The business analysis profession is broad and continues to evolve at quite some pace. The expectation from a business analyst varies widely from one organization to another. It is from one project to another within the same organization. There are various different roles played by Business Analysts across different industries. Business analysis practitioners work as IT business analysts, business systems analysts, requirements engineers, process analysts. It also include product managers, product owners, enterprise analysts, business architects, management consultants, business intelligence analysts, data scientists, and more. In this blog, we will read on for a few pointers on how to become a business analyst without it background. We’ll go over how to construct a route for yourself if you don’t have any BA experience.
Needless to say, the IT business analyst profile is one of the most prevalent and rewarding profiles today. Even if you aim to work as a business-focused and not technology-focused business analyst, there is a strong possibility that the initiatives you will work on will require you to gain or polish some technical skills. This is because most change initiatives are managable upon by technology in some way or the other.
The roles pertaining to software/product creation, business data analytics, business intelligence, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud/SAAS application management, cybersecurity analysis among others definitely need a technology-focused business analyst. There are certainly some core business roles based on strategic/enterprise analysis, design thinking, product ownership, product management, business process management. There is a high likelihood that technology may play some (if not large) part in such initiatives.
So, if you are from a non-IT background, the natural question in your mind would be whether I can become or play the role of a business analyst without an IT background or detailed knowledge around IT.
Why The Demand for Business Analysts with IT Backgrounds?
Business analysts with IT knowledge and background have a strong demand and a good future too. If you have made a decision to make this switch, you have made the right decision.
It’s true that there is a demand for technology-focused Business Analysts but is it for the long term? Let me give you a few important reasons for the growing demand for Business Analysts with IT backgrounds:
- Success of a project depends on capturing RIGHT requirements and Business Analysts are responsible for that. That makes BAs an important part of every project including software projects. Software project requirements need a business analyst to understand technology to be able to capture requirements more effectively & right viewpoints.
- Software projects involve both Business and Technical stakeholders. Business Analysts are responsible for interacting with them as these stakeholders speak and understand different languages. Business Analysts need right amount of technical knowledge to be able to communicate with technical stakeholders effectively.
- More and more businesses are getting dependent on IT solutions. This means that number of new software projects are increasing. This also means that demand for BAs with IT skillset is increasing.
- There has been a continuing evolution of how to become business analyst professionals into expanding roles with many of them technology focused like business analytics, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud, IOT etc.
Roadblocks Faced by Business Analyst Without IT Background
Below are some of the major roadblocks that non-IT Business Analysts face in getting select for and carrying out IT BA role if selected.
- Lack of Technical Know-How – Technology has touched upon all industry segments and whosoever is underutilizing technology is lagging behind. The advent of artificial intelligence, analytics, IOT etc. have fast changed the way business is done and it won’t be an understatement that it has become a core strategic part of business. Business Analysts are playing a key role in addressing new business opportunities and solving business problems. Without adequate technological know-how, they will not be able to do justice to their role if it involves technological elements. As a business analyst, you will not be expected to do designing or programming primarily. However, you will need to understand technology well enough to be able to hold conversations with technical stakeholders and speak in their language as much as possible. Also, you might be expected to gather non-functional requirements, database requirements, interface requirements which needs understanding of technology.
- Unable to Communicate with Technical Stakeholders – Business Analysts working on technological projects need to communicate with architects, developers & other technical stakeholders to discuss and describe requirements. The communication involves speaking in a language which you can understand by the technical stakeholders considering they are more technology orient than business focused. More than the business & stakeholder needs, the technical folks are more keen to be aware of the solution (functional & non-functional) requirements which is best for them if it describes in the language which they can comprehend. Non-IT professionals find it extremely difficult to communicate efficiently with technical folks.
- Lack Of Experience with Diverse Software Development Methodologies – One common problem Non-IT professionals face in IT projects is that they are not conversant with various software development methodologies like Waterfall, Agile, Feature Driven Development, Spiral Model, Rapid Application Development etc. As a result, they are not aware of the responsibilities that they need to perform during different phases of the project lifecycle and the deliverables that they need to produce. Moreover, software projects need a business analyst to work on the present phase/iteration and also have a long-term view i.e. plan for the tasks to be carry out in next phase/iteration which is not something non-IT business analysts to doing.
Steps For How to Become a Business Analyst Without IT Background
In order to become and succeed as a business analyst, a few essential skills need to be acquired by a professional. Such key skills are as mentioned below –
- Communication Skills – Sound verbal and written communication skills are a must for a business analyst. A business analyst needs to communicate with different stakeholders across multiple fields and of varied experience. He/she needs to be multi-lingual in terms of communicating in a way that is easily understand by the concerned party and a good listener as well to absorb the right amount of information.
- Formal Business Analysis Skills – A business analyst need to possess skills that enables him/her to perform effective business analysis skills pertaining (but not limited) to elicitation(workshops, focus groups, interviews, observation), creating specifications (use cases, user stories, Software Requirements Specifications), modelling processes (using UML & BPMN modelling standards), modelling data (data flow diagrams, entity relationship diagrams).
- Business/Functional Knowledge – Functional knowledge signifies business domain knowledge which refers to knowledge of the domain/industry/process. A business analyst has to interact with key business stakeholders, analyze their needs/requirements, recommend solution options and enable implementation of the chosen solution. All these key activities are not viable without sizeable busines knowledge.
- Functional Testing – Few key activities that a business analyst perform are around functional testing. Business analyst need to learn essential concepts of functional testing as he/she may expect to validate the solution to ensure that implementation is as per the requirements using productivity tools for business analysts. He/she may also have to play an important role in creating test scenarios and even perform user acceptance testing (UAT).
For a business analyst looking to step into IT, it would be fair to state. There is no set of rules or processes. It is done to attain all required skills to transition or succeed as an IT business analyst. To begin with, start to gain knowledge around software development methodologies, database concepts & SQL, Microsoft office tools, prototype creation tools, modeling tools, data visualization tools among others.
Will A Business Analysis Certification Help?
A business analyst certification from a trusted institute is definitely a good idea to gain the required skills & competencies. Project yourself as a promising candidate for an entry-level business analysis position.
Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) from the International Institute of Business Analysts is one such renown certification. It recognizes individuals ready to develop their business analysis skills and knowledge as practising business analysis professionals. Here it prepares and equips business analysis professionals with expertise and key competencies and improves your marketability and employability. It is applicable for entry-level BA professionals. It is irrespective of whether they are looking to get into business analysis roles in the IT or Non-IT space.
Techcanvass offers an ECBA Certification Training program to help non-IT professionals clear ECBA certification. The transition to a business analyst role without having an IT background.
Now you can know more about ECBA Certification Training
Business analysis is a critical practice with key skills & competencies to perform this role effectively. Whether you are looking to get into an IT or Non-IT business analyst role. There are certain key specialized skills that need to be obtained. It Requires in order to transition to this role and perform as per desired expectations. These skills need to be mastered to be able to become eligible for the BA role. To gain a distinct advantage over other candidates. Try and understand where you stand in terms of these skills and work towards procuring them as needed.
Hence, In terms of IT-specific skills, make an attempt in learning the core IT concepts. So, Foundational IT know-how, key tools, and techniques to carry out IT business analysis roles with self-assurance. In the wide area that IT is, everything you cannot learn in advance. It would be wise to understand the core IT areas/concepts up front and gain in-depth knowledge. While working on the specific area in question.
Moreover, aim towards achieving a professional BA certification like ECBA to increase your chances of a transition to business analyst without having an IT background.