Interested in a career in Business Analysis?

We interviewed two business analysts from different specialisms to get their perspective on the role. There’s some excellent advice in here for a new BA, so get reading!

Start your own Business Analysis journey today with the Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis from ITSM Zone – learn more here.

Meet our Experts

Peter Hynes currently works as a Technical Business Analyst within the financial services sector. He has thirteen years’ experience within the legal and financial sectors and has spent the last five years specializing as a Business Analyst. Prior to his current role as an analyst he has worked as a large loss claims handler, claims team leader and as an in house training officer within the legal sector.

Charlotte Jones currently works as a Business Analyst within Financial Services.  She has worked in Financial Services for 17 years and started to focus on changes and projects 14 years ago – officially moving into the Business Analyst role 11 years ago.  She is focussed on Operational change and process improvement.

So, how did you start on your BA career?

Pete – I was working as a corporate trainer for a law firm. There was a new computer system being introduced to the firm and I was viewed as a subject matter expert (SME) by the organization installing it. Over the course of that project I developed a skillset akin to some of the BA work I do today. I really enjoyed that work, so I started to do further study and achieved some BA qualifications, starting out as a junior BA before moving into a full BA role.
Charlotte – It was kind of by accident! I was working for a company that had no BAs, there was a big IT change that I was asked to support. I found that I quite enjoyed it and I was quite good at it!

What’s the best thing about being a BA?

Pete – The daily variation, no two projects are the same. It’s not monotonous, it’s always interesting and you’re always learning about new areas of the organization and the job.
Charlotte – The variety, you get to see what’s going on and what changes are in place before they happen. You can influence changes, such as those being put into the system, and improve things for people you’ve worked with or other people in the organization.

What aspects of the job do you enjoy?

Pete – The work is highly interactive, you get to work with a variety of people across the organization. I get satisfaction from breaking down complex processes in order to help facilitate the direction the business takes.
Charlotte – Speaking to people. I love sitting in a workshop and working with people from different areas of the business, understanding what they do and how they impact each other, how the changes we make impact them. Being a bit nosey and bossy goes together quite well!

Describe a typical day.

Pete – There’s no such thing as a typical day. You could be analysing data, facilitating workshops, working with project managers or developers to define requirements, writing up requirements, defining use cases and system cases. It depends on what stage of the project you’re working on. One of the best things about the role is that no two days are the same.
Charlotte – There’s no average day. Depending where you are in a project you may have a workshop booked with all your stakeholders gathering together for the requirements. You would need to do pre-preparation for that, so you understand what the changes are intended to be and so you have the right questions in place and can make sure the room is set up correctly. You should follow up with minutes from the meeting, making sure everyone’s happy with those and then start to document requirements. Alongside that you could have small changes coming in for process that have no real impact on IT development that you need to be involved in. There’s no typical day, it’s always interesting.

Why are BAs important?

Pete – We really help a business to solve projects and make decisions more effectively. It’s very useful for a business to have someone in house who can go and research new developments in the industry, identify problems they have that they may not fully be aware of, and be able to bring that research back and present it in such a way as to help inform the decision making process.
Charlotte – BAs are the middlemen. Change BAs work closely with the doers of the business, the operations guys, people who speak to customers, work finance systems, and understand all that. We are the middle men to IT, so we sit down with those people and understand what they do and articulate it so that any changes to be developed from an IT point of view are affected properly, taking into account the voice of the business. We also act as an oversight of the whole business, as some changes may affect different areas differently so it’s important that we can balance that.

What kind of salary can a new BA expect?

Pete – Depends on how qualified you are from going into the role. For example, some people transition to a BA from a Project Management role. If you are coming out of university or a junior position, junior can expect to earn between 25K and 28K, more experienced BAs, can expect to be earning between 35-60 depending on industry and country.
Charlotte – The salary’s massively variable depending on location, specialism, and the type of business. A new BA’s salary can generally range from 24k-25k. A specialized BA with experience in a distinct niche field can earn up to 60K.

Any career tips?

Pete – BAs have a lot of prospects, some are generalists and enjoy working with processes and people, others are more technical and enjoy working closely with solutions architects, and some work across the board. For example, some specialize on changes to the financial areas of the business, some focus on changes around marketing or some want to focus on all of those specialisms. If you specialize, there’s routes into management in those departments, or you could look to become a solutions architect and see how to define the end solution to a product, or move into project management or management departments or teams.
Charlotte – Take every opportunity to learn about the business you’re in, learn about different areas of that business, different change methodologies and the new ideas from the BA world. You can self-develop, take training courses and pick things you’re interested in. For example, if you see things coming through that are regulatory focused and you feel that’s a specialism you’re interested in, it’s worth learning about it as if you become a specialist it will make you more valuable across the business.

Finally, what would you like to say to a new BA or someone about to start a BA course?

Pete – Don’t feel like you need to use everything you learn on a course on every project. Learn which tools to use for a particular piece of work or analysis, each tool will add value. But learning what to use and when is just as important as knowing the tools. Autonomy is important in a BA role, you need to be organized and manage time. The most important thing is to ask questions, even if you feel silly. If you don’t ask, you may not have the right information further down in the project. The most important feature of a BA is to be able to deal with nuance and fine detail, this will save you problems later!
Charlotte – There’s no such thing as a stupid question. The best question is why, and you’ll find yourself asking that all the time. It’s a fantastic job, it’s an interesting job. You will never be bored, you will be run off your feet, but you’ll learn every day.

Start your own Business Analysis journey today with the Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis from ITSM Zone – learn more here.

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