business Analyst, you really do need to have some type of college degree. The only time you can get a Business Analyst position without a college degree is when you have worked at a company for a long period of time, and you transition into a Business Analyst role as a natural progression of your original duties.

  1. What level of degree do you need?

I recommend a 4-year Bachelor’s degree. This will help your resume to meet the minimum requirements of the automated recruitment process.

  1. What should your degree be?

There are four key areas that could be relevant:

    • any type of business degree.
    • any type of IT degree
    • any type of management degree
    • a less common area is any math degree

 

Want more details? Check out Jeremy’s video response, What College Degree Do I Need To Become A Business Analyst?

There are so many Business Analyst roles and hybrid roles that cover a wide range of differing responsibilities. A basic distinction is that the Business Analyst role could be leaning more towards the business, or more towards IT.

A Business Analyst role leaning more towards the business will be involved in the processes, goals and objectives of the business, identifying problems, and uncovering opportunities, as well as being involved in case studies and research.

A Business Analyst role leaning more towards IT will be involved in software projects: defining the requirements, and translate the business’s needs into technical documents, determining hardware systems, etc. If you’re interested in heading down this stream, being a technical person/having more technical skills may help. 

Want more details? Check out Jeremy’s video response, Do I Need To Be Technical To Become a Business Analyst?

You need to gain relevant experience you can utilize both in your resume and in the interview. This experience can be gained from taking online courses (such as those we offer here at The BA Guide), volunteering for local churches and non-profit organizations, or simply practicing your skills through the guided direction of a Business Analyst. 

In addition, be sure you’re applying for positions that don’t require experience. If the job posting is asking for 2-3 years of BA experience and you have 0 years, it is probably not worth your time to jump into that application process. Instead, find those Junior BA or Associate BA roles that ask for 0-1 years of experience and show them why you’re the best candidate for the job.

A good way to get started is to hook up with a recruiting company and look for a contract position. These positions are generally a little easier to get into as there is a definitive end to them, but they can provide you with valuable experience and potentially give you the opportunity to be hired by that company if you impress them.

Due to the popularity and growth of the Business Analyst role, there are many companies and organizations out there offering various Business Analyst certifications. Some, like the IIBA and PMI, are highly touted and recognized as the gold standard of the profession. Others are more learning websites, including Udemy, that offer certifications after completing various training or courses. To better explain, let’s break the certification down into two pieces, the learning and the actual certification.

Learning – This is the most important aspect and should be the reason you’re taking the training to begin with. Ultimately, you’re getting a certification to show your capabilities of accomplishing something. Without the learning, the certification is useless.

Paper Certification – The actual certification can be good to help you land your first Business Analyst position or to help you advance within the company, but only if it is recognizable. While my Business Analyst Fundamentals course certification proves that you learned valuable knowledge, techniques, and skills, it’s not as highly regarded or recognized as the IIBA’s CBAP. With that being said, the learning and practical knowledge gained from the Business Analyst Fundamentals course will provide you more value than solely passing a test.

If you are an aspiring Business Analyst, your focus should not be on getting a piece of paper that says you can perform a set of standards. Instead, you want that certification program to teach the knowledge and skills to effectively execute within your projects. With that being said, IIBA has a new entry level certification that can help you standout among other aspiring Business Analysts. Check out the FAQ, “What Business Analyst Certification Should I Get?”

If you’re a current Business Analyst, certifications can help open up doors for promotions as it shows the company you are dedicated and willing to continually increase your value to projects, but keep in mind: your performance in the position will play a bigger part.

The two most recognizable organizations for Business Analysis certifications are the IIBA and the PMI. Certifications from either of these two organizations are highly touted in Business Analysis. Currently, I would say the IIBA is ahead in companies adopting their standards, but the PMI is a more mature organization and are pushing hard into the market. You really can’t go wrong with either one of them.

New or Aspiring Business Analysts – Due to various certification prerequisites, if you are an aspiring or new Business Analyst, you really only have one choice, IIBA’s ECBA (Entry Certificate in Business Analysis). This certification shows you have the base knowledge and skills to perform well in a Business Analyst role. The best part: there are very limited eligibility requirements, none of which require you to currently be a Business Analyst. If you’re looking to land your first Business Analyst job or recently landed you first BA job, this certification can be a differentiator when the employer is comparing you with other potential candidates for the job opening or a promotion.

Current Business Analysts – For people who have been working as Business Analysts for a number of years, there are more options for you to choose from:

  • CCBA (IIBA) – Designed for Business Analysts with 3-5 years of experience
  • CBAP (IIBA) – Designed for Business Analysts with 5+ years of experience (considered by many to be the gold standard)
  • PBA (PMI) – Designed for Business Analysts with 2-4 years of experience (PMI’s first Business Analyst certification)

Udemy eLearning Platform

Yes, Jeremy has made a step-by-step guide to walk you through all the features and controls on the Udemy course page. You can take the tour here.

