How to Start a Business Analyst Career Even if You Have No Experience

How to Start a Business Analyst Career Even if You Have No Experience


I’m Laura Brandenburg with Bridging the
Gap. Today, I’m going to talk about what I like
to call the “chicken and egg” problem in business analysis, which is, almost all
roles require business analyst experience, but how do you get that experience if you
aren’t a business analyst? It can feel like the chicken and the egg. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? Who knows? What comes first, the business analyst, or
the business analyst experience? It’s frustrating for those of you who are
looking to get started in the profession, and just don’t know how to break through
that egg. Let’s talk about it. Here’s the thing. When you start to ask people in the profession
how they got started into business analysis, a lot of times those who didn’t go to school
for business analysis, those who have been around for a while, before we had programs
for business analysis that trained us how to do this, they would just tell you, “Well,
I kind of just fell into the role. Like one day I was on a project and it was
kind of cool, and they needed a subject matter expert, and then I learned about this thing
called requirements, and I started doing more interviewing and elicitation. I discovered business analysis. It’s this name for the career I’ve been
doing all along.” That’s my story, too. I was a QA engineer before I was a business
analyst. I got stopped in the hallway by a senior business
analyst who said, “Hey, there’s a new position opening up on our team. Would you like to apply?” For so long, I had internalized in my head
is like, how do I become a business analyst? I was just walking around in the hallway. But then people, when I started Bridging the
Gap nine years ago, started to email me and say, “Well, Laura, how do I get started?” And telling them you just walk around and
hope that somebody offered them a business analyst job wasn’t a good answer. So, we needed a new answer, and then I started
doing the interviews and I felt like a lot of people had this same answer I had. It just kind of happened. And, so, I knew that people who were trying
to make this happen for themselves, they needed a better answer. The reality is that you can orchestrate your
“fall” into business analysis. You do it by, essentially, following the path
that I took, and follow the path that thousands of others have taken into business analysis
by just starting to do the work, even if nobody’s asking you to do it. One opportunity tends to lead to another. You just start doing the work in your current
role. Now, this is something we can talk about for
hours. We have hours and hours of training programs,
teaching new people how to do business analysis, or people who are either newly in a BA role,
or who are not even in the BA role yet, how to do business analysis. But I want to give you some quick tips in
this video so that you have some takeaways and you can go try and experiment with this
for yourself. One obvious way to look at it is to look for
business processes that you can analyze. Business process is just a step-by-step set
of activities that happens in a pretty consistent way. You do work again and again in your business,
like servicing a customer, or setting up a new account, things that happen pretty similarly
time to time, and analyzing that as a process and writing down what that process is. A very easy way to get started. Other ways are to look at the software that
you use as a business user. What are the requirements of that software? How does it work? Create a use case or a set of user stories
describing the functionality of that software. Or if there’s a change that you want to
that software, create a wireframe and annotate, “Hey, I want this here instead of here,”
or maybe information’s on two different screens and you want it together on one screen. Create a wireframe mockup of what that would
look like and share that with a developer and see if they can maybe help you create
that kind of screen or create that for you. Just simple ways to get started. Analyze the data. Data seems more technical, and it can be,
but it could be as simple as creating a glossary or a high-level model describing the terminology
in your organization so when everybody says account, or customer, or order, those words
tend are deceptively simple in that everybody thinks that they’re saying the same thing,
but they’re saying something different. Can you be the person that creates the glossary
or clarifies definitions when we’re talking about those things in a meeting. Again, you’re starting to do business analysis
work. So, business process, software requirements. We talked about use cases, wireframes, and
data models. A third area to look at is communication. Being a business analyst, a huge part of that
role is being a good communicator. What you want to do, you can practice communication
in any role. You could take notes in a meeting so you’re
practicing hearing what people have to say. You can practice asking questions and getting
feedback. “Hey, what I’m hearing is this. Did I get that right?” Or, instead of spending a lot of time researching
the answer, go and ask somebody the answer. If you’re on the technology side, go ask
a business user for input. Present them with a wireframe and ask for
their input and feedback before you actually build what you’re building. You’ll be doing a little bit of business
analysis if you do that. Documentation reviews, or any kind of documentation,
how can you review that documentation so it’s more clear, more complete, more concise? Again, a large part of the business analysis
effort is creating some sort of documentation that’s usable and clearly understood by
the whole team. Those are just some quick ideas to get started. What you’ll find, the cool part of just
like starting to do business analysis is that your work, especially if you’ve been frustrated
or bored or feeling like you’re kind of at a dead end in your career, the work automatically
starts to become more fulfilling. There is salary and other benefits that come
with being a formally sanctioned business analyst with the job title and with that level
of responsibility assigned to you. But you can get some of the benefits just
of having more challenging fulfilling work of making your organization better just by
getting started applying those techniques in the role you’re in today. What we see, I call it the “virtual cycle
of business analysis.” You take just one of these steps and you take
that step forward, and that opportunity leads to another opportunity, leads to another opportunity. The first couple of steps, you’re going
to have to do some of the heavy lifting and make them happen. And put more effort in consistent driving
forward to get it started. But what starts to happen when you do that
is opportunities start to come to you. People see that you’re contributing to meetings
in new ways and asking the tough questions, or you’re taking notes, and everybody needs
somebody to take notes. Maybe you get invited to more interesting
meetings and problem-solving discussions. In that meeting, you can volunteer to create
a document or to do something extra that would help move that problem or that discussion
forward. It’s just like one thing leads to another
and all you have to do is take the first step. That’s my call to action to you. Leave a comment below with what step are you
going to take. What one slice of business analysis will you
use in your work this week, and how are you going to make that happen? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about it. If you’re one of our veterans, we have lots
of people with lots of experience that still listen into our videos. Go ahead and just let somebody know something
unusual that you did as a business analyst. Or maybe the very first thing you did even
before you were a business analyst, and share your story. It can inspire a lot of other people as well. Again, I’m Laura Brandenburg from Bridging
the Gap. We help professionals like you get started
in business analyst careers. It’s all about just taking that first step
and letting the virtuous cycle start to create momentum for you in your career. This is how you do it. This is how you get started as a business
analyst with no experience, and you break the egg by creating the experience, and creating
the success for yourself. Again, Laura Brandenburg. Thanks for watching. Talk soon, everyone.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

