Forums for the Business Analyst

 
  Modern Analyst Forums  Careers  Getting Started  Business Analyst right out of college?
Previous Previous
 
Next Next
New Post 8/7/2007 11:59 AM
User is offline Adrian M.
762 posts
3rd Level Poster




Business Analyst right out of college? 

In the Building Better Software Blog, Andrew Stellman answers the following question from a reader:

"Q&A: How to succeed in business analysis without really trying".

I'm not sure about the "without really trying" part (since it takes more than luck to be a good business analyst) - but I do like his sound advice. 

One of the things he points out is that few people start out as a business analyst - they usually move into this role from another area.  For the most part, that has also been my experience. 

However, I'm beginning to see more resumes for Jr. Business Analyst roles from folks right out of college or with only 2-3 years of work experience.

Do you think one can start their career as a Business Analyst (or Systems Analyst) right out of college?


Adrian Marchis
Business Analyst Community Blog - Post your thoughts!
 
New Post 8/8/2007 11:21 AM
User is offline Chris Adams
323 posts
5th Level Poster






Re: Business Analyst right out of college? 
 adrian wrote

In the Building Better Software Blog, Andrew Stellman answers the following question from a reader:

"Q&A: How to succeed in business analysis without really trying".

I'm not sure about the "without really trying" part (since it takes more than luck to be a good business analyst) - but I do like his sound advice. 

One of the things he points out is that few people start out as a business analyst - they usually move into this role from another area.  For the most part, that has also been my experience. 

However, I'm beginning to see more resumes for Jr. Business Analyst roles from folks right out of college or with only 2-3 years of work experience.

Do you think one can start their career as a Business Analyst (or Systems Analyst) right out of college?


I certainly think you can become an analyst right out of college, I did! To understand why, let’s examine the dichotomy that exists today in many IT organizations.

On one side of the spectrum is the mature IT organization that follows a specific SDLC methodology with each phase of the life cycle supported by an organized and focused team of specialists (Business Analysts, Systems Analysts, Data Analysts, QA Analyst, Developers, etc.). These teams typically follow a well structured set of processes where each person understands their role, and uses industry standards such as Object Oriented Analyst and Design (OOAD), Business Process Modeling Notation (BMPN), Unified Modeling Language (UML), and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

On the other side of the spectrum is the less than fully mature “teenager” IT organization where clear methodologies and processes are not yet in place. Often industry standards are used haphazardly and inconsistently when used at all.

I highlight these two types of organizations because, in my experience, they typically hire two different types of experienced analysts, and one will also hire freshly minted college graduates.

First, consider the teenager IT organization. Given the lack of structure and perhaps even awareness of industry standards and best practices, these organizations often fly by the seat of their pants. You might have some Business Analyst and some Developers and that’s it. So who do they look to hire? Here are some of the characteristics:


  • The analysts are supposed to be analytical so they can “figure it out” (degrees such as mathematics, engineering, computer science, physics)
  • The organization places a large emphasis on the analyst’s prior knowledge about the business and industry the organization operates within (less to “figure out”).
  • The analysts should be able to use some kind of loosely organized artifact or bastardized version of some semi-standard diagram to convey the requirements to the developers.

    Given the heavy emphasis on previous industry specific knowledge, this does not describe a Jr. Analyst right out of college.


On the other hand, the mature IT organization typically looks for one of the following two types of analysts.

Sr Analysts:


  • Analysts with a solid understanding of one or more SDLC methodologies
  • Analysts with a firm grasp of industry standards (BPMN, UML, OOAD, and SOA)
  • Excellent communication skills
    Some industry specific knowledge is a plus, but far less emphasis is place here. Why? Because a strong analyst who is well trained in analysis processes and best practices can analyze any business area and structure the information in a clear way by using the tools they have developed.