Yes, click on the closed captions icon on the bottom right of the video to turn on the closed caption feature and select your desired language.

Yes, you can use the Playback Rate feature at the bottom of the video player.

When a lecture has resources associated with it, there will be a resources button in the course content panel under that specific lecture name. Click on the resources button. A list of the downloadable resources will be displayed. Click on the files you want and they will download onto your device.

Yes, you can click on the transcript icon on the bottom right of the video player. When the video plays, a blue highlight will move along to show where in the discussion it is.

To close the transcript, simply hit the X button.

Yes, you can use the Bookmark feature at the bottom of the video player. Doing so will also allow you to add notes or additional information that can be useful in the future. A gold marker in the timeline indicates the bookmarked section of the video. 

The Bookmarks tab under the video shows a list of the bookmarked sections of the video. Click on the link and it will take you directly to that part of the video so that you are able to go back and reference that bookmarked material immediately.

Online Learning

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

Courses include a combination of video lectures, downloadable handouts, quizzes, exercises, and more. For specifics on what’s included in each course, please visit the individual course pages.

Jeremy, The BA Guide, will be available to answer any questions.

It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you start and when you finish. 

Whether you want to break up the content and take it over a few weeks, or you have some learning time available and want to knock it out in a few afternoons, the choice is yours.

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you’re unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Business Analysis Teachings

A Business Analyst’s role is to enable change by defining organizational needs and helping to recommend and implement solutions that create some type of value for the business. Often Business Analysts form a bridge between the operational side of the business and the technical side of the business.

Examples:

  1. Help a company adopt a new piece of software.
  2. Streamline processes and recommend new and different ways to accomplish tasks more efficiently and/or cost effectively.

 

Want more details? Check out Jeremy’s video response, What is a Business Analyst and what do they do?

It really differs based on the organization. Some organizations align the BA with the business owner. Others have the BA playing more of a SME (Subject Matter Expert) role. Regardless of the title, the BA is there to elicit and contribute to the requirements to ensure the end result will meet the business needs.

The concepts between Visio and Draw.io are very similar, so what you learn in one should translate pretty well to the other. With that being said, Visio is certainly a more robust program and therefore it will have some additional features that Draw.io doesn’t have.

My personal opinion is to use Draw.io with confidence and if a company hires you that uses Visio, you’ll likely be able to watch a couple YouTube videos to understand the nuances of that application and you’ll be successful. I’ve used Lucid Charts a bit and found it pretty good as well. We prefer Draw.io as it is completely free and offers a very similar tool set as Lucid Charts.

Unfortunately, this does happen. Here would be my typical response:

  1. Identify the root cause reason for the slowdown:
    • What caused it?
    • Why did it happen?
    • Are there other areas down the line where we will also be running into similar issues knowing what we know now?
    • What are some possible solutions?
    • Are there any roadblocks or hindrances that can be removed?
    • Could it have been prevented?

 

  1. Determine the impact on the project:
    • Delayed schedule
    • Design change
    • Budget adjustment
    • Team velocity change

 

  1. Determine the next steps:
    • Identify roadblocks
    • Define possible solutions to be implemented
    • Allocate more dollars
    • Allocate more resources

 

  1. Take action on the next steps:
    • Present potential solutions – have collaborative internal team discussions to fully understand the possible solutions before approaching them
    • Make an internal decision – take the necessary action to resolve the issue

 

  1. Inform the client of the facts. Explain what you found.
    • What happened?
    • Why it happened?
    • Anticipated impact on the project
    • What was done to fix it
    • What solution options there are (change schedule, adjust the budget, remove features, reduce scope, etc.)

 

  1. Take any final actions necessary to resolve the issue

  2. Discuss this issue again in your next lessons learned meeting and take actions to prevent this from happening again – could be at the end of the iteration or the end of the project.

Every company has its own process. Some companies don’t have Business Analysts engaged at all before the idea becomes a project and the project charter has been created. This usually happens when the Business Analysts are overworked and have many projects on their plate. 

Not engaging a Business Analyst from the beginning defeats the purpose of the Business Analyst. They should be there to call out red flags and make sure the business is looking at things from all angles. They may not agree upon the solution that has been recommended. 

Other organizations have Business Analysts working with the business to help identify those problems and uncover those opportunities, and then using them to create the business case and find the sponsor to move the project forward. 

Having the Business Analyst engaged in the initiation of the project and chasing down the details to that extent is not a good use of their time. 

The best way to utilize a Business Analyst is to have them working with a business leader. For example a Senior Manager or Director. The Business Analyst would act as a consultant to define and refine the idea and put it into a business case. The Business Analyst would then sell the value of that idea to the business. Once the project is approved, a Project Manager would be brought in and be responsible for creating the project charter and use the Business Analyst as a consultant in that process. The Project Manager would also be responsible for ensuring the project is completed successfully. 

Want more details? Check out Jeremy’s video response, What is the Business Analyst’s Responsibility When a Project is Being Initiated?