Career as a Business Systems Analyst

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Yes, the world is flat, and the reality of today’s global economy is that business analysts (BA) from all corners of the earth – North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific – often work with one another. But they don’t always understand how business efficiency is impacted by the comprehension of their inherent differences. There are fundamental philosophical and behavioral differences between professionals across the world that impact business success. If BAs aren’t readily capable of adapting to the environment in which they work, they are most certainly setting themselves up to fail.

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Business Analysis is a term that covers a wide range of different disciplines, which has grown in scope over the past 10-15 years. BAs can become involved in a variety of different activities, depending on the organisation and the particular project that they are working on – these can range from very technical to very business focused activities.  So if you're working as a Business Analyst, or working with a Business Analyst, what can you expect?
 

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Regretably, many of today's Systems Analysts are still glorified programmers in sheep's clothing.  I recently came across some job postings under the title, "Systems Analyst," and it occurred to me people still do not know what it means. In the postings I saw things like "seeking a Systems Analyst with 4 - 6 years experience... Candidate must have experience with JAVA and the ATG application framework."

 

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If you work with other business analysts, you are fortunate. Together with your colleagues, you can experience greater effectiveness than you could have achieved on your own.  Additionally, your colleagues can provide you with a diverse and convenient pool of expertise from which to draw.

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The role of business analysts and systems analysts appears to be very closely related, and there is no agreement on the definitions of the roles or the required skill set to become one of the said analysts. Though the number of these positions is increasing, the understanding of what the business and systems analysts are remains unclear and differs between organisations. A review of literature shows that there are common roles and skills between the two positions, as well as very distinct roles and skills that are clear. This research has demonstrated that although there is some harmony between the articles and interviews on the distinctions between the business analyst and the systems analyst, there are still discrepancies that can only be understood through further research.

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I get this question and variations of it all the time! What is a senior business analyst? What skills do I need to develop to become one? What are the most valued business analyst competencies?

This is a tough question. And although finding the answer can be difficult, it’s also a tough question because it has multiple answers. Business analysis, like many, if not most, professions, exists within an organizational context. Different organizations value different competencies and so senior can mean something different depending on the organization in which you work and the strengths you bring to the table.
 

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If you can dream up ways to save your company money by developing new systems and better ways of working then the job of business analyst might be for you.  It's a job that currently has a skills shortage in the IT world, and that - says recruitment consultant Tom Derbyshire - means strong job candidates can call the shots.
 

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There are many qualities that contribute to great business analysis. You have to be a good communicator and be able to analyze problems. It generally helps to have some solid background in the common techniques of business analysis. For some jobs you need domain knowledge, for others technical expertise. All of these are debated and discussed often in BA circles across the web. One of the attributes I don’t hear people talk about quite as much is being results-oriented.
 

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The purpose of companies creating Business Analyst positions is to improve IT quality and efficiency while reducing project failures. When I first started as an Analyst, coming previously from the position of Software QA and having an education in technical writing (think documentation), I thought I was the perfect mix for the position. I quickly learned that having a job where I prove my worth through project success can be stressful.

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Learn all about the ISEB diploma in Business Analysis offered by the British Computer Society (BCS). It offers an industry recognized qualification without mandating a set duration of prior business analysis work experience.

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Today the term Business Analyst is synonymous with a career in the IT industry but the most successful and valuable analysts are those who understand the 'business' rather than those who understand IT. So what exactly is a Business Analyst? What is the Business Analyst’s role? What is the best background for this job? What skill set is required? What type of person is the best fit? What training is required and available?

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If you ask Business Analysts what they think about ‘Agile’, you’re likely to get a mixed bag of answers... With so many different ideas on what Agile is and how Agile impacts the Business Analysis profession, we decided to talk with leading experts in the Agile field and get their opinions on the subject.

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Managers who supervise business analysts, particularly in large companies, frequently struggle with creating a competency model for BAs. What are the key elements to consider? How to structure the various BA levels and titles? How to make sure that the competency model truly reflects business needs? Even if it requires a certain level of effort to be developed, a competency model offers a number of benefit to organizations...

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 Ever had to interview your boss – or a divisional general manager – or the managing director of a key customer? What about a politician or a senior executive in a government department? All these scenarios can be nerve racking, yet they’re something a business analyst may be required to do on a regular basis.

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Job sharing is growing in popularity across almost all corporate job sectors.  It also offers employers a viable option for balancing heavy workloads and retaining talent. Even if all of an organization's employees are full-time, should a project balloons unexpectedly and a business analyst become overloaded, the option to project-share would enable an employer to tag a less-stressed analyst to jump in and share the load.

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