If you’re asking yourself how you can become a business analyst, and the career seems like it would be a good fit for you, you’ll need to know what steps to take first.
Some of the ideas are simple and some are more difficult, but when you add them together, you’ll find that there is a definite path to follow, one that will take you directly to the heart of your ultimate career choice. Read on to find out how to get started in becoming a business analyst.
Step 1: Learn About Business Analysis
Before you can begin any kind of career, and certainly before you can begin one in business analysis, you need to know as much about it as possible. You need to explore all the different avenues that it might be possible to go down, and confirm to yourself that this is definitely the career you want to have.
To learn as much as you can about business analysis, and to determine once and for all whether this is something you should be doing for a living, you can look at signing up for industry newsletters, go to talks and conferences, watch online videos detailing how the job is done, and read books written by industry leaders. Through these channels you will get a much better insight into what the job involves.
Step 2: Get the Qualifications
Once you are sure that business analysis is definitely the right career for you, you can move onto the next step which is gaining the qualifications. Click here to see what a degree course would involve; there is a lot of learning, and you will need to continue that learning even after you have graduated since the industry is quickly evolving.
As well as gaining the official qualifications needed to become a business analyst, you should also look into what transferable skills you already have that will help you. The more transferable skills you have — perhaps those that you have developed in your personal life, or those that you have gained in a different career — the easier it will be to find a position once you graduate. You might even be able to bypass entry level jobs and start at a higher position.
Useful transferable skills include:
- Great communication
- Industry knowledge
Step 3: Strengthen Your Position
Are there any gaps in your learning? Have you discovered that hiring managers are looking for something that you don’t have? At this stage, you can look at obtaining those additional skills and strengthening your position to ensure that you will have your pick of jobs once you start applying for them.
A good way to find out what might be missing is to reach out for help. Networking sites such as LinkedIn might be a good way to do this. You can reach out and ask other business analysts or hiring professionals what they feel you need to be doing to get the best chance of a good career. Alternatively, you can pay for someone to check your resume over and help you to create a cover letter that will gain interest.
When you know what you are missing, you can work on ensuring that this skill is acquired. When it is, you will have everything in your arsenal needed to be confident when applying for jobs.
Step 4: Gain Experience
If you are happy to start at the bottom and work up, then the experience factor may not be that important to you. However, if you do want to start higher up (and those who have worked in a different career at a management level will often want to re-enter the workplace at the same level) then you will need to have some experience to show that you know what you are doing.
Experience can be gained in a literal sense by shadowing or interning with a business analyst. This can be done while you are studying so that you are speeding up the process and ensuring that your study is being put to practical use.
Of course, if you are studying part time because you are currently working, then becoming an intern might not be possible. If this is the case, you may have to come to terms with the fact that you will need to take an entry level job, or you might be able to use your management skills as mentioned above even if they are not in a similar industry. This is going to be down to the discretion of the hiring manager.
Step 5: Apply for Jobs
The final step is to apply for business analyst jobs. There is no point in having the required skills and qualifications unless you can put them to good use. And so, once you know that you have these requirements in place and your resume and cover letter are as good as they can possibly be, it is time to apply for the jobs that are available on the market.
The good news is that there are very few business analysts, so the competition for a job will be much less fierce than in other industries. However, you should still make sure that you put on as good a show as possible when it comes to your interview; don’t just assume that you will get the job based on what you know. You need to be personable and easy to work with too.
If you are called for an interview it can be a stressful time, but the fact is that if you want the best jobs — or any job — an interview is usually going to be necessary. It is best to prepare for this in advance by choosing an outfit that looks smart, but that you are comfortable in (so that you can concentrate on what is being asked in the interview) and by researching the company you are applying to thoroughly. This information can help you to answer questions in the right way.
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