Looking to take your career as a business analyst to the next level?
Wondering how a Functional Analyst role can fit into your career path?
There is a lot of confusion in the industry about what business analysts are and what they actually do.
The reality is that the skill set of a business analyst is so incredibly valuable that the responsibilities make its way into a wide variety of different roles.
In this video, we’ll explore the ins and outs of a Functional Analyst, including the key skills needed for success and how it differs from a traditional Business Analyst role.
If you’re looking to start a career as a business analyst, I have a completely free workshop called Quick Start to Success as a Business Analyst. You’ll discover:
- What a business analyst does
- How to be effective in your role
- The key skills you need to be more successful in today’s competitive job environment
Are you looking to take your career as a business analyst to the next level? Are you wondering how a functional analyst role can fit into your career path? In this video, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of a functional analyst, including the key skills needed for success and how it differs from a so-called traditional business analyst role. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to make a career change, this video is a must watch.
Hi, I’m Laura Brandenburg from Bridging The Gap where we help you start, succeed, and excel in your business analyst’s career with weekly videos on business analysis, tips and techniques.
Job Titles Like Functional Analyst Can Be Deceiving
First thing I want to say as we dive into the functional analyst role is job titles like functional analyst can be deceiving. I’m always the first to say that with job titles within the entire business analysis profession are deceiving. They are used inconsistently across organizations and that makes it really difficult when you’re looking for a job and trying to figure out what that job is supposed to be just by kind of scanning through maybe the results that come up.
When determining the qualifications for a particular role, it’s really important to look at the responsibilities and the expectations and how those are listed more than just the title of the role. This being said, very often that functional analyst job title is used to describe a type of business analyst role with some very specific variations. So let’s get into what that looks like.
How the Functional Analyst Job Title is Typically Used
A functional analyst is typically a role that focuses on the functions of the software in a specific business application. It is generally more tactical than other business analysts role. The responsibilities of this role could include responsibilities like specializing in a specific business domain such as insurance, real estate, or healthcare. Again, being very specific in a domain.
Often you will focus more on the functional software requirements as opposed to say, the larger business process. This rule is going to typically focus on what the software needs to do to meet the business need. If you’re not familiar with what functional software requirements are, click below to watch my video on that topic.
In addition to focusing on what the software needs to do, a functional analyst might have light technical or systems design responsibilities. These require more in-depth technical skills than a so-called traditional business analyst role. They could even conclude configuring, updating, or even installing the software system.
In a functional analyst role, you are more likely to seek qualifications requiring data analysis or data analytics skill sets. Those often require capabilities such as advanced Excel skills and even SQL. A functional analyst may have ongoing duties outside of projects where they are using their expertise in that software system to do operational work for the business. This could include reporting, data updates, or even business user or customer support.
How is a Functional Analyst Different From a Business Analyst?
How is a functional analyst different from a business analyst? Industry-wide, there’s a lot of confusion about what business analysts are and what they actually do, and honestly, it’s not a problem that’s going to be solved anytime soon. So I say, let’s just lean into it.
The reality is that the set of skills that a business analyst brings is so incredibly valuable that the responsibilities make its way into a wide variety of roles, including this functional analyst role that we’re talking about today. At Bridging the Gap, we help business analysts who literally bridge the gap between business and technology and stakeholders by offering business analyst training and business analyst certification called the ACBA. This means that they help ensure that software solutions actually do what the business needs them to do and solve real business problems.
In addition to the functional software requirements that a functional analyst might focus on, a fuller view or a larger scope of a business analyst role could also include business process analysis to understand the business workflow and the problem to be solved that might not be required of a functional analyst.
They often start by defining the business needs and outcomes and take that project through scope defining the detailed requirements and collaborating with the business and technology teams along the way to ensure a successful implementation of the requirements.
On some projects, you might have a business process analyst and a functional analyst working together to fulfill all of the responsibilities of what we’re calling a business analyst role at Bridging the Gap, successfully in a project. There are just a lot of ways that this can play out.
Now where the question really is, where do you want to go with your career?
Where Do You Want To Go with Your Career?
A functional analyst is a great career opportunity and one that can easily expand into other areas within business analysis. As you broaden your skillset to focus on both the business and the technology, it can also create opportunities within the technical realm if you want to become a software developer or a software designer, or software architect because you’re building a specialty in a deeper understanding of the functions in the software and even the configuration of a software system.
- If you would like to be more on the business side and you want to be more in connection with business users and solving business problems, you might want to take that functional analyst role and start to gravitate towards a more business focused role.
- If you like the technology and even if you don’t want to code anymore, but you have that deep technology background and you want to leverage that technical understanding without having to write code, functional analysts can provide a great career path for you. And if you do want to write code, it can also provide a great career path into roles that require even deeper technology expertise.
Take The Next Step in Your Functional Analyst Career
How do you take the next step in your business analyst or functional analyst career?
Ultimately, you are in charge of your career and you get to decide. There are many, many options and you have many different ways to succeed in this profession.
If you’d like to learn more about starting your career as a business analyst, I do have a completely free workshop called The Quick Start to Success as a Business Analyst. This includes additional resources about what a business analyst does, how to be effective, and the key skills you need to be successful in today’s competitive job market. You can sign up for that workshop completely for free by clicking the link below.
Now that you know what a functional analyst role is, another role that’s really closely related to this is called a systems analyst role. If you’d like to learn more about that role, watch the video below next.