As someone who wants to become a business analyst, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the number of training options available.
- The list of EEP providers on the IIBA website spans 4 or 5 huge pages. (We know, we start with “B” and you still need to scroll an incredibly long way down the page to find us.)
- Your local university has an MBA program specializing in technology or business change and a relevant undergrad program too.
- You might be lucky enough to have a local “BADD” or BAWorld Conference.
- Then there are webinars, books, and mentors vying for your attention and your financial investments.
And even once you earn the right credentials, there are still those pesky experience requirements. How do you deal with those? (Luckily, we can help you tackle the chicken-and-egg experience challenge.)
But if you are in the market for some sort of training or professional development, how will you decide what will work best for you? Let’s take a quick look at some steps you can take to simplify your decision-making process.
What option will work best for you? That’s the question I’m going to help you find the answer to.
Step 1: Get Clear on What You Want Out of Your Business Analyst Training
There are so many BA training programs out there that you really get to pick and choose an option that’s going to fit your budget, learning style, and skill-building needs. But this also makes for a more difficult decision process. How do you get started? By getting crystal clear on the benefits you want out of business analysis training.
Ask yourself: When you see yourself 6 months or 2 years down the road, where will you be because you participated in a training program?
If you are not a business analyst today but want to become one, your answer could be, “I want to find my first business analyst job” or “I want to create a BA role within my current organization.” You might also just want to learn more about the profession, to determine if BA is the right career choice.
Step 2: Put Training in Context of Your BA Career Goals
Understanding what you want to achieve will help you break down your options. Examine your business analyst career goal and consider what parts of that goal training will help you achieve.
There are a lot of pieces and parts to getting started in a business analyst career. Learning the key skills is important, but so are aspects such as building your professional network, building on-the-job experiences, searching for a job, or influencing your manager.
Often, formal training kick starts all of these other activities.
Step 3: Decide What Business Analyst Skills You Need to Train In
Everyone comes to business analysis from a slightly different place.
- Some are excellent analyzers, and come from a software development background, and need to improve communication.
- Others are natural communicators and need to learn about formal analysis models.
- Still others have done a fair amount of BA-type work but need to learn about the end-to-end project life cycle.
You can find training programs that focus on any slice of business analysis. Most introductory business analysis programs – like our program, The Business Analyst Blueprint certification program, where you can earn your Applied Certification in Business Analysis (ACBA) – focus on the business analysis knowledge areas — the set of techniques and activities a business analyst does, or what we might call the “business analysis process.” Other programs blend soft skills and BA skills. Still others focus on passing a professional certification exam.
When in doubt, focus first on the core, underlying business analyst skills first. In our certification program, you’ll learn:
- How to analyze and improve a business process, using process flow diagrams, discovery sessions, and our business process template.
- How to get stakeholders from the business and technology teams on the same page leveraging use cases, wireframes, and user stories.
- How to ensure everyone speaks the same language, and the database design supports the business concepts, using data modeling techniques.
- How to approach a project from end-to-end as a business analyst.
These are the core foundational skills you’ll need to be successful in ANY type of business analyst job role. You can always add on specialized skill sets later.
Step 4: Consider What Type of Business Analyst Training You Want
There have always been many learning options, ranging from lower cost self-study to degree programs at a local university. Here are some of the many options to consider:
- University programs
- 2-5 day courses
- Virtual, instructor-led courses
- Online courses
- Local networking meetings
- 1-1 Mentoring or Coaching
- Group Mentoring or Coaching
- Study groups
As of 2021, most programs have transitioned online, but many have taken their in-person models and retrofitted them into an online environment. At Bridging the Gap, we’ve always served a global audience and offered our business analyst training by leveraging the opportunities provided by online instruction.
One aspect that sets our training programs apart from 3-5 day intensive classes is that the instruction is spread out over several months. During this time period you have time to learn, and also apply what you are learning. In fact, applying each technique is required to earn your Applied Certification in Business Analysis. Because of this unique learning model, earning your ACBA demonstrates not just your knowledge, but also your on-the-job application of key business analysis skills.
Rest assured, our programs are not teaching to a test or an exam. They are teaching with the goal of immediate, on-the-job application. The skill sets you learn are extremely practical, and you benefit from the real-world experience of our instructors.
Most people learn by doing, and we’ve found this combination really accelerates confidence, and helps professionals achieve their career goals more quickly.
Another aspect to consider is the level of instructor support you want. A self-study course often comes with little to no instructor interaction, while an 3-5 day course will often involve intensive instructor interaction within a short time period.
The Business Analyst Blueprint certification program includes 5 months of instructor support via email, online group coaching sessions, and individual workbook reviews, so you have ample time to apply the techniques on-the-job with an instructor just a click away to answer any questions you might have.
Step 5: Apply Your Training to Gain Business Analyst Experience
Entry-level business analyst jobs are few and far between, and generally reserved for recent college graduates at entry-level salaries. Most of the professionals we work with at Bridging the Gap have some professional experience, and so their best path into a business analyst role is to seek mid-level business analyst positions that leverage an aspect of their past experience, like expertise in an industry domain or specific business application. We’ve even seen some program participants move right into senior-level business analyst roles.
A typical mid-level business analyst job requires 3-5 years of relevant professional experience. You qualify for those jobs by leveraging the transferable business analyst skills from your career history, and building new experience as you go through training.
When you earn your Applied Certification in Business Analysis, you are certifying that you have the training and the experience. What’s more, you gain confidence in your ability to leverage business analyst skills on-the-job (even if you aren’t an official business analyst) and often discover more opportunities to do business analysis right away, moving you towards your career goals more quickly.
Are You Ready To Get Started With Your Business Analyst Training?
We’d love to help you take the next step in your business analyst career. Click below to learn more about The Business Analyst Blueprint® certification program.
>> Get Started With Our Complimentary Quick Start to Success workshop
Not ready for The Business Analyst Blueprint® certification program? No problem! You can learn more about our approach to business analyst skills and career development, as well as discover the opportunities available to you as a business analyst, by joining our complimentary Quick Start to Success as a Business Analyst workshop.