How Can A Business Analyst Can Get Industry Knowledge Without Industry Experience?

experienceHow do you get industry experience without industry knowledge? This question troubled me a lot when I was first starting out as a business analyst mainly because I was afraid of getting siloed into a particular business analyst track before knowing what really interested me and NEVER being able to get out. If you've ever done a job search for business analyst on or a similar site, then you'll see that a lot of them ask for relevant experience in the industry or software for the immediate project you will be on. This was probably more scary to me because a lot of the time, I didn't see what I was up to as a business analyst coming up in the search results.

In truth, industry knowledge can be important if you are on a very tight schedule with very tight needs. However, a good business analyst should be able to peform the job well, even without any relevant industry experience, some might even argue, lack of industry experience gives fresh perspective and forces the fresh business analyst to ask questions that an industry expert might take for granted.

Still though, even for a fresh to the industry business analyst, it would help a lot to have some kind of a solid base to start with, so you can start creating the right picture for the domain you will be working with. With that in mind here are some smart ways to fill the gaps in your BA tool box.


Wikipedia is a wealth of knowlegde and because of its structure, its easy for you to dig deep into the areas where you are less knowledgable as well as learn industry standard terms and definitions. This will make it easier to have conversations you stakeholders and be on the same page. Most importantly though, its free. 



Gartner true value come in the form of industry research especially related to software applications. While its great to get a cheat sheet for what applicaitions are out there, another huge bonus is that it explains industry/domain best practices, since the tools are going to be rated on how well they meet those best practices. If you have an account, or your company does, USE IT. It will save you time and you will learn a lot about your domain quickly.



Another great research company, APQC focuses on process standards as opposed to tool comparisons. APQC has a brilliant taxonomic diagram of basically every part of a business with every section broken down by its relevant parts (I like to reference it when I don't understand something). It includes product development, supply chain management, IT, HR, Accounting, and the lot. If there was one guide to help you get starting in a new area of the business and start asking the right questions, this would be it! Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure its open to individual users. My current company has an account with them, therefore I have access, but I'm have not been able to figure out how to get a individual user account. 


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