6 Practical Steps to Starting Your BA Career

Do you like listening to others and asking key questions to solve their problems? If your answer is just yes, you’ll be needing a lot more motivation to get started. If it’s a resounding “hell yes!”, then you mean business, and this is definitely the place for you.

Sometimes BA jobs just happen, and you find yourself doing business analysis work without having seen it coming. Other times, you actively seek it. The great thing about the business analysis career path is that anyone, from any background, can choose to become a business analyst. Kathleen Barret, CEO of IIBA states, “there’s no one path to becoming a business analyst”. 

Business Analysts come in different flavours (See Business Analyst Roles: Are you a Generalist, Specialist or Hybrid BA?). No matter which camp you belong to, there are some initial steps you will need to take to launch or grow your career in Business Analysis. 

Take a look at these options, discover what works best for you, and get started...sometime today!

1. Educate yourself: Register for a Business Analysis Training Course

Regardless of your background, you will have a lot to learn from taking a business analysis course, unless you already have some experience under your belt. I had about 4 years’ experience in ICT prior to starting my BA career. My familiarity with business and technology did, however, give me some edge. As a BA, you’ll mostly be working in the twin worlds of business and technology. Regardless of your specialty, however, there will always be a place for you in the BA world, and there are plenty of courses to get you started. View A List of Free Business Analyst Training Online.

2. Prove your worth: Get certified

There are a number of BA certifications widely recognized in the industry today. View Business Analyst Certifications: IIBA’s CBAP/CCBA or BCS Business Analyst Certification? to see a comparison of the 2 most popular business analyst certifications.

Beyond demonstrating to employers that you have the basic knowledge it takes to do a great job, becoming certified also shows prospective employers how serious you are about being a BA.

You will, however, need to arm yourself with some BA experience to qualify to write the IIBA certification exams. Examine your CV...Do you have any specific domain knowledge? Do you have experience in any of the 6 knowledge areas as outlined by IIBA? Have you been involved in typical problem solving activities in the past? If you have answered yes to any of these, that’s already a great start. Your experience can act as a significant leverage in launching your Business Analysis Career. 

3. Practise Kaizen: Subscribe to BA education sites for continuous improvement

Whether you’re a budding analyst or a seasoned BA professional, there’s always something new to learn in the BA world. The only way to remain competitive and improve is to be aware of the trends. Subscribe to mailing lists, attend webinars and generally get in the groove of honing your Business Analysis skills. View the Top 6 Business Analyst Websites and Blogs to Follow.

4. Network

Look to the power of many; explore the professional networking opportunities around you. Joining your IIBA local chapter provides a great opportunity to liaise with fellow BAs. The more visible you are, the more leads and valuable advice you are likely to receive.

5. Get a mentor

There’s no hand like the experienced hand. Acquiring a BA mentor can form a critical aspect of your career growth. A mentor would typically provide you with the necessary hand-holding you need to get your feet wet in the BA world. 

6. Take the Plunge

Once you have an arsenal of education, experience and certification to draw on, take the first plunge and apply for a BA job. Be aware that BA jobs can easily be concealed under a plethora of titles like Business Process Analyst, Functional Analyst, IT Analyst and so on. Read A Guide to Starting Your Business Analyst Career: Training, Experience & Certification to get an idea of the different job titles you may encounter.

As it is with any profession, it takes perseverance and a genuine passion to excel. Prepare yourself, have a plan that works, and you will hit gold at some point. 

For more insights, read How my BA career started.

How to Start Your Business Analyst Career