Still a very timely topic of discussion, from the person who wishes to transition into a Business Analysis career who wants to know what skills they must have to be a successful BA, to the new BA who wants to know what skills they need to add to their repertoire, to the Senior BA who wants to know where to go next in their career; everyone wants to know how to improve their skills to get to that next level of their career.
Two of my colleagues take on this subject, Kupe in BA Times discusses soft skills vs. hard skills. He notes the importance of soft skills in being a successful BA. Kupe is not suggesting hard skills are not important, he notes that hard skills is what is going to get you noticed, stand out in a crowd, but it is the soft skills that will land you on that next level and keep you there. After all, nobody wants to work with a jerk.
Laura discusses whether Project Management is the next step in the career of a Senior BA at Bridging-the-Gap. She discusses how this use to be the case years ago but is no longer the only option. In fact, we now see the reverse happening where Project Management professionals transition into Business Analysis careers. For those who have reached the pinnacle of their BA career, besides Project Management, they could move into BA Management, creating a BA Office within their organization, Enterprise Analysis, Management Strategic Consulting, Business Consulting, Business Subject Matter Expert or external IT and Business Management Consulting. There are as many paths as there are people willing to forge them.
Elizabeth Larson will be taking on a similar topic at the Southwest Ohio Business Development Conference in April. She will discuss whether Business Analyst and Project Manager should be one or two roles within the organization. At this very same conference I will be presenting the topic “Improving Your BA Skills: From Self-Assessment to Self-Improvement”. This is where I will discuss the many ways you can gain new and improve current BA skills. This is a conference not to be missed if you are in the Cincinnati area on April 29, 2011.
This topic has been around for many years and as you can see is still a very hot topic today, getting a lot of press. There is no one way to build your career, forge your own path. Remember you are in charge of your career. Unemployment, downsizing or IT outsourcing may derail your plans for a time, but don’t allow that to stop you permanently. For some general guidelines, as Kupe suggests, develop the hard skills necessary to accomplish the tasks of a BA and get you noticed. Then develop the soft skills that will land you on that next plateau of your career. Remember, that your current job is not your career, it is just your current position in your career; you decide where to go next. Let your passions guide you. If Project Management doesn’t excite you, good; now you have other options to continue your career.