Jr Analysts:


  • Analytical people who also possess strong communication skills
  • Theoretical knowledge of analysis methods (Object Oriented Analysis, Structured Analysis) and standards (UML) from books and courses
  • A desire to continually learn and improve

Mature IT organizations can hire entry-level analysts because they have a structure in place to teach and to train Jr. Analyst about the analysis process. This is what I experienced right out of college. I had an engineering degree but was more interested in IT. So I secured a position with one of the “Big 6”, as they were called at the time, IT consulting firms. They put me through a 12-week training program where I learned how to be and Business/Systems Analyst, QA Analyst, and Developer. They called us IT Consultants and we did it all. Now, I don’t actually recommend that a single person perform all of these roles. In each role you have some competing interests and responsibilities. However, at least we were taught and trained to follow specific methodologies and standards for each role, so there was a clear delineation of responsibilities for each phase of the project. Over the course of time focused more on the Systems Analyst career path.

So yes, find a mature IT organization, especially in a tight job market like we have now where talent is scarce, and you will find an organization that needs and wants to mold the fresh minds of new graduates and other professional with only 2-3 years of experience.


Chris Adams
Core Member – ModernAnalyst.com
LinkedIn Profile
 
New Post 8/19/2007 2:21 AM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
www.betterprojects.net
4th Level Poster




What are the barriers to entry for junior BAs? 

Interesting article.

Flip the question around and ask "what stops juniors from getting jobs?"  The obvious answer to me is lack of industry knowledge, but we generally agree that industry knowledge isn't that important.  And at times like these when there is a skill shortage of good BAs it's not a show stopper.

What else do juniors have that stops them from getting jobs?  The answer is probably to do with a  few things.  Here's a couleof ideas:

  • Lack of commercial sense and strategic vision
  • lack of experience dealing with comlex decisions
  • Immature communication skills

Where in your pre-worklife can you develop and demonstrate these capabilities?

 

 

 
New Post 8/19/2007 1:53 PM
User is offline Adrian M.
762 posts
3rd Level Poster




Re: What are the barriers to entry for junior BAs? 
 craigwbrown wrote

Interesting article.

Flip the question around and ask "what stops juniors from getting jobs?"  The obvious answer to me is lack of industry knowledge, but we generally agree that industry knowledge isn't that important.  And at times like these when there is a skill shortage of good BAs it's not a show stopper.

What else do juniors have that stops them from getting jobs?  The answer is probably to do with a  few things.  Here's a coupleof ideas:

  • Lack of commercial sense and strategic vision
  • lack of experience dealing with complex decisions
  • Immature communication skills

Where in your pre-worklife can you develop and demonstrate these capabilities?

While not every IT college graduate is ready for a business analyst position, there are many degrees which give students both information technology skills as well as communication skills.  In addition, these days, many students generally work as interns during college.  In my case - by the time I graduated from college I already had 3 years of work experience in the IT field under my belt.

Also - many recent graduates could begin their careers as systems analysts and start developing their real word skills by working with business analysts and developers.

There is a great advantage for big companies to hire business analysts right out of college and to train them and mold them in their specific methodologies of business analysis and consulting.  The large consulting firms such as Ernst & Young and Price Waterhouse Coopers do this every year.  They hire the brightest kids right out of college and they send them to training camp to learn the foundations of business analysis, software development, project management, etc.  Then they get assigned a mentor and placed on a consultation project as junior analysts/consultants, etc.

Some of the best analysts that I hired were those that started their career with the "Big 5" consulting firms.


Adrian Marchis
Business Analyst Community Blog - Post your thoughts!
 
Previous Previous
 
Next Next
  Modern Analyst Forums  Careers  Getting Started  Business Analyst right out of college?

Community Blog - Latest Posts

Context:  Intro Change Request Definition Reasons for CRs Adaptive, predictive and mixed projects Flow of processing change requests Change Management Workflow Tools and Techniques 1. Intro  The World will never stop changing, as well as human needs and desires. The business environment evolves continually. An or...
For many people, a career in business systems analysis can be an ideal opportunity to use their skills in technology and business. Business systems analysts bring together the best of both worlds – technical know-how and business acumen – to help organizations become more efficient and effective. Here are some of the key benefits of pur...
There is no doubt in my mind that curiosity nurtures the mind when it comes to T shaped skills.  T shaped professional are specialist in something(the vertical line) and also have a wide range of skills and knowledge in a broad range of subjects(the horizontal line) and are are highly sought after in the workplace.  I’ve recently...

 






 

Copyright 2006-2023 by Modern Analyst Media LLC