Finding New BA Opportunities Inside Government Work – Deirdre

Although Deirdre has been a BA for nearly a decade, she’s recently reinvented herself once again. Deirdre’s story shows us how important it is to continually re-invent your skills and your career, even when it might feel like your options are limited due to external factors. She also reminds us how important core skills are for business analysts, like communication, relationship management, and learning new systems and terminology quickly.

Laura: How did you end up in your first BA position? And what’s it been like so far?

Deirdre:  My BA journey commenced 9 years ago when I transitioned from a client service role in a medium-sized (25) ITS government department.  A restructure saw my role change, so apart from many years of experience in a business support capacity in various admin and help desk type roles, I didn’t start out as an “officially qualified” BA.

glass-half-full-mindsetMy evolution over the past 9 years has been built on training, on-the-job experience, self-learning and discovery, peer feedback and support and in being given the opportunity to work diligently and with limited supervision to get my BA pieces of work completed.

Laura: And, recently, you found your way into a new business analyst position, correct? How did that come to be?

Deirdre: Working for the state Government here in Australia I’m lucky to have access to a jobs website for government jobs and this is how I discovered the job I’m now in.

There is also quite a demand for business analysts in contract roles that are very lucrative but don’t have the longer term stability of a permanent role. This gives the employer the flexibility of taking on temporary contractors to do a piece of work and then deciding to either extend the contract or choose a new BA.

Having always worked in a Government role (since leaving high school!), I’m a little constrained with how I can move around between now and when I retire as I’m locked into a very good superannuation scheme that I cannot afford to leave if I want to reap the full benefit at the age of 60 when I retire.

So, I’m very much a bit of a unique story, in that I don’t have that flexibility but if I did I would definitely look at contracting roles as a different career opportunity.

Securing this role has definitely given me renewed confidence in my abilities. I’m always the glass half full mindset that there may still be a few more role changes left in this girl. 🙂

Laura: What’s this new role been like?

Quite honestly, it has been challenging and quite exhausting.  I’m so far (after 3 months) learning a new system, providing on-the-ground support for this new system that I’m learning, having to wake up MUCH earlier and travel to various sites to attend meetings and provide “go live” support in a critical care, public-facing business.

I’m drafting workflows from design documents for this new system and business I’m still learning.  A gap was realised in the initial requirements phase, so some pieces of work are being drafted and refined retrospectively.  This has been a great learning experience and based on the feedback I’m receiving, I’m doing a pretty good job of digesting all of this new information, terminology, and business analysis.

I have a LONG way to go, am happy to continue to learn and develop and take new lessons away (and to share them), and will review how I’m progressing in this new role as time goes by. At this stage, it’s a 12-month temporary position that could potentially lead to something further. Or I may decide to take my new learnings and additions to my BA toolkit and return to the safe haven of my old job that I know inside and out and back to front!

Laura: What do you consider as the keys to your success?

listening-communication-skillsDeirdre: My greatest strengths lie in the area of stakeholder engagement, being able to form trusted relationships, learning new systems quickly, launching myself into research and enterprise analysis and embedding myself in the organisation I’m working for.

I think sometimes these are the hardest or most challenging aspects for a BA to master. Really, with enough practice, anyone with the right education and skill set can master a workflow or template, but not everyone has the necessary communication and listening skills that a good BA needs. And these skills are what will earn respect and valuable time and investment from our colleagues.

Laura: What recommendations would you make to others looking to follow a path like yours?

Deirdre: LinkedIn and event networking are excellent ways to listen, learn and meet new people that can unexpectedly open doors for us. (Connect with me on LinkedIn here.)

Laura: Thanks so much for sharing your story, Deirdre. Good luck with this role and the many opportunities beyond.

>>Read More Success Stories

Deirdre’s story is one of many BA career transition success stories here at Bridging the Gap. We’re honored to have had many readers tell us more about how they leveraged their professional experience to get started in business analyst job roles.

Click here to find more BA career success stories

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