There are many options to choose from for career growth as a BA.
In this video, I talk about three business analyst career paths and provide a few options within each path.
Exploring Business Analyst Career Paths: A Comprehensive Guide
In this article, we will delve into the various career paths available to business analysts. Whether you’re an intermediate professional contemplating the future of your career or a beginner considering a career in business analysis, this guide will provide valuable insights to help you navigate your path effectively. We’ll explore three primary career options and discuss the steps you can take to optimize your business analyst journey.
Career Path 1: Thriving as a Business Analyst
Remaining a business analyst can be a rewarding choice, allowing you to continually develop your skills and excel in your profession. Here are two strategies to consider:
Sharpening Your Business Analyst Skills: To embark on this career path, aim to become a highly proficient and versatile business analyst. Continuously hone your skills in areas where you already excel and expand your competence in new domains. Strive to align your expertise with your company’s specific needs, ensuring you become indispensable in your role.
Specializing in Domains or Enterprise Software: Another option within this career path is specialization. You can choose to focus on a specific domain, such as capital markets, to become a subject matter expert. Alternatively, you can specialize in an enterprise software, such as Oracle Financials, and offer your expertise in implementing and managing that software within your organization. Specialization enhances your marketability and opens doors to well-paid opportunities.
Career Path 2: Climbing the Organizational Ladder
If you aspire to progress within your organization, several positions can be a natural fit for business analysts seeking upward mobility:
Becoming a business architect is an attractive option for business analysts looking to advance their careers. This role involves designing and aligning business strategies, processes, and systems to drive organizational success. Consider the advantages and challenges associated with this path to determine if it aligns with your goals.
Project Management: Business analysts often gain extensive project management skills, which may lead them to discover a passion for this field. If you find yourself enjoying project management more than business analysis, transitioning into a project management role could be a viable career choice.
Business Analysis Manager: As a business analysis manager, you would oversee a team of business analysts and ensure the delivery of high-quality analysis for your organization. This role requires a combination of managerial and analytical skills, making it suitable for those who enjoy both aspects of the job.
Career Path 3: Branching Out as a Business Analyst
For those seeking a different experience while staying within the business analysis domain, branching out offers new possibilities. Consider the following options:
Consulting: Becoming a business analysis consultant allows you to provide expertise and insights to various clients. Consultants often tackle projects with less defined scopes and help organizations uncover their requirements. This role demands strong problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and the capacity to mentor and guide others.
Contracting: Contracting involves working as a freelancer or an independent contractor, taking on specific business analysis assignments for clients. Contractors typically handle well-defined tasks, and their expertise is sought to execute specific project requirements.
It’s crucial to note that branching out as a consultant or contractor requires a significant lifestyle shift. As an independent professional, you have the freedom to choose your projects and clients, but you must also manage the responsibilities of running your own business.
By exploring these diverse career paths, business analysts can chart their professional journeys with clarity and purpose. Whether you choose to excel as a business analyst, climb the organizational ladder, or branch out as a consultant or contractor, each path offers unique opportunities for growth and fulfillment. Remember to continually develop your skills, adapt to changing industry demands, and stay connected to the business analysis community to ensure a successful and rewarding
In this video, I want to talk to you about career development. Very specifically I want to offer you a little bit of guidance on the different career paths that are available to you as a business analyst said I’m going to offer you three different career paths and within each of those career paths you have more options.
I’ll talk about all of that if you are already a business analyst let’s say you’re an intermediate business analyst who’s been doing the job for two or three or four years. Chances are that you’ve already started to think about the future of your career and you may have started to wonder what the different options are.
So if you’re in that position this video is going to help you a lot. If you are a beginner business analyst or you’re actually just thinking about getting into business analysis this video is also very useful for you and because what it’s going to do is it’s going to give you a little bit of foresight into what your career could possibly look like. So that even before you start off your career you can to take some of the actions that you need to to make sure that you’re in line with the type of business analyst career you want to have in the long run.
