Business Analyst Career Path

Your career path as a business analyst is highly dependent on your preferences and strengths as an individual. Not everyone who starts out or is currently a business analyst necessarily stays there very long. Basically, there are 4 high-level trajectories your career might go depending on whether you go the BA specialist route, management route, subject matter expert route, or choose to make a lateral movement along the way. So let's break down each.

First, when I say Business Analyst Specialist I mean a person who has decided to hone their skills as a business analyst. They are a master of all the competencies in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge and are well versed in all the knowledge areas. 

This person starts as a Junior Business Analyst and Climbs the ranks to Level 2, Senior Business Analyst, and so forth. Your skill set would most likely drive you into being an Enterprise Architect. Which is kind of like a super Business Analyst?  The quick version is that you look at the business as a whole, not just one division or silo, and then determine strategies for how IT as a whole can help them meet objectives. 

Next or #2 is Management. This is pretty straight forward and suited towards people who have a passion for helping others grow in their careers. At this point, you are a mentor to younger business analyst and are likely working as a business analyst lead or manager. It is important to remember that being a manager doesn't mean you can't also be something else. For example, an enterprise architect might have business analyst working under them.

The 3rd route, the subject matter expert route has many flavors and usually revolves around a particular industry, business division, or technology. Some examples are Health Information Systems BA in the health industry, Human Resources Information Systems BA for the HR divisions of companies, or a SaleForce BA specializing in the implementation of SalesForce for sales organizations. 

Industry or Business Division subject matter experts often move into a more direct partnership with the business side of things, or just cross over into the business because they are so well versed on the ins-and-outs. Technology experts are most likely to become consultants in helping companies adopt the technology successfully.

Last but not least is making lateral moves. This also has many flavors, but the short version is that a good business analyst has to dabble in the skill sets of many professions like user experience design, project management, technical writing, quality assurance, process analyst, programming, product ownership and the list goes on. If a business analyst finds one of these particularly interesting, then they can refocus their career in that direction fairly easily

2 thoughts on “Business Analyst Career Path”

  1. hi i am interested in becoming  a business analyst, data analyst? how to become one? im coming from finance /admin/ background ( accountancy degree). Do i need any fornal qualifications or its not necessary? and i should keep applying for junior positions?

    1. The easiest way is to try to find a position within your own company. They are usually more inclined to help mentor you into filling the skill gaps between what you do now and what you'd like to do. 

      Next is to start doing BA activities in your current position, whether it's to help with your current work or not. This will start building some of those skills to put on your resume.

      Finally, I would recommend taking some training of some kind that puts BA skills on your resume, but will also help you learn the lingo, so you can do well in an interview for a BA position. 

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