100 Comments

  1. I am into financial markets and working for middle office investment banking as a Team leader and having domain expertise in equities, fixed income and cash management . I need a breakthrough for the Business Analyst profession .

  2. I can so relate. I did not have a job at the time and was on vacation. I was on the lookout for DBA job. I was approached by a company and they were in need of a business analyst. I had no prior experience or any knowledge of the domain. But I said yes, and I've been a business analyst for over 5 years now.

  3. Laura, thank you for your help, guidance, shared experience, and advice. I have been a business analyst for the last 5 months and happened into the position through the kindness of my boss (I wasn't even after something like this). I love the work and am grateful that you are spending your time and energy to help other. Thanks, again. -Travis

  4. i'm operation research graduate , i feel like it's look like BA ( making better product ) , i;m really interesting about that , could you help please ?

  5. I've just had the greatest epiphany! I'm currently an Academic Advisor and have been so for the past 2 years. During this time I've taken on the responsibility for creating and reviewing a significant amount of our business processes and detailed working instructions (we use both). I became heavily involved in a major project which continues to this day. I enjoy analysing data, identifying gaps in business processes, creating detailed working instructions… Unfortunately there aren't many job opportunities with my current employer, to move upwards or even sideways. Now I know I've been doing what feels like two jobs for the price of one! I have experience as a Database Support Officer, assisting a DBA, but my qualifications are unrelated (Bachelor of Biomedical Science & Masters of Forensic Science) so I'd hope to be considered based on experience and the willingness to learn new skills.

  6. New to the BA career path and I am trying to gain all the knowledge I can to assist me in my role at work. I was brought on as a SME and am working on many of the things you describe here, just wanting to get a better handle on this new role.

  7. Hi Laura, I'm a 2007 computer application graduate(BCA). I've been into IT recruitment profile for over 5yrs now. I always wanted to get into a business analyst kind of a role but some how due to family, children and all, I couldn't and also there are least opportunities in the Indian market for a 2007 grad with recruitment experience. Can you please tell me what can I do to get into a role of a business analyst and how welcoming is the IT industry for aspirants like me. Your comments, advices and guidance will be much appreciated. Thank you.

