The role of the business analyst is becoming increasingly important in the UK, as a growing number of organisations view it as a way to bridge business problems and technology solutions. Indeed, more and more businesses are understanding the value of having professionals who can identify business needs and determine the best way forward. Many professionals who are considering a move into the world of business analysis are however, unsure of the steps that need to be taken, or the business analysis training that is required. In this blog post, we explore this journey in greater detail and explain how you can become a certified business analyst, with the right skills for the job.
Learn About The Role & Your Skills
The first step towards becoming a certified business analyst is to take the time to learn about the role itself, what it entails, what skills are needed and which skills you already possess, which might be useful. For example, if you are a project manager, any online project management courses you have previously taken might come in handy.
"In business analysis, your experience counts. Big time," says Laura Brandenburg, author of the book How to Start a Business Analyst Career. "I've seen individuals from technical writing, project management, general management, consulting, and software engineering professions skip right into full-fledged business analyst roles."
Nevertheless, even with relevant experience, most people start out with a course on the basic principles of business analysis. An example would be the Fundamentals of Business Analysis course, which describes the role of the modern business analyst and covers key concepts, like defining business needs, enterprise analysis, benefits management and requirements management, serving as an excellent foundation.
Continue Your Business Analysis Education
Depending on the extent of your experience, it may be appropriate to start applying for business analyst roles once you have had some training. For most candidates however, further education is required. You could also ask your current employer for opportunities to practice some of what you have learned, so that you can gain relevant experience.
Armed with a foundation-level knowledge of business analysis, you might at this stage wish to pursue some early certification. At this level, working towards a BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis or other relevant certification may be appropriate. This particular certificate is broken down into four modules. Upon completion, you will earn the diploma and this will serve as evidence of your proficiency in business analysis, helping with job applications.
Gain Work Experience & Further Education
Once you are armed with certification, it is essential that you start to build up some first-hand experience, either by applying for business analyst roles, or by taking on clear business analysis responsibilities within a current role. The important thing is that you are working to identify business needs and recommend solutions to problems.
The BCS Advanced International Diploma may also be useful for demonstrating expertise in this area. In addition to this, it is also important to learn as much about business analysis as possible. One of the books that is highly regarded in this field is the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK).
Gaining Expertise and Advanced Certification
At this stage, you would typically be a certified business analyst, working full-time in a business analyst role, or equivalent. You may even have progressed up the ladder further, operating as a senior business analyst or as a consultant. However, there is still scope for further qualifications and certification to be gained.
One notable example of advanced certification would be the BCS-endorsed Expert BA Award. This serves as formal recognition that you are a senior business analyst, with the capacity to carry out a range of complex business analysis activities and that you possess the necessary knowledge to engage with stakeholders.
The Final Word
Business analysis is essential in the modern business world, but it may be necessary to obtain formal certificates to progress your career in this field. This will provide candidates with a rounded education, allowing them to work as business analysts, consultants, or senior business analysts. Where additional certification is needed, one option is to focus on those offered by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, as these are often considered the industry standard in the UK.
Nadine is a technical marketing director at Strategy Execution, contract management training providers with over 20 years’ experience in the global B2B sector. Nadine demonstrates a passion for cutting-edge technology and a proven ability to effectively translate client priorities. Nadine is passionate about Project Management, managing and contributing to the company’s PM blog which services about 40,000 monthly users.