Ant Interviews (#1): Becoming a Business Analyst

Mr. N is a Business Analyst working at Old Mutual. He started out as an intern, before becoming a Junior BA. Today he talks to us about transitioning into the BA role…

If someone wants to become a BA, where is the best place to start?
I think the best place to start is with a self-assessment because being a BA is a multidisciplinary field. There are so many touch points to being a BA, that you need to identify in yourself the qualities that are essential (do I have what it takes to fill this kind of role?). Education plays a big role too. There is a whole body of knowledge, and getting to know that really helps. In short, understand both yourself and the fundamentals of what it takes to be a BA. Once you know that, you can leverage off the skills you currently have and work on the skills you still need.

What is the most interesting part of your role?
The fact that every day is a new challenge and a new place to learn. Especially starting off – because there are so many aspects of the role – every day you learn something new about being a BA and you learn something about yourself. Sometimes you don’t know what you are capable of until you are put in a situation. I like that I get to engage with many different people and types of people – BAs, testers, business stakeholders.

What has been the biggest challenge in moving across to becoming a BA?
Starting off – the fear of the unknown. As I said earlier, it’s important to know the fundamentals, but application of it is a different story. You want to add value straight away, and that isn’t always possible. Then another big challenge is finding your own BA “style” – everyone has a different way of being a BA and you need to find your way of implementing the theory in practice. You are not going to do it exactly the same way as the guy before you, so you need to find a way that works for you and enables you to deliver.