The Community Blog for Business Analysts

Adrian M.
Adrian M.

Employers Should Do More to Train Business Analysts

While the Business Systems Analysis line of work is just beginning to be recognized as a profession of its own, the shortage of business analysts and systems analysts continues to get worse. 

And the shortage is global! 

Would you believe that India is having a shortage of qualified IT professionals? Well, you better believe it! 

A while back, Mary Hayes posted a great piece on the shortage of IT talent in India.  She stated that “the IT talent shortage there has hit a tipping point.” Four companies alone, Accenture, IBM, Infosys, and Tata were looking to hire additional 35,000 tech workers in India in just the first 6 months. 

A separate article, discussing the business analyst shortage in Australia, states that there are simply not enough people to fill the open business analyst positions. 

In the USA, the shortage of qualified analysts is just as bad. Just take a look at the sheer number of job postings for business analysts and systems analysts on the major job boards (Dice.com, Monster.com, etc.). 

Should universities crank out more graduates? 

The reality is that universities can only teach so many technical skills. And most of them do not teach critical competencies need by analysts such as big picture systems thinking, soft skills, problem solving, and requirements elicitation. 

I graduated with a degree in Computer Science from UCLA, a school well known for its engineering degrees. However, I had only one course which taught me skills which I had later used as systems analyst. And that course was taught by an outsider, a consultant from RAND corporation. He split the class into small teams and told us to come up with a software product, pitch the idea in front of the entire class, document the requirements, design the system, build it and try to sell it. 

Wow! That was cool! 

Unfortunately, that was the only such course that UCLA offered and it was just a pilot course which was available for only two quarters (I hope they brought it back). 

Most college professors do not have industry experience – they have rarely been involved in developing real systems that customers pay money for. 

I am not saying that a technical degree is of no value – I’m just saying that it’s not enough. 

So what is the answer? 

I believe that employers should do more – much more - to address this problem. Large companies should create in-house training programs to teach real-world skills to future business and systems analysts through a variety of methods: seminars, mentoring, real-life projects, etc. 

Many recent tech graduates would be willing to commit to a 2-3 year stay with a major company if they are promised a well-thought out training plan and the prospect that at the end of the training period they would have gained the competencies needed to succeed in the real world as professional business analysts or systems analysts. 

Some companies are getting the message! 

Infosys, started a program called Campus Connect to polish up the basics and teach vital skills to engineering/computer science students in colleges across India. Yes, they have a great incentive: about 24,000 tech job openings per year. 

Kudos to Infosys!!! Everybody benefits! 

The Campus Connect program teaches students critical skills such as: 
- Systems analysis 
- Hardware architecture 
- Data storage 
- Soft skills 
- Problem solving, 
- Etc. 

Do you think the employers should do more to reverse the shortage trend? 

Would love to hear your thoughts! 

Adrian

This entry was published on Dec 17, 2014 / Adrian M.. Posted in Leadership & Management, Career as a Business Systems Analyst. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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COMMENTS

Vishal Nair posted on Monday, January 5, 2015 3:06 AM
I completely agree with you sir, even in my college they had a few sessions where we were only told theoretically the activities performed by a BA
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