A lot of ‘business analyst’ jobs are posted but few require Python/R proficiency. Are business analysts becoming glorified project managers while the real analysts move into data scientist roles?
Business Analyst is very much misused job title with even certain FTSE 100 companies misusing the job title when creating or advertising job roles, so you are not alone.
However if we take a look at — Business Analyst | Top 5 Skills for Business Analysts
1. COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Communication Skill was present in over 95% of the responses I got and this is perfectly understandable.
But before I go into explaining the justification, let me unpack Communication. Communication covers speaking, listening, writing, presenting and documenting etc. As a Business Analyst, the bulk of your work is in Information. A Business Analyst is either eliciting information, analyzing information, disseminating information or processing information, and this is why Communication Skills is totally one of the top skills needed for one to function and succeed in Business Analysis. The type and kind of questions you ask as a Business Analyst, the way you ask the questions and the way you process the questions you are asked would define the next steps in your business analysis assignment. The things you hear, the way you hear and interpret them, all form the basis for your work. When asked, over 70% of Business Analysts would answer that bulk of their work include eliciting, gathering, processing and presenting requirements and information from and to stakeholders. How more important can communication skills be in business analysis.
2. CREATIVE, ANALYTICAL & PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS
Quite interestingly, half of the respondents merged these somewhat distinct skills together, while the other half separated them. However, for the purpose of this article, I have decided to merge them. Again, I totally and completely agree with this skills. According to IIBA, Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver values to stakeholders. From the definition, a need can either be a problem or an opportunity, so for a Business Analyst to be able to define the problem and recommend a solution to the problem, the BA should be creative, should be able to analyze so many actors and factors at play within the context of the problem and creatively solve the problem by recommending solutions. In-depth analysis facilitates a thorough understanding of the context of the problem. Creativity would be at play for the best solution.
3. TECHNICAL (Technology) Skills
I am not very sure if you could call this a skill, however, the respondents picked this as one of the top five skills they have used consistently in Business Analysis. Given that lots of solutions being implemented by organizations across industries and continents leverage technology, so it is safe to agree that for a business analyst to succeed, he/she needs to understand trends in the technology space, be highly skilled in the technology that the solution would run on and be able to speak the technical language that the implementation team would understand. Technical skills such as database, architecture, frameworks, and systems come to mind when thinking about the technical skills for Business Analysts. Also, remember that a business analyst acts as an intermediary between technical and business people, one can’t but hone some technical skills.
4. INTERPERSONAL SKILL
Skills such as influencing, emotional intelligence, Teamwork, leadership etc. were what my respondents came up with when I sent a follow-up question to a subset of the respondents to provide further clarifications on what Interpersonal skills encompass. And this is really a valid point. The Business Analysts depend on stakeholders and their engagement to make any meaningful outcome of their assignment, and given the natural nature of humans, a Business Analyst would need lots of interpersonal skills to be successful with their stakeholders.
5. MODELLING/DESIGN SKILLS
A lot of the deliverables the business analysts create are models of the future state. The respondents believed that they have used lots of skills that boil down to modeling and/or designs in several assignments.
So, before completing the report of this study, I decided to pilot the result with a group of 10 students a few months ago who were in my CBAP/Business Analysis Class. I presented the above 5 skills, then mixed with randomly selected 5 other skills, and asked the participants in the training class to write down, from the list of 10 skills, their top 5. The result? Not a major deviation from the result of my research. Four out of the 5 skills above featured randomly among at least 8 of the students in the class…
So, based on the research and responses I received, these are the top 5 skills used by Business Analysts across industries and continents. Are you a Business Analyst? Have you been doing business analysis for a while? Do you agree with the above 5 top skills? What are the other skills you have found highly useful in performing business analysis functions? Kindly drop your thoughts in the comment section
Yes technical skills are there but that not need be Python/R proficiency.
And if we look at Alastair Majury on “What does being a BA mean to you?”
I came across this thread on LinkedIn titled — “What does being a BA mean to you?”.
The original post is:
“What does being a BA mean to you?
As someone very passionate about what I do, I will like to read and know how you feel being a BA (including Data, Systems, Infrastructure, … Analysts).
Please share your thoughts.”
