4 Steps to Becoming a Business Analyst

If you are interested in becoming a business analyst (BA), you may be a little overwhelmed with all of the options available when it comes to schooling. You might see private colleges offering the course, or MBA programs at your local university that allow you to specialize in business analysis.

There are also any number of books, webinars, and mentors to help you along your journey. If you’re looking for some kind of professional development or business analysis courses, how do you know what will work best for you? Read on to learn what you can do to make your decision a bit easier.

1. Know What You Want Out of Your Training

There are so many options out there that you will really need to choose one that will fit your learning style, budget, skill-building needs, and learning style. Ask yourself where you’ll be in two years, if you choose a particular training program?

If you’re not yet a business analyst but want to become one, you may have a general goal of “I want to be employed in my first business analyst job” or “I want to stay within my current organization but create a business analyst role.”

2. Put that Training in Context of Your Career Goals

When you understand what you want to achieve, you’ll be better able to break down your options. Look at your goal and think about what parts of that goal training will help you further your achievements, and how.

Getting started in business analysis is made up of a lot of parts and pieces. You have to learn about the profession, for one, but you also need to build experience and your business network, search for a job, or convince your manager to create a new position for you.

In many cases, formal training will start you on the path to all those other activities, and it’s key that you’ll finish off your training program with a lot more going on than when you started.

3. Decide What Skills You Need

Everyone has different skills and training with which they come to the business analysis table. Some people are natural communicators but need to learn about formal analysis models, some are great analyzers but need to improve communication. Some have done a lot of BA-type work but need to learn more about the end-to-end project life cycle. A lot assume they need certain IT skills.

You can find BA training programs that focus on any one piece of business analysis. Most intro programs will focus on certain knowledge areas; the set of activities and techniques a business analyst does. Other programs will blend BA skills and soft skills. Others do a combination of these.

If you’re unsure of what skills you need to work on, you should complete a transferable skills assessment and see what experience you already possess that you can translate into business analyst. This can help you decide if you need to focus on the “soft” or “hard” skills of business analysis. In addition, start going over job descriptions and see what kind of qualifications are required by those businesses hiring business analysts.

4. Decide What Type of Training You Want

There are many learning options in today’s environment, from self-study online to degree programs at universities. The more face-time you get with your classmates and instructors, the more you will pay. A good training program online that covers a specific skill set will start at between $300 and $500. On the high end, a degree program that covers all needed aspects will cost you tens of thousands of dollars. In the middle are training classes that will cost you a few thousand dollars, plus travel costs to get to where the classes are offered.

It comes down to what you want to learn, plus how much you want to spend. At the end of the day, you need to do what you must do in order to move forward your career as a business analyst.

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