Business Analyst Career Path Qualifications?

redrustie, Jan 29, 1:03am
I'd like to do a Business Analyst, helping identify company requirements, going between programmers and the clients, testing and training... ... and i'm currently looking at different courses to enable me to go down this route. I was looking at doing a Developers Diploma that cover sql, database development, some programming languages, possibly some Windows and Web software development (i'd be in a position to then take the relevant MS exams as well)... ... but i've been told that the best route might be to do a more Network Engineering diploma, that covers hands-on computer work, Client support and Network & Server Administration... ... to take me down the Helpdesk route and, hopefully, move onto a developer role afterwards.

Can anyone give me any guidance on this? Are employers likely to employ on a developer's diploma or is the Helpdesk route the best?

Any advice gratefully received! Thanks

redrustie, Jan 29, 9:53am
Anyone please?

redrustie, Jan 30, 9:16am
Trying again to see if there's anyone with any views or advice?

dunedin_ree, Jan 30, 9:24am
I'm in the industry and I don't understand clearly what a business analyst *does*. Could you explain? Would one need actual programming skills?

hammerer, Jan 30, 10:07am
#4 Typically "business analyst" type roles are in both IT and non-IT business units to specify the requirements for business systems. As some business systems don't require computer systems a business analyst role may have nothing to do with computers but that is unlikely nowadays.

#1 In organisations I've worked for (up to 10, 000+ NZ employees), business analysts were usually recruited with relevant experience in the business or degree-level technical qualifications.

The hardest part is getting into jobs. Partly because recruitment agencies and most employers like easily understood labels. So see what the requirements are for business analyst roles to see what qualifications are in fashion.

It sounds like you don't want to be a business analyst but a developer/programmer. If that is the case then go look at that not business analysis.

Also find out what you are best suited to. It's probably no use going into business analysis or programming if you aren't logical or structured in your thinking. For example, I had a colleague in IT (with a degree) who had literary bent so we counselled her to move into marketing. She was successful in a year and soon moved into PR - she would never have got above low level business analyst or programmer.

redrustie, Jan 30, 10:51am
Many thanks for the response, one of the descriptions i've looked up (as well as lots of conversations with people in the business) seems to indicate the business analyst looks at the requirements of the clients/business, puts together specs, ensures requirements are met and does the training for the system, here aspx? id0=103&id1=88D0
B82D-F243-48F0-BD07-9AA3AC7178D8 and here aspx? id0=10103&id1=88

redrustie, Jan 30, 10:55am
Dunedin_ree, i think it differs between companies but essentially my understanding is a systems analyst is more of a programmer and a business analyst has to understand the differences between systems, what they may be able to offer but not necessarily indepth programming knowledge, but i could be wrong!

dunedin_ree, Jan 30, 11:08am
This is what I thought but I got confused when you talked about using HelpDesk and Programming as pathways into that career. I wouldn't think either would be necessary.

I manage IT projects. I'm not a programmer and I don't need to be. I also gather and write requirements. I'm not saying programming won't help but it seems a little over the top.

redrustie, Jan 31, 12:14am
Do you also provide the training for the projects dunedin_ree? Would you mind telling me what you did to get your job? The diploma i'm looking at isn't indepth, just gives background knowledge for database development, project lifecycle and programming, but maybe it's not the right course? The only reason for mentioning Helpdesk work is because 2 places who offer diploma's both said that doing a Network diploma and doing Helpdesk would be the best way of going into an analyst role, but i don't want to go down that route unless i have to!

redrustie, Jan 31, 12:15am
Maybe i should word my question completely differently? What do i need to do (qualifications and jobwise) to become a Business analyst (or like role)?

dunedin_ree, Jan 31, 12:38am
No, we have trainers to do the training. I'm not a "business analyst" or a pure project manager, though: managing projects is just part of my job.

To me mixing up business analyst/training/helpdesk sounds like something you'd only do in a very small organisation.

redrustie, Jan 31, 12:58am
The helpdesk thing was just to start off and then move into the developing and analyst sides, but it doesn't sound like you agree that that's the right route to go? Wóuld you mind saying what your role is and how you got into it?

kalnovitch, Jan 31, 6:54am
There is an organisation where you can also sit a BA certification through here in NZ... you might want to look that up and maybe ask them about what sort of training/qualifications you should look at. I wouldn't have thought you would explicitly need programming experience in order to be a BA, potentially just a really strong background on process improvement and requirements analysis? -shrugs.

kiwipippa, Jan 31, 8:46am
I am a BA and the way I see it is that the role is BUSINESS analyst, not SYSTEMS analyst. I put requirements together from a business perspective eg (a VERY high level example) "system must be able to record customer contacts, from phone, web ... . ". It is then up to the development team to tell us HOW this will be done (eg language, forms etc)- then to make it happen if we all agree.

There is often extensive business process change that must be organised as well. eg the way the business does something must change to fit the new system.

I also test - usually overseeing the UAT rather than system testing. ie checking that the system meets the BUSINESS need - not just that it doesn't have bugs.

I got into the role after extensive business experience, and I have a degree in Info Systems (not programming). I couldn't programme if you paid me, but you need to have a logical mind. There are various methodolgy courses around, process improvement etc. These would be of more value than programming. But you need to be sure it isn't a SYSTEMS analyst you want to be. And I can't see any connection between Helpdesk and BA work. We pass off to the help desk once a project has been implemented and it is then business as usual for the system.

Good luck with your decisions.

dunedin_ree, Jan 31, 8:49am
Actually I would mind - it's not relevant, as I'm not a BA.

redrustie, Jan 31, 9:12am
Many thanks Kiwipippa, i couldn't see the link either and was thinking the 2 college representatives were trying to get me to take their courses to be honest! My work history (amongst others! ) has been implementing, monitoring business management systems (quality, safety, environmental), looking at legislative/certification requirements and putting systems in place.

pirateboy91, Jan 31, 1:59pm
Typically for a business analyst role, you would want to be coming from an Information Systems / Information science degree... . Were you would learn about requirements elicitation, Entity relationship / Data flow modelling, Systems development life cycle, etc. I don't think either of the paths you mentioned seem like the right direction to head down.

You don't need Computer science level programming skills for that role. you need more people skills, and would need at least a reasonable understanding of programming.

Check out the papers involved to get an idea of what skills you would probably be expected to have:

I finished that degree last year, but business analysis isn't really my cup of tea...

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