5 Things I wish I knew at the start of my career as a Business Analyst

Making mistakes and engaging in organic, on-the-job learning are inherent aspects of cultivating our tool and skill sets as professionals. However, valuable guidance and tips can significantly benefit those who are just embarking on their Business Analysis careers. Here, seasoned Business Analysts share some of the key insights they wish they had known early in their careers:

Importance of Soft Skills:

Business Analysts often emphasise the significance of soft skills, such as communication, negotiation, and interpersonal skills. They wish they had recognised early on that success in their role is not solely dependent on technical expertise but also on their ability to collaborate, understand stakeholders’ needs, and effectively convey complex information.

Standish Group’s CHAOS Report: The CHAOS Report is known for analysing project success and failure rates. While specific statistics may vary between reports, communication breakdowns, including unclear objectives and requirements, have been identified as common contributors to project failure.

For more on soft skills, read Shifting focus: Soft Skills Development a Key Priority for 2023 – Afro Ant

Understanding the Business Domain:

A strong understanding of the business domain is crucial for effective analysis. Some Business Analysts express a desire to have delved deeper into the industries they work in, understanding the intricacies and nuances of the business processes. This knowledge can help you to ask more informed questions, make better recommendations, and ultimately add more value to the organisation.

Adaptability and Flexibility:

Business environments are dynamic, and projects can change rapidly. Business Analysts often wish they had known earlier in their careers the importance of being adaptable and flexible. Embracing change, learning new technologies, and staying current with industry trends are essential for success in this field.

Read: Business Analysis: A Critical Skill for Any Project, Not Just IT – Afro Ant

Data Analysis and Visualisation Skills:

The ability to analyse and visualise data has become increasingly important in the business analysis field. Some Business Analysts wish they had focused more on developing their data analysis and visualisation skills early in their careers. Proficiency in tools like Excel, SQL, and data visualisation platforms can significantly enhance your ability to derive insights and communicate findings effectively.

Project Management Knowledge:

Many Business Analysts work closely with Project Managers and are involved in various stages of project lifecycles. Some express a desire to have gained a better understanding of Project Management methodologies and practices earlier in their careers. This knowledge can help you to align your analysis work with project goals, timelines, and deliverables more effectively.

It’s important to note that these insights may vary from person to person, and the evolving nature of the Business Analysis field means that professionals continually adapt and learn throughout their careers.