  8. I have an interview next week for a business analyst position at a hospital and I’m very nervous because I have no experience.

  9. Thanks this vedio encourage me to move more close to my new dream role of business analyst, I am currently working as a QA lead, and doing gap analysis for business requirements and functional requirements, creating user stories, client intrection, QA team clarification for functional understanding, hope I can learn more on domains, to go deep into the back roles.

    Thanks for the vedio, appreciate.

  10. Thanks very much for elaboration around business analysis. I am new to the role and trying to understand the RnR of it and how can I help my team. interested to hear more from you.

  11. Hm… what to analyse ahead of time if you are unemployed and nowhere to show it? Just pick a random company that you like, and wait for a position that could potentially open up?

  12. Hi! I've am about to be interviewed for an opportunity as a business analyst. Do you have any suggeestions for relevany questions to ask during the interview? Thank you!

  13. I have more of project management experience as well as PMP certificate. Do you think starting Business Analyst in order to eventually move to PM role is a good approach. I have been applying for PM as well as BA role.

  14. Thank you so. UCB for your advice. Are there many Business Analysts that work within the fashion industry. I am a graduate of fashion, but have worked in the financial service industry as an accounting assistant. I want to go back to the fashion industry, but working more towards the business area. Can you give me a tip on this please?

  15. Have an interview today for my very first BA position. I have been in an account administration roll in healthcare for 8 years with a BA degree in Political Science, hoping to transition into a BA roll. Wish me luck!

  16. It's one of my dream job years ago. But I lack communication skills very much, so I hit a brick wall. 😅

  17. Check out this resource for newbie business analysts: https://thepunner.com/nine-tips-entry-level-business-analyst/

  18. So is this a job you can apply for or a job that is given because, I’m about to graduate high school and join a colleges business program and I was interested in a BA job.

  19. Most knowledgable video for beginners to understand the role of BA…loved the way u described n encouraged …thankful…

  20. Great videos on BA, Laura! I'm currently looking for BA positions in Columbus OH area. So your videos are a great lead, thanks!

  21. Hi Laura, first of all thanks a lot for doing these videos and for creating bridging the gap site.these are really helpful for the people who really wanted to be BA.

    Now i am working as test analyst and i too wanted to become a BA, cause i am really interested in domain and how business works. And i like to interact with people.but all i know is little bit of domain knowledge. I would love to learn domain but our work is only creating test cases based on user stories and executing them. Other than that i never got a chance to be included in requirement discussions etc. I dont know where to start even though i wanted to become BA. Please can u suggest me how to overcome this situation and based on my above interests is it possible for me to be a BA? I am really confused.please can u help me on this. Appreciate your help.

  22. Hey! thanks for the time you took to share your experience, I am in Colombia and as soon as I knew about this kind of role I got interested to it, I haven't been able to find a job on this role, because here usually companies ask for a certification or experience, is there any certification you can share?

  23. So I’m a fairly young single parent and 6 months ago I decided I wanted to start pushing for these respectable careers to care for my kids. I do not have any kind of college degree, however, I enjoy seeing how things work and flow! Currently I do order entry and counter sales for a company and I am working on creating a way to better plan our truck drivers day ahead of time to improve efficiency! I believe this would be a good career for me! Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe by creating this program would be a step in becoming a business analyst?

  24. Hey Laura,

    I have been working as an Analyst and now a business analyst job has been offered to me by this new company. It is a small size company. Though the position is of Business Analyst but they have said that it is going to be a mixed role, like business development+business analyst+project management.

    I want to know if this job would be a right thing to start with, if yes then how can I build my career from here as a successful business analyst..

    And I am a major in mechanical engineering and this position and my last company both are into it services field.

    Thanks in advance.

  25. I'm a data center technician so I deal mainly with hardware and getting it racked, cabled, and turned over to the owning group. I have had increase interest in business analyst roles. Any suggestions?

