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How does one become one of these?
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I think you already have a lot of the skills from your work on the systems inplementation project you worked on. In my experience a business analyst is someone who understands the business processes and can translate them into systems requirements. A go between from IT and the business customers. Some on my coursework from my MS IS degree related to these skills but I think it is more learned from experience rather than training.
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I think you already have a lot of the skills from your work on the systems inplementation project you worked on. In my experience a business analyst is someone who understands the business processes and can translate them into systems requirements. A go between from IT and the business customers. Some on my coursework from my MS IS degree related to these skills but I think it is more learned from experience rather than training.



So would any business degree pretty much qualify someone for this type o job?

I'm thinking I need to start making more money. BA's get paid a lot around here. I can speak nerd. Win-win.
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So would any business degree pretty much qualify someone for this type o job?

Pretty much. You'll have to re-frame your resume, of course, to emphasise the times when you took a business process and automated it - even something as simple as putting together a spreadsheet to do things that people did manually before.

You will also need to get a handle on "process" documents - talk to a business analyst you know and ask them for templates of documents they use. If you can't do that, google is your friend - there are templates you can use out there. A business analysis textbook is of course, always helpful if you are going to start out.

Orinjade
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Pretty much. You'll have to re-frame your resume, of course, to emphasise the times when you took a business process and automated it - even something as simple as putting together a spreadsheet to do things that people did manually before.


Ooooooohhh See this is exactly what I do already. It's pretty much all I do. I work myself out of work and then goof off for the next 5 years.
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Is that like what The Bob's in Office Space are?
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More like Tom whats-his-name - the guy who has "people skills"

You are required to have those. Will that be a problem? :-)

Orinjade
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something as simple as putting together a spreadsheet to do things that people did manually before.

Wayadaminnit...HOW much does this sort of thing pay?!?

-synchronicity, apparently has been doing this for 15 years
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How does one become one of these?

In my experiences (Software PM), if you have no experience, best way is to know someone who can vouch for you. Many BAs I've known have transitioned from other areas of the organization (e.g. Customer Service, Marketing). Others have been hired w/out experience because someone else recommended to the hiring manager that the candidate was 'wicked smaht'.

Any opportunities at your current job?

Sometimes the real challenge is getting past HR, which is where the contacts matter if you don't have the title.

pachouly
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RJ,

As you (and lots of other people on this board) know, I've been in IT for over 10 years, and have done the Business Analyst thing either full time or as a major part of my job duties for most of those 10 years. For you and others, here are some of my rambling thoughts on the BA world. I'll try to answer as many of the questions already posed as possible, and would be happy to answer anything else folks want to ask.

What is business analysis?
There is an entire professional organization called the International Institute for Business Analysis (IIBA) that is devoted to the furtherance of the BA profession. Website is http://www.theiiba.org. I am quite familiar with this organization, having been a member for 2+ years and currently am affiliated with the local chapter. This is also the group that I recently got certified by. The specific certification is called the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) and is roughly the equivalent of the PMP for Project Managers.

In a nutshell, BA's are responsible for playing secret decoder ring between business users with a problem and implementers who solve the problem. Most of the time, we think of BAs as working on system implementation projects - taking a business process that needs to be automated into a given system and specifying how to automate said process in the system.

There are all sort of ranges of BAs and ways that BAs are used. Examples:

*Some BA's work primarily as technical writers or just document the solutions that other people (such as Senior BAs or developers or architects) come up with. These are typically more junior positions.
*Some BA's really are more like project managers but they do some business and/or technical documentation of the system solution.
*Some BA's are pretty technical - almost the software developer skillset. These people usually work in shops where people from the business side provide all the business process/requirements documentation to IT and all the decisions are already made.
*Some BA's work quite a bit - half their job or even a bit more - on testing the applications that they create specifications for.
*Some BA's work primarily earlier in the process - defining business processes, documenting implementation specification, and then handing off the spec to IT.

I am the kind of BA that can do and has done all of the above. I am what some folks call an "Idea to Implementation" person. In other words, I can help the business hone in on what needs to change in their business process in order to solve a problem, then can work on detailing the system, business process, training, and other changes, and have enough tech savvy to help developers figure out how to create the system solution and testers figure out how to test the solution. I don't work every phase of every project, but I do serve as a complete subject matter expert on the projects and make sure I can walk the project all the way through to the support phase. Not a lot of companies know how to use someone like this, but it's one of the more senior types of BA positions that exist.

How can I become a BA?
If you'd like to become a BA and you are on the business side, one of the best things to do is keep working on automating processes in your own business area. Even better is to volunteer to work with IT on systems projects pertaining to your area of expertise. Then, if a BA role becomes available in your organization, particularly if it pertains to your subject area, you should apply for it. Most IT managers don't really understand what makes a good BA - they think that you have to be a SME in the business area being served to be a good BA. This is hogwash, but if you DO have what it takes to be a good BA this is your best foot in the door to that role. Once you have a couple of good years under your belt as a BA in your current organization, you can then get another BA job in a different industry without too much trouble.

