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New Post 3/17/2012 2:27 AM
Unresolved
User is offline aAziz
2 posts
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I'm a fresh graduate with a lot of questions! 

 

 Greetings to you all,

I'm a fresh (software engineering) graduate and I joined a consulting company. First of all, I’m not sure what should I peruse during my career, although, I feel that business analysis is something that attracts me.

My mentor (whom I really admire and respect) told me that to be a good business analyst, I should start working as a developer to form a good technical background. I need an opinion on his statement, although, some of my colleagues worked as associate business analysts right after they graduated.

Also, this might seem stupid, I’m a little bit confused between four things, a Requirements Engineer vs. Business Analyst, and a Software Requirements Specification vs. Business Requirements Specification.

Best Regards.

 

Note: I have more questions and concerns that I would like to rise later.  

 

 

 
New Post 3/20/2012 7:05 PM
User is offline Sandy
74 posts
8th Level Poster




Re: I'm a fresh graduate with a lot of questions! 

Hi aAziz,

I would have to disagree with your mentor - I don't think it's necessary to have any technical background in order to be a 'good BA'.  I've known many great BA's who did start out as developers, but I've also known many who have no technical background.  I would suggest this path only if it's already of interest to you - and I'm guessing that if you're looking for a second opinion, it's because the developer path may not hold as much interest for you.

There are lots of different BA career paths, and as you gain experience you'll begin finding types of work that you prefer and that are a good fit to your personal strengths. What is it about a career in business analysis that attracts you at this point?  The answer to this question may help you find a starting path for your new career.

A Requirements Engineer is a person who focuses on requirements definition and analysis, whereas a Business Analyst title could refer to a wide variety of different responsibilities that fall under the BA profession.  A Business Requirements Specification usually refers to requirements that are purely business-oriented, with no reference to any system functionality.  A Software Requirements Specification (often called a Functional Requirements Specification) is a way of documenting required functionality for a system ('what' the system needs to do, not 'how'...). 

And no question is stupid - so ask away!

Sandy

 
New Post 3/24/2012 5:48 AM
User is offline aAziz
2 posts
No Ranking


Re: I'm a fresh graduate with a lot of questions! 

Hi Sandy,

Your reply made me think about things that I didn’t even consider.

You wrote “the developer path may not hold as much interest for you”. That’s right, although, I don’t mind working as a developer, but not too specialized. For example, I don’t like programming things that deal with server configuration, mainframes, system integration, and networking. These things make me anxious even if I’m just thinking about them. What I like is front-end development. Not necessarily UIs, but the application logic that happens in the surface.   

You asked “What is it about a career in business analysis that attracts you at this point?”

What attracts me is the exposure. BAs are exposed to both IT and line-of-business. They are able to form a solid background in both technical and business aspects.

Also, I like documenting requirements, developing models for the requirements (such as use cases, activity diagrams, etc), and coming up with different scenarios that makes the end user’s life easy.

Since I graduated on January 2012, I am still confused and not sure what my career is going to be like. I feel that everything around me goes fast while I’m still not moving a muscle.   

 
New Post 3/26/2012 9:20 PM
User is offline Jarett Hailes
155 posts
6th Level Poster




Re: I'm a fresh graduate with a lot of questions! 

Hi aAziz,

Based on your response to Sandy it sounds like being a BA would be an interesting avenue for you. Does your company require that you get experience in another role before becoming a BA? You mentioned that other graduate colleague have already entered the role, but I was not sure if that was at your firm or not.

If you want to stay with your current company, I would suggest talking to supervisors of BAs and find out how you can apply for a position, and what, if any, roles you need to take on before they will consider you. If you are willing to move companies, start talking to recruiters or other firms in your area to understand what you would need. As a start, I would suggest talking to your colleagues who have already landed BA positions to find out how they got heir jobs.

 
New Post 3/28/2012 10:30 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: I'm a fresh graduate with a lot of questions! 

Hi:

I feel your mentor has it wrong.  The primary purpose of a BA is to document system behavior ( both automated and manual as required).  Now code, relates to system behavior, but very detailed behavior.    Problem:  If a BA (or SA) starts out his/her career working to a low level of abstraction (i.e., is very detail oriented), the vast majority of times it really kills his/her ability to then move to documenting behavior at high levels of abstraction.  Such a BA simply can not let go of the preceived safety of being grounded in the details.  I have seen this so many times.

I highly suggest starting out working to as high of a level of abstraction on projects as possible.  Granted, this is atypical, but it will train you to have the courage to attack the slippery slope of higher levels of abstraction.

Tony

 

 

 
New Post 3/28/2012 8:29 PM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster


Re: I'm a fresh graduate with a lot of questions! 

aAziz,

I started out as a technical programmer - I wrote compilers and patched operating systems. This may sound very detailed and systems oriented, and it is. But to be a good BA one must be able to abstract the essence from the detail - something that Tony Markos articulates consistently and passionately; but very few appear to get this fundamental point!

To become a good BA there is no short-cut. There may be many paths, but eventually you need a few years under your belt to be called a good BA. Don't fret over the title (associate BAs) of your contemporaries ; know that it takes a few years before you're a good/excellent BA. To become a CBAP you need at least a few years practical experience; so plan your career. But more importantly, practice getting to the essence of things! So after you've been given lots of details, asked yourself the questions "what are they doing?","what do they want?"; and "what do they need?" 

Back to your mentor. If what you are specifying as a BA is going to become an IT system, then its good to have some knowledge (and experience) of systems. Case in point: Utzon the architect of the Sydney Opera house designed the building without much regard to the construction of the building. It took a lot of government funding and construction engineering know-how to get it built; and lots of un-happiness!. Read  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Opera_House

warm regards,

K

 

 

 
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