  26. I am currently a student in a BBA program with a Finance concentration. My first semester taking the real Finance coursework wasn’t so great only because I had other priorities I was focusing on at the same time (going home an hour away every weekend to work). This semester I took leave to actually focus on the coursework. By the end of this semester I will have taken Corporate Finance, Securities Analysis, Real Estate Investments.

    I will be taking a course to earn Bloomberg certification next semester, I will also be taking Futures and Options. By the time I am done in May and graduate I will have multiple analytical projects that I worked on and composed a report on, but no real world experience in the industry. I was wondering how do I market the skills that I learned through the projects I did via Excel and Word to employers? It there an appropriate way in which I can perhaps present these projects to them to illustrate my understanding and analytical skills?

  27. Talk about useless degrees nd no jobs. I have an associate in chem bachelor in biology nd mba in healthcare management

  28. Thank you for the insightful video Laura. Is it okay to get BA certifications without BA experience?

    I'm presently studying MBA in Dublin, I have over 4 years working experience in Business Development but want to change to a BA career. Which certification would you advise to get first? ECBA, CCBA or CBAP?

  29. Amazing, just by what you've described in the video, apparantly I've been doing BA work in my role as Risk Management and Compliance as well! This will certainly help my resume when I thought I've had zero BA experience! Thank you!

  30. Question: I have been teaching for elementary school like six years so how do I convert my teaching resume to a potential BA position? I am willing to take an entry-level BA position. any tips I would be grateful🙏🙏

  31. Hello team, I'm being offered a BA role and I've my interview tomorrow. Without any prior experience im going to step up and take the interview. Please give few tips and answers for some questions

  32. As someone who has done work as a BA, this is really good advice. After stepping away from doing BA work for some time, this has really helped me what direction I want to go in updating my resume. Even after leaving the field for some time, this video gives me more confidence in that the skills I've gained over those years are still relevant in today's world.

  33. I’ve been an administrative assistant for a few years and I feel My job has become pretty stagnant. I realized that I’ve been asking some of these questions already of “How can we make this better? “ and “How can I make this easier for you?”.I think I was meant to be a business analyst. Thank you for laying it out so easily.

  34. I will have an interview as a Junior Business Analyst on a Consultant, wish me luck, Laura! Thank you for the information.

  35. Amazing advice Laura, I'm currently working for an animation studio doing technical work and never in a million years would I think to start analyzing the data I already had at hand. I was thinking about doing experimental testing data crunching outside of work but this idea is so much better. Thank you!

  36. Well, this week I will try to write the requirements for my most visited web site. A year ago I was asked at my current work to make the business process description. So I've learned how to do this and started. It took some time for me to achieve a good result.

  37. As a veteran BA, this is actually really good advice. I've been saying for years, most BA's start off as SMEs. Once as an SME of something they find themselves contributing to enhancements of existing software or better yet, part of an implementation team if the organization is moving to new software. Once you've started using Business Analyst common practices (Requirements gathering, User Stories, Use Case, Wireframe Mockups, test cases, etc.) it's easy to then translate those skills into other processes. So then it's not dependent on you being an SME but instead, someone working with a SME as a Business Analyst. I personally did this type of transition first helping with enhancements and then part of the implementation and then I was the one writing Use Cases, Requirements, Wireframes etc. I personally find it often very rewarding being a Business Analyst.

  38. I have been heavily investing in Agile for about 1 and a half year. I am well-acquainted to the duties and responsibilities of SMs and POs and have now the offer to start as Business Analyst. I am starting to see some connections but still as you mentioned it is difficult to see the full scope of it at first glance.

  39. I am about to start new career as business analyst. Hope your vids would help me. Subscribed
    thank you Madam

  40. Hi Laura! Loved the video! I'm quitting my job as an EFL teacher as I got a job as a businesss analyst in a FinTech company. I'm starting in 2 weeks. Although, I've been told that I would be trained by the company, I'd like to start getting ready by myself. Any useful tip for someone in my situation?

  41. Laura please what are the basic important thing I need to know to be a BA? I believe I will grow on the job but want to know the basics I will need especially to pass an interview. Great channel by the way.

  42. Just came upon this video channel. Well done. Very interesting. Currently pursuing post graduate degree in Institutional Innovation & Effectiveness. BA seems to be an integral part of our programme.