What makes a good BA?
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people think that you have to be a business SME in order to be a good BA. These people are sorely mistaken.
Being a BA is a thing in and of itself. The most important qualities to being a good BA are:
*The ability to understand and optimize business processes
*The ability to understand systems.
*The ability to ask great questions of stakeholders to figure out what they need.
*Good analysis skills - the ability to break down information and build it back up, to find inconsistencies and resolve them, and to think fairly creatively.
*People skills. You have to be able to work with a broad range of people of all technical skill set levels. This includes the people from the Marketing department who can't articulate anything about the work they do - and who you MUST get to do so, all the way down to the programmer dude in the cubicle with his forty-five cups of coffee and his pocket protector that would prefer not to interact with humans at all. Special Note for RJ:I think you are better at this part than many would expect. You have a healthy disdain for stupid people, but it sounds like the folks you work with like you well enough. You'd be probably be fine.

The IIBA has an entire manual called the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge that goes over the BA best practices. Learning about the BABOK knowledge areas, even though I don't get to apply everything, has been a very valuable exercise and I'm quite sure it helped me land my job that I'm starting Monday.

I hear this line of work pays well. HOW well does it pay?
The pay range for BA's is pretty wide. This is due to the wide variety of roles (everything from scribe to superman). Around here (KC Metro), it's pretty typical to see a person with a couple of years of solid BA experience get anywhere from low 50's to low 60's. BA's cap out at around 82-85K, and those 85K gigs are pretty rare. I make high 70's, close to 80, by being a rockstar and having a lot of experience. RJ, I would expect that you might have to make not-very-good money on your first gig, especially if your first gig is with your current employer, but with your Oracle knowledge you could probably bump that up in a couple of years without too much trouble.

Hope this helps.

d
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Any opportunities at your current job?


Initially I would say yes. I am in tight with the CIO, as in, I chair 2 committees that he is on, he has seen my work, and remains impressed with it. He has said before that if I had more tech credentials, he would not hesitate to recruit me.

However,

Sometimes the real challenge is getting past HR

I haven't said much about this, but we have a new Catbert here who is the epitome of the evil HR troll. In the year she has been here, she has expanded her empire faster than I have ever seen. They are firing people left and right for the smallest infractions, and are changing many long-standing HR practices without communicating them to anyone until it is too late. Basically, the workplace has become less education-like, and more corporate-like. Which is actually fine with me since I am efficient, except that they still pay like an education system, which just isn't enough to put up with that level of uncertainty.

Long story short, I'm browsing for something else once I am done with school.
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First, this board is magical - I read your initial question, think "He should ask dianakalt", and then I scroll down and see....dianakalt. Magic!

As for He has said before that if I had more tech credentials, he would not hesitate to recruit me.

Ask him what "credentials", specifically. You should be able to pick them up either at your current job via asking the CIO to allow you to "cross train", or by taking tech classes (free to you, if I recall correctly) at your school. I'd say your best covert bet would be to say you have an interest in "how it all ties together" and ask for cross-training. 'Tis how I've acquired skills, most of the time. Bonus: you get to do it during hours you already have to be at work.

As far as I have ever been able to see, most BA's I've run across had degrees in Something Else, and experience on the IT side. To be fair, most I have run across in IT (me included) have degrees in Something Else and just wing the IT Geek bit.

dianakalt has the degree and experience, but we already knew she was super-duper fantastic, yes?

impolite
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First, this board is magical - I read your initial question, think "He should ask dianakalt", and then I scroll down and see....dianakalt. Magic!

Cool, huh? :o)

Ask him what "credentials", specifically. You should be able to pick them up either at your current job via asking the CIO to allow you to "cross train", or by taking tech classes (free to you, if I recall correctly) at your school. I'd say your best covert bet would be to say you have an interest in "how it all ties together" and ask for cross-training. 'Tis how I've acquired skills, most of the time. Bonus: you get to do it during hours you already have to be at work.

Totally agree with impolite on this. Ask what skills the CIO wants to see. One thing that I am 100% sure would benefit you is learning about relational databases and learning SQL, particularly for data retrieval. Also, basic coursework on data modeling would be a benefit. There are most likely classes at your institution in these areas. Consider taking one or more of them. When I hire BAs, this is a mandatory skill. I am not so much looking for someone who can be an *expert* in SQL or data modeling, as you usually will have developer/architect staff who will either do the heavy lifting on such design or at least validate what the BA comes up with, but rather I am looking for someone who understands important principles of data storage and retrieval. Additionally, the SQL skills for data retrieval are helpful to a BA when putting together information on feasibility or cost-benefit for projects.

As far as I have ever been able to see, most BA's I've run across had degrees in Something Else, and experience on the IT side. To be fair, most I have run across in IT (me included) have degrees in Something Else and just wing the IT Geek bit.

Also concur. Most BAs come from one of two paths. Either they were from the business side and happened to be very system savvy, or they were developers, support, or QA people on the IT side that took the BA role because either someone needed to fill those duties or they were looking for a career progression.

dianakalt has the degree and experience, but we already knew she was super-duper fantastic, yes?

*shrug* Some would argue that I don't have the degree. I have a BS in Chemistry and an MS in Engineering Management. No specific IT degrees. I got into IT consulting 10 years ago because that's what a lot of engineering management students went into. I chose that field not because I was particularly good with a computer, but more because I am particularly good at analysis and quality principles.

Which, I guess, does make me super-duper fantastic. :o)
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usajobs.com ?


peace & knock me over with a feather
t
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crap



peace & paying attention
t
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"crap"

To each his own. Uncle Sam is doing lots of hiring these days. We just hired an IT guy who was making nearly $200K at a NYC investment firm, before being fired about a year ago. He is excited to be working at a salary of little more than half that.
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