I love that this article from National Career Services mentions “tact, diplomacy and good negotiating skills” as something necessary for business analysts.
Communication skills are hands down the most important skills in your toolbox and I think too many people are lacking in this area – and I don’t think traditional education emphasizes it enough.
I think that’s one reason the IIBA is so important. The IIBA gives you access to endorsed education providers that focus on courses and training specific to business analysis skills and careers.
Here’s what they had to say about the BA career:
Work activities. As a business analyst, you will work with senior managers and other professionals to support changes to the way an organisation works.
If you like solving problems, are good at analysing data and have excellent communication skills, this could be an ideal career for you.
As a business analyst, you will work with senior managers and other professionals to support changes to the way an organisation works. This can include changes across a whole business or may be limited to one part of it. For example, you might help to improve a company’s decision-making processes, support the introduction of a new IT system or help to develop a marketing and sales strategy.
Depending on the particular project, you might typically:
- speak to managers about their development strategy to find out what they want the business to achieve
- carry out fact finding tasks into the business’s processes to see what they do and how they do it
- analyse your findings and use data modelling methods to come up with recommendations for changes and improvements
- look at the potential impact and risks of your recommendations
- explain the benefits of your recommendations to the business
- keep a written record of requirements and recommendations, and how they were arrived at
- agree with the management team the best way to put recommended changes into place
- oversee testing and quality checks of recommendations
- support the staff who are responsible for making the changes and report any issues
In some cases, you may also be responsible for managing the project all the way through to completion.
Training and development
It’s important to keep up to date with developments in this field and membership of a professional body can help with this. Joining an organization like the IIBA can give you access to professional development opportunities like workshops and events.
The IIBA also offers training and certification at different levels from foundation to advanced.
Skills, interests and qualities
As a business analyst, you typically need:
- the ability to see problems from different angles and to solve them
- excellent analytical skills
- the ability to pay close attention to detail
- excellent communication skills
- excellent teamworking skills and the ability to work with people at all levels
- the ability to lead and motivate a team
- tact, diplomacy and good negotiating skills
- the ability to prioritise tasks
- the ability to anticipate issues and respond to unforeseen changes
- the ability to meet deadlines
- an awareness of the commercial pressures on businesses
- a commitment to your professional development