  43. Great help,
    A quick question. In your opinion, how much value would a certification like CBAP add in either starting a BA career or progressing to a better profile.
    thnx

  44. I will try to do the first step as you mentioned. Evaluate the process and the software used, create a wireframe and discuss with the developer. In this case, I am the developer by the way. Do you think a developer can become a successful business analyst?

  45. I have just finished my degree in Information Systems and I have come across so many job posts and almost all of them lead with the same thing; Year(s) of experience as a Business Analyst, even the junior positions.
    Does anyone have advice for me because I don't think I can transition into the BA role while I'm still unemployed.

  46. I am trying to take that first step as well. I have software development background followed by formal education in Finance and then currently employed as a QA Lead but I would like to get on the functional side of things leveraging my education to serve as a BA. I hope I have the right mix for it. Only problem being my QA Lead role domain is not on the Financial Services side which makes getting in without experience a little more challenging.

  47. Thanks for the video. I am a developer for around 2 years now.
    I want to start carving my way through business analysis and I think I will start by learning how to write technical documentation for projects, don't know if that's a good way to start or not. kindly advise 🙂

  48. Hi lora
    Thanks for nice video
    Am Sam am computer engineer I come to us recently, am planning to start BA but the instructer telling me your communication skills is wasn't in level to do BA what your advice?

  49. Hi I m Monali.Hvg 5.4 years exp in dot net developer and 4 years gap now.so want to start fresh career.so plz give me advice how to start and how I can do certification in CBAP

  50. hello thanks for the video. We recently changed the ERP software in our company and it had a lot of problems. We gave a lot of feedback and most of the problems got fixed. I could start doing some BA actions like you proposed, but the truth is that there is no person or manager in our company to appreciate it as there are such roles in our company.

  51. Hi Laura. The lecture you delivered is fantastic. I am into Quality Analyst role for the last eight years. Am working on a Business-to-Business e-commerce site right now. Would appreciate if you guide me how I enter BA field. My communication skills are good. I have helped our project on-shore BAs to write user stories. I would really be grateful if you answer in as descriptive manner as possible 🙂 🙂

  52. Question? Is there a site that you know of where i can get an idea on how to a cover letter for people Without a job experience as a business analyst

  53. Thanks, this video was a lot of help. I am currently an insurance broker with no experience at all. Just listening to you, you have helped me figure out how I can analyze the processes at the company I work at and make it a fulfilling task while I slowly work on my resume.

  54. From my personal opinion this job really requires financial analitical background as well economics like majors such as International Finance or International Business and some programing coding knowledge without these studies you cannot understand how to improve where companies are failing apart and find root canal of problems … It really involves someone with negotiation, leader skills, persuasion skills and open minded to adapt to change and find reasonable solution to problems.

  55. Where I work, I'm just a secretary and I've been passed up for a promotion to an analyst for years. I'm almost done with my bachelor's degree so I have all the basic MQs. I've also been pushing management to let me do more analytical things for them until now, I'm doing more analysis than any of the analysts working there. I took extra classes at Udemy to learn business analysis, Microsoft Viso, SharePoint, and lots and lots of Excel. Now, they think I'm a programmer because I can make formulas in Excel and do things in SharePoint that they think only a programmer should do. So, again, I'm feeling that after all my hard work, I will still be denied an opportunity for promotion. And believe it or not, I work in a public sector job for the State of California where this kind of thing is not supposed to happen. I realize now I have to work in the private sector. How do I break the image that I'm a programmer and get them to realize that I want to be an analyst?

  56. Hello All! My situation is a little different in that I have been unemployed for 4 years due to medical reasons and I decided I needed a career change, I was previously a VP in the Retail Banking industry. I took a BA course and I am ready to rejoin the workforce. I am wondering how I make that transition since I am not currently employed and have no previous experience?
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as well as how I should position my resume? Thanking you in advance!

  57. Do you have any suggestions for business analysis professionals who want to work for themselves? Is there a market for BA skills in the entrepreneurial world?

  58. All the training and classes cannot beat real work experience. What you learn from the classroom and training sessions usually is vastly different from real work assignments.

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