The Modern Analyst Blog for Business Analysts

Adrian M.
Adrian M.

What will you do to increase your value as a Business Analyst?

I’ve had the chance to interview numerous candidates for business analyst positions and there is one question I like to ask every one of them:

“What do you do to increase your skills and value as a Business Analyst?”

Obviously, I’m not looking to get a specific answer as each business analyst has different background and different goals.

What I’m looking for are those analysts who have a passion for their career and who are constantly seeking to improve their skills and the value they bring to the project or organization.

Sadly, very few candidates answer this question to my liking. Most folks out there expect somebody else to take care of them: my co-worker is supposed to mentor me, the boss is supposed to train me, the project manager needs to give me clear instructions, the recruiter should revise my resume, etc…

You don’t want to be one of them… that’s not a trait of a business analyst!

So what should you, the Business Analyst, do in 2009 to improve your value and skills?

Well, there isn’t only one answer – it’s ultimately up to you to decide – but here are some ideas:

  • Offer to mentor and coach a more junior business analyst on your project or in your organization.
  • Become actively involved in your profession. If you’re reading this then you already stumbled upon (which is awesome). Now consider contributing your experience, thoughts, and view though blogs, forum posts, or articles.
  • Attend a course, workshop, or event related to business analysis.
  • Attend a local IIBA Chapter meeting (get a list here).

Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

This entry was published on Jan 09, 2009 / Adrian M.. Posted in Career as a Business Systems Analyst. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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Keith Pratt posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 8:10 AM
Good sources. Thanks for the additional ideas.

The trend I am noticing is that more and more job descriptions for BAs in the Property and Casualty Insurance industry are asking / requiring knowledge in SQL. So, this year I plan to learn SQL and attain the CBAP designation.

Is this a trend in other fields outside of Property and Casualty Insurance?
Keith Pratt
Ed Taaffe posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 8:14 AM
I believe that the critical success factor is benefits realisation for you client or employer and that means focusing very tightly on expected benefits and what it will take to realise them then staying on course.
I do expect the downturn to make this a whole lot easier, but people are still less predictable than machines and an altogether bigger challenge.
Ed Taaffe
zarfman posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 5:03 PM

Keith Pratt

You can probably learn to use the SQL query language in a year. However,
to really understand SQL you would need to become a DBA.

With regard to the CBAP designation, I think that's an illusion. I doubt that it qualifies
any one to be able to analyze any and all businesses. To me that's why specialization


Vineet Banwet posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 6:55 PM
Great inforrmation.

Reading is a great way to enhance your knowledge. However, a BA should develop a habit of reading a particular topic from multiple sources- books, whitepapers, webinars etc. As lot of concepts of structured analysis are still in initial state of development, a particular concept can be understood in numerous ways. Reading from various sources helps a BA understand how a concept is applied and understood at various workplaces.

Vineet Banwet
Tracy White posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 10:22 AM
SQL is a great tool and can be learned to basic proficiency in one day if you have any pre-existing understanding of databases.
Tracy White
Alex P posted on Saturday, January 17, 2009 2:56 AM
I've checked your list and I'm feeling pretty smug!

At the tail end of last year (Ok, it's not this year but close enough):

- I offered to mentor a more junior business analyst (no takeup yet)

- I launched a web site to help mentor business analysts (

- I joined ModernAnalyst as well as the Reqts Networking Group and contribute when I can (currently waiting for an article to be approved)

- I joined the IIBA and the UK chapter

I'm thinking of reviewing this book for my website so all I need to do is attend a course for my profession and I've ticked all the boxes! I know the UK chapter is setting up a conference for the end of the year and I shall be attending a presentation at the end of the month so it looks like I'm covered.

I told you I was feeling smug!
Alex P
Adrian M. posted on Saturday, January 17, 2009 9:50 AM
Hi Alex,

That's awesome! You're part of the far and the few....

You should post again your mentoring offer on our forums - I'm sure there will be takers.

- Adrian
Adrian M.
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