And here are some of the responses:
“I think we BAs are lucky to be given the opportunity to have a job where we help people understand and describe problems they are facing, and then help them come up with solutions. We get to work with lots of different kinds of people, in mostly collaborative, rather than stupidly competitive, environments. We are also fortunate to work in a domain where there is lifelong learning.”
This one in particular resonates with myself:
“It is the breadth and variety of what we do (elicitation, facilitation, collaboration, listening, questioning, analysis, planning, organizing, documenting, illustrating, communicating, presenting, tracking, tracing) and who we work with (Sponsors, Business, Architects, Developers, Testers, Project Managers) that I enjoy most.
1 — Working with the business to understand and describe the problem and what is to be achieved,
2 — Collaborating with SMEs, Architects, and other analysts to define a solution for the problem,
3 — Organizing the requirements for the solution so that the development team can leverage them to build the solution, and making sure the team has a clear understanding of the requirements, and
4 — Ensuring that the solution that is built meets the needs of the business.
I enjoy being the liaison between business and developers.”
“ I enjoy the essential thrownness that every business problem presents, the hermeneutic turn in modeling inquiry, and the reification of aporia. When the client’s complete aporia is reified and made apparent to the client I feel that my whole obligation to the client has been fulfilled. This is not a profession for doormats or dolts.”
“BA work is beyond requirements, facilitations,collaboratiom etc…we wear many hats, depending on the need of the hour. The only piece so far , missing , is writing code. But, i am sure there are BA’s out there that have done that as well and tested it too,just to be sure…:)”
“As a BA, I’ve worn several hats. Requirements gatherer, facilitator, collaborator, data analyst, developer, unit tester, and so many others. It depends on the day and the client need.”
“hi, if you’re questioning BA role purely from emotional/feeling perspective, look at the role of someone who feels the pain of all parties impacted by a change as well as all players who make the change happened, feels the pain and has skills to balance it out providing rationale, information, illustrations, whatever it takes to influence balanced decision making”
“ We take an empty slate and populate it with deliverables. Sometimes we deliver the goods. Other times, team members deliver the goods. We ensure delivery is according to best practices — well defined plans, validation tests, documentation, coordination between teams and stakeholders, and sometimes we make pretty the deliverable that is at first not-so-pretty. Making delivery possible, orderly, and neat.”
Nothing there indicates that Python/R proficiency would be required.
It would be interesting to understand why the question asker thinks “he real analysts move into data scientist roles”?
Accuracy of your personal data is important please read:
Alastair Majury resides locally in the historic Scottish city of Dunblane, and is a Principal Consultant and a Senior Regulatory Business Analyst working across the country. Alastair Majury also serves on the local council (Stirling Council) as Councillor Alastair Majury where he represents the ward of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, topping the poll.
Alastair Majury, is also a director of Majury Change Management Ltd is a highly experienced Senior Business Analyst / Data Scientist with a proven track record of success planning, developing, implementing and delivering migrations, organisational change, regulatory, legislative, and process improvements for global financial organisations, covering Retail Banking, Investment Banking, Wealth Management, and Life & Pensions.
For several years now, Alastair has worked extensively with a variety of financial institutions in order to offer the utmost comprehensive services. As a data scientist/business analyst, Alastair Majury is expected to find intuitive and sensible solutions to complex problems.
As a data scientist/business analyst, Alastair Majury has worked closely with several high-profile businesses, such as BNP Paribas, National Australia Bank, Standard Life and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.A graduate of University of Glasgow, Alastair Majury earned his M.A. in Economics with Business Economics. Since then, Alastair has undergone several training sessions and earned multiple certifications for a variety of skills. More specifically, he has earned certifications in IAQ, risk management, resource management, and a bevy of other areas. Alastair Majury thoroughly enjoys his work.
What excites him most about being a data scientist/business analyst is that every problem has a variety of solutions. This allows for a great deal of creativity on his part. Providing ingenious solutions to his customers’ problems provides a great deal of satisfaction to Alastair Majury. Every single day can be a new and challenging problem.
Although he is a fierce and determined worker, Alastair also manages to find free time to embrace his hobbies and interests. Alastair is a major proponent of philanthropy and charitable endeavors. He constantly finds new and exciting ways to promote charities and philanthropic organizations in his community. He also tries to donate time and funds to said organizations whenever he can. Alastair Majury firmly believes that if we all work together towards a common goal, we can find peace.