Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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What is the difference between a Business Analyst and a Technical Writer?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 44552 Views // 4 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Roles and Responsibilities


The role of a Business Analyst is a broad and encompassing role with many different specializations. Business Analysts may specialize in the areas of Business Process Analysis, Systems Analysis, Requirements Engineer, Data Analyst, Functional Architect, Product Manager, Usability/User Experience Analyst, and at times Technical Writer. However, while a Business Analyst may perform the role of a technical writer at times the profession of technical writer can stand on its own. 
A technical writer’s role is a collaborative and interactive one. Their primary deliverables are:
  • Technical manuals that describe the specific features of a product or application
  • Producing online step-by-step tutorials with illustrative graphics and images to aid the reader
  • Producing web-based training and other forms of training materials
To produce these deliverables the technical writer must acquire a detailed knowledge and understanding of the product or application for which they are producing the deliverable. This requires them to work with analysts and developers of the system, end users of the systems, and often to test certain features of the system themselves.
Given the skills required to perform this role, the most common academic backgrounds for this profession are English, technical communication, science or engineering, computer science and journalism according to the Society for Technical Communication.



Mr B posted on Monday, December 15, 2008 8:52 PM
A Business Analyst works with the business and also at times the IT folks to understand and help define the business need.

A Technical Writer on the other hand, documents and turns technical content into information that can be used by various technical (and at times non-technica) l audiences.

A BA could perform the functions of a Technical Writer but it's less common for it to be the other way round.

Mr B
WiseGuy posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 4:11 PM
Its obvious about the responsibilities of a BA and it being very diverse. On the other hand looking from a technical writer's perspective a tech. writer can also be acting as a BA; because in most cases they develop information and for them to deliver their deliverable they have good knowledge about the domain.

So in my opinion tech. writers can turn out to be BA's too.
Nathan Caswell posted on Saturday, May 2, 2009 5:18 AM
In general, the Business Analyst works from the business in, gathering information, while the Technical writer works from the deliverable out, presenting information.

Another way to characterize the difference is that the BA converts from business/user language to technical language while the TW converts from technical language to business/user language. The specific skills and tools used to do this differ.

The Business Analyst is generally presumed to be more skilled at elicitation and clarification of partially formed ideas.
Nathan Caswell
Sue posted on Friday, June 12, 2009 11:17 AM
A BA not only gathers requirements - they constantly perform analysis to:
- document the business process - regardless of how the process is implemented,
- identify (working with system analyst) which portions of the business process will be / can be automated via a system assess impact of the requirements,
- recommend / offer process improvement alternatives (not necessarily only system, manual processes too), and
- identify metrics / analytics to measure and track the health of business and the business process which is implemented.

A technical writer documents the system which implements parts of the business process.
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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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