Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts


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INTERVIEW QUESTION:

What does ‘Bridging the Gap’ mean for the business analyst?

Posted by Adrian M.

Article Rating // 1353 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, General

ANSWER

Job descriptions for open business analyst positions often include statements such as:

“...must be able to bridge the gap between business and technology…”

“...prior experience bridging the gap between developers and operations...”

“...someone who can bridge the gap between external vendors and business users...”

What does “bridging the gap” mean?  How would you answer this question if it was posed to you in a job interview?

One way to answer this question is to first focus on what the gap might be. In any company, large or small, there are people playing a variety of roles which, in many cases, have very little overlap in terms of skills and experience.  

Take, for example, a highly experienced sales executive and a senior contract developer hired to help build the next generation sales system.  The executive knows sales very, very well but doesn’t know anything about how information technology systems operate.  The developer is highly skilled in a variety of programming languages and technologies but doesn’t know a thing about sales or what is involved with getting a customer to make a buying decision.  How then can the sales executive and the developer accomplish their goal of building the new sales platform?  What we just found is a gap.

This is where the business analyst comes into the picture.  The business analyst is the one tasked with bridging the gap between business stakeholders and technical experts.  To do so, many business analysts are ‘jacks of all trades’ that is they have skills in a variety of areas, such as:

  • Great communication skills enabling the analyst to converse with and understand a diverse group of stakeholders.
  • Grasp of foundational business concepts such as sales, operations, financial statements, etc.  These allow the analyst to understand the problems and needs of the business stakeholders.
  • Understanding (not necessarily expertise) of how software works as well as familiarity with as many of the key building blocks used to develop information technology systems: databases, user interface constructs, system interfaces, data movement, batch jobs, events and messaging, information security, etc.
  • Strong conceptual modeling skills such as process design, data/domain modeling, and user experience design.  These allow the business analyst to create artifacts at various levels of solution detail enabling them to communicate with both technical as well as non-technical stakeholders.

These types of gaps can exist among a variety of corporate stakeholders and analysts across the world are there to help fill the gap:

  • external customers and internal products teams,
  • outside technology consulting companies and business executives,
  • distinct business units with, seemingly, unrelated responsibilities,
  • etc.

Of course, it would be a mistake to reduce the role of the business analyst to just “bridging the gap”.  Analysts work for a variety of organizations and no two of them are alike.  Effective business analysts are highly skilled professionals with a wide variety of multi-disciplinary skills and are, first and foremost, problem solvers.

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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.

 



 

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