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New Post 3/9/2010 12:26 PM
User is offline Khoral
2 posts
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tech Sales and SQA background, BA or SA ? or...DBA? 
Modified By Khoral  on 3/9/2010 3:32:57 PM)

I think I need a new start.

After some research I learned that System Analysts, Business Analysts and Database Administrators are the high paying jobs that are in high demand and would love some advice on whats relatively easy to get into with my background and what steps I should take.

I'm 33 with a BA in international business from a recognized school in eastern European country (I'm originally from there and I lived there at the time)
and a handful of transferable credits from a community college where I took Microsoft Windows Admin and Visual Basic classes.....
I was selling technology solutions (bar code scanners, printers, inventory tracking systems, etc )back in the "old country" while going to school.

On my return to US I had to get to work fast and i got a certification (3 month program) in Software QA
My first Software QA job  I held for about a year as I got REALLY bored with it and the company looked like a "dead end" situation.

I moved to a Consulting firm and worked as a QA engineer for 4 years.

The company eventually shut down, which was Ok, as I had a great idea for an advertising business which I started from ground up and successfully operated for the next 5 years and eventually sold.

So now I'm thinking of getting back into the work force.

There is no question that I have a nack for technology, I love it, understand it and it has always came easy to me.

I've always been good at communicating technical aspects and even wrote a couple of user manuals for some of the software suites I've tested.

I like some people interaction, so couped up in a cubicle 99% of time (typical QA) is a bit boring for me..

While I think Systems Analyst is the most appealing to me, I have no clue how to get my foot in the door.

Business analyst on the other hand has some potential as I've found a number of legitimate courses online as well as with established universities like UC Davis.

and last but not least....Database Administrator...
This one is pretty boring from what I understand, but...
Should be easy to get in as a couple of certifications (MCDBA, MCITP, SQL, etc) is usually a pretty good indication that you can do the job.

It is also in high demand, including junior level positions.
The amount of data we store/generate is growing, so the databases are not going anywhere.

It pays fairly well as databases admins usually get $60-100k+ annually.


a number of educational institutions offer a "fast track", 2 months, 8 hours per day (320 hours) program that will get you up to speed.


The cost of the program (as well as BA course from UC Davis) could be financed by the WIA (workforce investment act)


So I've convinced myself that DBA should be the easiest path...

If any System Analysts or business Analyst read this, please chime in on your chosen profession...

DO you think its feasable for me to get into BA or SA positio with my background IF I completed BA certificate program?

any and all advice, thoughts, comments are welcome




New Post 3/9/2010 10:38 PM
User is offline Guy Beauchamp
257 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: tech Sales and SQA background, BA or SA ? or...DBA? 


Welcome to ModernAnalyst!

firstly, what a pleasure to read your post: you have analysed your objectives, from them determined your requirements and factored in some constraints and have a proposed process for implementation. Brilliant! Who am I to argue with your conclusions? There is one factual error in your assumptions/reasoning that may be material to your considerations: you ask "Do you think its feasable for me to get into BA or SA position with my background IF I completed BA certificate program?" with the emphasis on the "IF". 

Here's the thing: you do not need a BA certificate to be a BA. Check out the job market: employers typically look for (in order of preference) experience of doing analysis in the industry sector the job is in, a good degree and third, last and least (and ~99% of the time optional) a professional qualification (supplied by profit motivated organisations!).

I would suggest given your demonstrated reasoning skills that you need a BA certificate like a brain surgeon needs to be taught how to wash their hands before operating.

Sure you can read up on the some of the methods and techniques BAs use - but these methods and techniques are only to tools to apply formal reasoning (or should be!). Business Analysis is all about analysis (the "business" part I think got their to separate them from systems analysts - a distinction that is becoming less meaningful by the day).

I would recommend reading the articles on this and other BA sites if the thought of being a BA still interests you: it should given that it has zero cost start-up in terms of time and money and they were factors affecting your reasoning. 

The challenge will be getting your first formal role as a BA and again there is plenty of free advice around on this site about that! Most BAs migrate in to the role from working in a project and doing the BA role without being called one and then either getting their job title changed in that job or updating their CV to reflect the fact they have been doing the role and getting the formal role elsewhere.

Hope some of the above helps!

If you want to formally analyse your career path I have written an article describing how to do that using BA analysis approach here.

Let me know what decision you finally come to!


New Post 3/10/2010 10:17 AM
User is offline Khoral
2 posts
No Ranking

Re: tech Sales and SQA background, BA or SA ? or...DBA?Guy, 
Modified By Khoral  on 3/10/2010 1:34:11 PM)


Thank you for the kind words and your input.


I will read through the articles for more details on how to get my foot in the door.


Now I'd like to speculate a bit and share some of my assumptions and possibly clarify my original question.

Some professions such as sales or customer service don't necessary have any special certifications which would say "yes this person has passed tests to confirm that they are capable of performing said job function".

The decisionmaking process is pretty much solely at the discretion of the hiring manager and how they feel about you.

In IT, engineering and other technical professions the discretion factor is minimized. Meaning that no one cares if you provide "service with a smile". Before all other qualifications, one must have the technical know-how to be able to perform the work assigned.

So this logic made me a believer that certifications go a long way, as the hiring managers feel for your personality means nothing if you're not up to par on the technical level.

Having these certifications is a concrete proof that the technical knowledge is there.

Becoming a DBA without a certification OR experience is probably somewhere in the "impossible" category.

Having experience would still leave some uncertainty as to the level of competency. I have met people with resumes that read great and were 100% accurate in terms of truthfullness, but their background was not what it seemed.

Vague language made the resume sound great and got them the interview, while on occassion they got lucky with a hiring managers who were more nervous in the interview then the interviewee.

There is no vagueness with the certificat, it should offer a pretty good idea of the persons minimal capabilities

So would the following statement be correct "BA cert to BA hiring manager does not carry nearly as much weight as a MCDBA cert to DBA hiring manager"?

and getting a BA cert will NOT add any significant "points" to my resume. (I guess Guy answered this one when he said something to the tune of "last and least of interest is the cert from a 3rd party motivated by financial gains" ....


Looks like I got lots more reading to do..

thanx again






New Post 3/11/2010 1:37 AM
User is offline Guy Beauchamp
257 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: tech Sales and SQA background, BA or SA ? or...DBA?Guy, 

 Hi Alex,

It will be interesting to see what other people response to your assertion " "BA cert to BA hiring manager does not carry nearly as much weight as a MCDBA cert to DBA hiring manager" all I can say is that I don't know what weight MCDBA carries but I do know that in the last round of BA interviews where I was interviewer it was the case that BA certs were no indicator of good candidates - the reverse in some cases! There are those who can talk a good game and those who can do the job. Ideally you want both...a rare breed.

Having BA certs must add "points" to your resume - whether these are significant or not I cannot definitively answer. Certainly in my experience employers take the simplistic view that what they call relevant experience outweighs BA certs always and in the vast majority of cases will outweigh university degrees as well. Hardly surprising when the BA role is poorly defined and changing all the time - often resulting in general gofer type role.

Unlike a DBA, for a BA there is no ever changing underlying technology that you need to be trained in - just an unchanging need to do formal analysis. Yes, there are lots of 'new' methods and approaches (Agile for example is the latest) but they all cover the same ground and have to since it is all analysis dressed up in different ways. Some techniques are different (Agile iterations vs waterfall sequence) but even these blur - just google Agile Waterfall....

Bottom line? BA certs: They can't hinder, there is no proof they help and they are expensive.


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