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Business Analyst Career Path: What You Should Know

November 05 ,2019

You’ve just landed your first Business Analyst (BA) job. You enjoyed your responsibilities, your team colleagues, and your working environment, but you wonder what if you can pursue this career? What’s the best business analyst career path forward? How does it look like?

If you’ve been in that situation, don’t worry. This article is exactly what you need. You’ll learn steps to enter a business analyst career that you can follow. Equip yourself with core skills, and you’ll thrive in 2020, for sure. 

SIDENOTE: The following jobs refer to the common levels of a business analyst career path. Each level might carry a different job title than described here, but the role and capabilities are necessarily the same. Each level might have more granular levels, as well. For example, you might have a junior and senior Product Manager. 

Let’s dive in with people at Designveloper

1. Junior Business Analyst

If you’ve just graduated from the university or have a little experience in BA, or be new to software projects, you might want to apply for the Junior Business Analyst position. This is the very first level of a business analyst career path. This position will be a significant opportunity to get to know the profession, learn necessary BA skills, and build work experience. 

business analyst career path

The responsibilities of a Junior Business Analyst may include:

  • Assist Senior BA and other subject-matter professionals to collect, validate, and document requirements. 
  • Carry out in-depth evaluations and verify the capabilities of systems. 
  • Serve as a middle man among stakeholders to ensure the information is delivered correctly.
  • Conduct thorough research on the market and make recommendations.

To get hired as a Junior Business Analyst, you should consider doing the following: 

  • Improve your BA skills, including analytical skills, communication skills, technical skills, time-management skills, problem-solving skills, and presentation skills.
  • Join BA accreditation programs to enhance your industry recognition. 
  • Join groups, meetups, and communities to connect with other BAs. This will help you learn valuable lessons and build your network. The high chances are that you’ll find great job opportunities that you can’t see anywhere else. 

2. Senior Business Analyst

After you get one or two years of experience working as a Junior Business Analyst, you can pursue a Senior position. 

The name tells it all: Senior Business Analysts handle more complex and sometimes more sophisticated tasks than Junior ones. They’ll have to acquire an in-depth understanding of strategies and documenting capabilities to address business challenges. They also take charge of evaluating business processes to identify and predict potential risks. 

business analyst career path

In some organizations, a Senior Business Analyst has to manage the entry-level and mid-level BAs, lead multiple projects, and assist managers on large projects. 

With these in mind, you need advanced skills to land this job:

  • Must have experience in involving large scale projects. 
  • Have strong project management, relationship building, and communication skills.
  • Earn leadership skills and have the ability to manage others. 
  • Can be a consultant for stakeholders. 

Remember that a Senior Business Analyst doesn’t just have at least one year of experience, but they also demonstrate a wide range of specialized skills. He can undertake multiple types of projects and ensure excellent performance. 

3. Business Architect

According to Wikipedia, a Business Architect is “a practitioner of business architecture, a discipline concerned with developing and maintaining business capabilities of the enterprise in line with the corporate strategy as well as contributing to the business strategy and plans.

business analyst career path

Now, you are in the middle of the business analyst career path. The keyword phrase here is a practitioner of business architecture. A Business Architect develops business capabilities and design business structures. They’re customer-driven and excel in finding the values of organizations and customers. They’re also good communicators both to business managers and technical staff.  

Business Architects’ responsibilities:

  • Use various business scenarios to devise a business architecture strategy. 
  • Analyze and clarify the business situation to maintain funding for investment and operational activities.
  • Work with technical specialists to design new and complex insight-driven solutions. 
  • Discover new business capabilities through the implementation of strategies and solutions. 

To get this position, you need to build foundational business architecture knowledge and gain a broad set of soft skills. Those skills include leadership, collaboration, communication, strategy, planning, etc. 

4. Enterprise Architect

Some people think that a Business Architect and an Enterprise Architect are the same because the word “enterprise” and “business” has a very similar meaning. But their roles are indeed different. 

According to Techopedia, an Enterprise Architect (EA) is “an enterprise architecture specialist who works closely with stakeholders to develop a view of an organization’s strategy, information, processes, and IT assets.” He analyzes, designs, plans, and implements enterprise analysis to maintain IT and business alignment. 

business analyst career path

Think about this position when you specify your Business Analyst career path. Even if it’s hard to enter and to perform, once you have the “right stuff” (meaning experience, skills, and knowledge), you can go far. 

Job responsibilities of an Enterprise Architect are:

  • Locating gaps or problems of the current technology that the company is using.
  • Suggesting software and hardware updates. 
  • Developing a data model for tracking and finding patterns in data collected through business practices.
  • Providing how-to and installation guides for new users. 

Two of the best advice for you to land the Enterprise Architect job:

  • Gain one of the component architecture disciplines first: business architecture, data architecture, application architecture, network architecture, security architecture.
  • Learn an EA framework to work with other architecture disciplines as well as fundamentals and background material for EA. 

5. Project Manager

A Project Manager knows everything about a project: what it is, why it should be done, how many resources are required to complete it, etc. They take charge of planning, executing, reviewing, controlling, and losing the project. 

business analyst career path

A Project Manager is a key person to ensure the success of a project. They have to be an expert in his own field. They estimate costs and track expenses, so the project doesn’t run over its prescribed budget. They work well under pressure and do their utmost to drive business results. 

Top skills needed to become a Project Manager:

  • Communication and interpersonal.
  • Leadership. 
  • Time management.
  • Budget management.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Risk management. 

6. Product Owner

The role of a Product Owner can be different in companies, but they’re always at the center of every development cycle. They handle several essential duties and responsibilities, from business strategy to product design. They’re a leader who has to think about all the ways to maximize the value of products that a Scrum development team has created. 

business analyst career path

As a Product Owner, a person has to:

  • Develop a vision for development projects. They make sure the vision is clear enough, so stakeholders, including business managers, development teams, and customers understand. The vision should be aligned with business objectives, as well. 
  • Manage the product backlog. Create a list of backlog items and prioritize them based on the overall strategy and business objectives. 
  • Observe the actual development of the product. A Product Owner is a crucial player throughout each event, including planning, refinement, review, and sprint. 
  • Inspect and evaluate product progress through each iteration. 

To become a Product Owner, you need the skills below:

  • Business analysis.
  • Product management.
  • Project management.
  • Overall management. 

7. Business Director

The highest position in this business analyst career path is a Business Director. You can think about it after you’ve gained many years of working experience, and you’re a top-notch person in your industry. It isn’t easy to land this job, but it’s worth trying. 

Becoming a Business Director, you work in a range of different industries managing the development of a business’s goals. Sometimes you have to work overtime, possibly up to over 40 hours a week, to meet the demands of the job. You’re an exceptional communicator, negotiator, and leader. You’re comfortable with devising strategies and business plans to help staff work towards goals that benefit the company. 

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Here are some primary responsibilities of a Business Director:

  • Establish goals, sales targets, and policies to increase revenue and boost company growth.
  • Oversee financial and budgetary activities of the company and propose necessary improvements. 
  • Find ways to cut costs and improve financial performance. 
  • Negotiate contracts to determine the best deal for the company. 
  • Build a relationship with existing and prospective clients. 

A conclusion about the business analyst career path

Now you have a business analyst career path and understand the nature of each position. You also get to know which skills you should horn. What next? That depends on you and where you are in this career path. Find your mentor, join a training program, or apply for your desired job, etc. Good luck!

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