“Once upon a time, young people learned a trade through years of apprenticeship.”
Have you noticed an interesting dilemma faced by those wanting to enter the business analysis profession?
There don’t seem to be any “Junior Business Analyst” jobs. Most hiring organizations are looking for practitioners with prior business analysis experience.
Imagine wanting to begin a career as a driver and being told “You can’t drive the car until you know how to drive a car.”
And when you ask for advice on how to learn to drive a car you get answers such as:
- “Here’s a list of good books about driving cars.”
- “Talk to other drivers about their experience and how they got started.”
- “Try first a related career such as car washing, car repair, etc.”
- “Subscriber to Car and Driver magazine.”
Well –that seems to be how we treat newcomers to our profession:
- Managers want to hire the experienced Business Analysts for their projects but they don’t seem to want to grow BAs, and
- Experienced practitioners want to work with and learn from other experienced BAs but they don’t want mentor junior ones.
Is business analysis a really a profession? Are we there yet?
I’m not so sure!
In most mature professions you will find that, in addition to the educational requirements which may exist, there is always a “practical” component to the path to getting started as a newbie:
- Carpenters, auto mechanics, and plumbers have apprentices who are taught the trade.
- Medical school graduates go through lengthy residency and fellowship programs where they gain real experience.
- Law enforcement academy graduates are generally assigned to a training officer with whom they will spend months, if not years, on the street learning the realities of the profession.
- If you want to learn to drive a car you are allowed to get behind the wheel and learn to drive even before you master the skill enough to pass the driver’s test.
That’s what we need in our profession!
We need managers, practitioners, visionaries, and leaders who are willing to hire newbies and help them start their careers as business analysts.
If you’re a newbie I bet you would love to find an organization who is willing to hire you right out of school/training, get you started as a business analyst, mentor you, and the launch you into a successful business analysis career! Wouldn’t you?
In this month’s issue of the Modern Analyst eJournal, you’ll find some great thought leadership on the value of and establishing Business Analysis Communities of Practice (BA COP) or Business Analysis Centers of Excellence (BA COE) which can act as the starting point of BA apprenticeship and mentoring programs.
Also in this issue you’ll find insightful articles on the Business Analyst Career Progression and the Potholes of Office Politics that new BAs may be faced with.
And in the spirit of providing you with a solid technical background, we continue our SOA series with an introduction of More Confusing SOA Terms.