OK so with all of that said let’s get into the guidance and so generally speaking there are three broad categories of career paths that you can take in your career. The very first one and this is one that people don’t talk about enough. And so that’s why I’m going to make it first but the very first one is that you remain a business analyst right.
There is no reason for you to necessarily have to move out of business analysis career. Like for my own career personally, that’s what I’ve chosen to do. I’ve had opportunities to take on management roles I have actually managed projects but I’ve always come back to the business analysis profession because this is the job that I love.
This is the work that I love to do. And so for me personally I’ve chosen to stay a business analyst and that’s the first one I’m going to offer you.
There are a couple of options that you can consider if you if you choose that path for yourself the second option the second major category your path is for you to move up in your organization. OK. And there are a couple of different.
Actual careers that you can choose if you if you’re choosing to move up and in your in your be a career out of yourB.A. career and higher into your organization. The third one the third general path is for you to branch out and branching out means that you still do the business analysis but you do it in a bit of a different capacity. And this is actually part of what I’ve done also is that I’ve become a consultant for example. So if you’re choosing to branch out into a broader skillset there is there you have two options you can become a consultant or a contractor. Some people use that those terms interchangeably but there is a difference and I’ll explain the difference a little bit in this video and more in another video.
So those are your three options. Let’s talk about the first one. If you choose to remain a business analyst there are specific things you can do. OK, so the first option that you have within that realm of business analysis is for you to continue to sharpen your skills as a business analyst and their actions that you can take to continue to do that. Which means that you’ve chosen a career path where you’re saying I’m going to continue to do business analysis until I retire or until something significant changes. And my objective now is to have razor-sharp skills in doing this job. OK razor-sharp skills and so you may have a certain level of competence in certain areas and a different level of competence in other areas.
Your goal if you choose this career path is to become a razor-sharp. Everything that you know how to do and everything that it is that your company needs out of your skill set. The second thing you can do if you choose to remain a business analyst is to specialize and specialization means that you either choose a certain domain.
Or you choose a certain enterprise software and you specialize a lot more in one of those two or you can choose both.
And there are certain instances where you can choose both. So for example if you want to choose a domain you can say to yourself I want to become an expert a subject matter expert in the area of capital markets for example. That’s a very that’s a domain that actually pays really well for a business analyst.
So if you choose that it’s a difficult one but it pays well if you choose to become an expert in capital markets that you are specializing in a business domain and you’re choosing to remain a business analyst you can make a very good career for yourself if you if you make that.
If you choose that option if you want to choose a tool you want to become an expert in a certain piece of software you could say to yourself I want to become a functional consultant for Oracle Financials. Let’s use that as an example. So Oracle is a company that produces a software called Oracle and their software Oracle has a component as a component called Oracle Financials and there are people who specialize in that.
And what that basically means is that they help their company either manage the Oracle Financials implementation that the company has or they’ll work for a consulting company that helps to do new implementations of Oracle Financials.
So everything I’m talking about right now. You’re still an analyst right. You’ve chosen to remain an analyst but what you’ve done is you’ve chosen to either sharpen your skills or you have chosen to specialize. Right. And if you want to learn more about that just ask me and I’ll I’ll talk about any of the things that I’ve mentioned here. OK. So that’s your first option and for me personally it’s it’s been a very fulfilling option and I’ve enjoyed doing this type of work enough continually come back to it regardless of what it is or what else it is that I’ve moved into now.
Let’s get into the second one. If you choose the career path that’s going to see you moving up in your organization there are a couple of really good candidate jobs that you can aim at. If you choose to move up in your organization and the first one of those is what is certain. Yeah, the first one of those is that you want to become a business architect. OK. There are upsides and downsides to choosing that.
Now I can talk about that more again if you want but business architecture is a really good candidate job a good target job for you to have. If you are looking to move up in your organization from your business analysis role. The second one is project management. There are people who start off as analysts and because of the fact that they work on so many projects, they work with project managers they gain so much project management skills that they think to themselves.
