What is a Business Analyst and who is the ideal candidate?
Well, I guess the most simple answer would be someone who analyzes an organization. But it’s that, and so much more. It’s also becoming an extremely popular profession in the eyes of upcoming/recent college graduates. I would not even be able to put a number to the amount of times a student has come up to me at a career fair saying, “I noticed you have business analyst positions available, can you tell me more about it?” Although I don’t live the daily life of a business analyst, I’m a recruiter and am constantly on the hunt to hire them! And that would be next to impossible to do if I couldn’t put into simple terms what a business analyst does, and elaborate on the value behind the position.
So what’s the value behind hiring BAs? Here at ArgonDigital, our business analysts play many roles. I like to say they are consultants, “middle men”, architects, and great communicators. They bridge that common gap of communication between a business and IT (and of course depending on the organization the BA is working with, it can very well be outside of the IT industry too). Our philosophy here at ArgonDigital is that many projects fail because the business does not know what they need. Projects often fail due to missed or poor requirements. They know the product that they would like to see at the end, but there is much planning, foundation work, designing to work on first. BAs can help a business save time and money and relieve them from added stress- let us oversee your project lifecycle. Let us work with the software development teams, and figure out what changes need to be made along the way for the ideal product.
An advantage of becoming a BA, and especially here at ArgonDigital, is the wide variety of industries you can become familiar with. At ArgonDigital, you could be working on a project for a major bank for “x” amount of month, then roll onto a project for a major tech company here in town. So what does the ideal candidate have? The ideal candidate is smart, creative and can synthesize new information in a timely manner. As a BA you may be put on a project in an industry or organization you are not familiar with. Step 1, learn all about it! Figure out who does what, who are the decision makers, and what kind of tools and processes are currently in place. Business analysts are problem solvers. They’re not afraid to take on a challenge! What does the business need? What would the requirements be to solve this need? An ideal candidate has an analytical mind, and is able to break a complex problem into pieces, ask the right questions, and propose good solutions. It’s not just proposing solutions too, but being able to defend them as well! Business Analysts tend to have exceptional interpersonal skills. Being a great communicator and being approachable is key. For example you may have to listen to a programmer overseas but then turn around and tell a Director of IT what exactly is going on (and viceversa).
Our Business Analysts here at ArgonDigital might actually take on more senior level activities too such as planning the BA activities, managing the requirements, or even managing their own project. The BA position allows for many different approaches to the role.
I hope this gave some insight into what a business analyst does, and what a recruiter might look for if you are interested in starting a career in business analysis…