I actually like project management better than business analysis and then that becomes a good career choice for them. The third one the third really good candidate is for you to become a business analysis manager and that’s different from being a project manager business analysis manager managers usually a department that manages certain parts of the company’s software or you’ll have some companies that have dedicated business analysis teams and those groups inside the company are managed by aB.A. manager and so does the job of this person is to make sure that the team of business analysts that they have reporting up to them are doing the work that needs to be done to make sure that the company gets the analysis that it needs. So those are really the three best candidates for you.
If you’re choosing to move up in your organization so that’s the second major career path right is to move up the third one is the option that you have to branch out. OK. And branching out means you continue to do business analysis related work but in a very different capacity and you might think to yourself Well what’s the difference between that and option number one. Option number one means that you remain. Usually, you might remain at the same company that you’re at.
You may still work as a full-time employee for the company.
What you’re doing is you’re either specializing or you are you are really just sharpening the skills that you have that your company needs today branching out.
The third option is a little bit different than that because branching out means that you start to do business analysis but you do it in a way you do it as a contractor right. As a freelancer or you do it as a consultant or a combination of both. And so if you choose this path there are a couple of decisions that you have to make about your life in general because the big difference between 1 and 3 in our options is that number 3 is a huge lifestyle shift. It’s not just you becoming better at doing business analysis work.
There are many aspects of your life are affected by the third decision that wouldn’t be by the first decision. OK. And I can. Again I’ll elaborate on a lot of this in other videos but number three is you really branching out on your own continue to do business analysis related work in a contractor or consulting capacity. A brief note about the difference between contractors and consultants.
And I’m gonna do a whole separate video on the subject specifically because it’s something that it’s important to talk about so you understand the differences between what each of those what the expectation is between being a contractor and being a consultant a contractor typically does a very clearly defined set of tasks. So you’re a freelancer and the client that you have wants you to come in they know exactly what needs to be done they just need somebody to do the job right. A consultant provides broader input into the client’s process.
So the way that the times that the client would normally hire more of a consultant than a contractor is if things the work that needs to be done is not as clear.
Things are a little bit more fuzzy and in those instances what they need is they need somebody to come in not necessarily just do the work that’s been already defined but start to define what the work actually is and in doing so what you might be expected to do as a consultant is that you might be expected to mentor some of the employees that they have full time so that those employees can do some of the work that a contractor would do.
They can do the actual work that needs to be done. A consultant comes in in a into a situation that’s a lot less certain and they start to add in more certainty before they get the contractors come in. OK. And so it’s a subtle difference but I’ll talk a lot more about this in a separate video because there are specific tasks that you’re going to be expected to do as a consultant where if you were to be hired as a contractor the client might not necessarily have that expectation.
And so that’s what I wanted to get through in this video if you are interested in learning more about business analysis the best thing you can do is to go over to the website learn derby and sign up for our email list. The email list is the place where we send out the material that we release first. And so that’s the best way to keep in touch with us.
You can sign up on the sign forms on the website to get yourself on that list and you can be assured that we don’t sell your email address or we don’t spam. All right. If this is strictly for people who want insight into business analysis the type of insight that I’m starting to provide in these videos and that I’ve been doing for the last couple of years on the blog that’s strictly the type of information that we send out to the people that sign up for our letters.
So that’s the best way to keep in touch with us and I’d recommend that you go over there read some of the articles make sure you sign up for the email list to stay in touch with us and I’ll see you in the next video.
paul agyapong says
hey sir, thanks for the knowledge, I need your help on functional specification document and then how to sharpen my skillset on business analyst in the payment gateway.
Emal Bariali says
We will be releasing course materials on how to produce functional specifications in the near future, but may not get to the specific domain knowledge on payments. The best thing to do is to stay signed up to our email list. That is where you can get the latest updates.
Hi! It would be great to have more details about 2-nd and 3-rd options. (especially 3-rd)
I really enjoy your videos and articles! Thanks a lot!
Emal Bariali says
Are there specific questions that you have in mind? Becoming a consultant/contractor can have different impacts on your career depending on which market you are in.