Are you looking for a business analyst job and finding a dizzying array of job titles?
Do you have a title other than Business Analyst but know you really are a business analyst or have a fair amount of business analyst job responsibilities?
Or do you have the Business Analyst job title, but don’t really feel like you are a business analyst?
All of these situations are the reality of our profession today.
In this short video, I am demystifying business analyst job titles and roles so that you can move forward with confidence in your unique skill set and experience.
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Are you looking for a business analyst job and finding a nearly dizzying array of job titles? Do you have a title other than Business Analyst, but feel like at your core, you really are a business analyst? Or at least you have a fair amount of business analyst job responsibilities, and you’re wondering what that means. Or maybe you have the business analyst job title, but not really feel like you’re a business analyst. All of these situations are the reality of our profession today. Stick with me. In this video, I’m going to demystify business analyst job titles and roles.
Hi, I’m Laura Brandenburg with Bridging the Gap where we help you start, succeed, and excel in your business analyst career with weekly videos on business analyst tips and techniques.
Today, I am discussing business analyst job titles. As you are considering career opportunities within business analysis, it’s really important that you understand the wide variety of job titles that can have business analysis responsibilities, as well as how to recognize a true business analyst role when you find one because the title and the role do not always match. First, let’s just define what we mean by “business analyst.”
Defining Business Analysis
Industry wide, there is a lot of confusion about what business analysts are and what they actually do. Honestly, that is not a problem that is going to be solved anytime soon. When I started blogging 14, 15 years ago, there was this hope that we would have this version of a pure business analyst and it would be aligned and all the companies would sort of have this same role and the title would be used consistently. Over the course of the last 14 years, despite much effort and communication and emphasis on the title and the role, we’re only seeing the role fragment more versus hit that cohesion, so to speak. I actually think this is an amazing thing because your business analyst skills are relevant across a wide variety of opportunities. It’s a trend that is just going to continue because business analysis skills are so important and are so critical to a wide variety of roles.
At Bridging the Gap, specifically, we help business analysts who literally bridge the gap between business and technology stakeholders. We do this by offering business analysts training and a business analyst certification called the ACBA. What this means is that they help ensure that software solutions actually do what the business needs them to do and solves real business problems. A business analyst in this type of role will use techniques such as business process analysis to understand the business workflow and the problem to be solved. They’ll also use use cases, wireframes, and user stories to analyze and define the software or functional requirements. And they’ll use a variety of data modeling techniques to define how information is stored and flows through various systems.
This type of business analyst starts out a project by defining the business need or outcomes, or asking why, like why are we doing this and takes it all the way through scope, defining the detailed requirements, collaborating with the business and technology teams to ensure a successful implementation of the requirements.
I have a whole video on the must-have skillsets for business analysts which you can view by clicking the card on the screen now, if that’s something you want to learn more about.
There are Dozens of Possible BA Job Titles
Now, back to this topic of job titles. There are dozens of possible job titles. The list below shows over 40 different job titles that could have business analysis responsibilities just in the category of business analysis that we’ve just been talking about.
- Business Analyst
- Business Process Analyst
- Functional Analyst
- Product Owner
- Product Manager
- Project Manager
- IT Project Coordinator
- Information Technology Lead
- Information Technology Manager
- Systems Analyst
- Business Systems Analyst
- Systems Architect
- Process Analyst
- Process Coordinator
- IT Business Analyst
- Process Owner
- Usability Analyst
- User Experience Designer
- Business Consultant
- Management Consultant
- Agile Analyst
- Business Solution Architect
- Chief Information Officer
- Process Architect
- Subject Matter Expert
- Digital Media Consultant
- Operations Specialist
- Insights Analyst
- Compliance Manager
- Data Analyst
- Technical Data Analyst
- Enterprise Architect
- Business Architect
- Enterprise Solutions Designer
- Information Architect
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Technical Writers
- Technical Communications Analyst
- Enterprise Process Engineer
- Agile Business Analyst
- Research Analyst
- Research Executive
But a few that I just want to comment on really stand out to me from this list. First is functional analyst. This role is often a bit more system and solution focused. A functional analyst might spend more time on the functional or software requirements than say the business process type requirements. Now, again, that’s a broad generalization. These titles are used in multiple different ways, so no guarantees. You always want to look at the details of the job posting to really understand what’s involved.
The second that I want to highlight is a project manager. So many project managers that are executing at a rather high level are doing business analysis work. It might be strategic business analysis work in terms of how do these systems and projects fit together, or it might be like, what are the requirements we need to implement to make this project successful? If they don’t have a BA on their team and their business stakeholders aren’t great at requirements, often the PM will pull in that responsibility as well. As your Project Manager, often you might be doing business analysis.
Information technology Lead. This seems like an interesting one. Where this tends to come up is you might have a person who is in charge of a development team, maybe in a smaller company or on a smaller team, and again, no one else doing the BA work. In order for that person to articulate what his developers or her developers need to do as they are going and they are working with the business stakeholders to define the requirements so that they can organize the work on their team. And again, business analysis.
Finally, I just want to call out Agile Analysis. A BA on an Agile team might be in a role called an Agile Analyst that would be, typically, a support role to the product owner. I filled this role at one point in my career where there was a product owner and I was the Agile Analyst doing the more detailed requirements work, where the project owner was doing the more high level business outcomes and making key decisions, and also sort of the business owner for the project and collaborating with high level stakeholders and really approving all the requirements. Agile Analysts might be a role like that. But product owner also could be doing business analysis work as part of their product ownership responsibilities.
Business Analyst Job Titles Can Also Refer to a Specific Specialty
We also see expansions of business analyst titles with terms that refer to a specific functional system industry or other area of expertise. What does that look like? An example, Salesforce Business Analyst. That would be a professional who works mostly on projects and programs leveraging the Salesforce tool set and does mostly business analysis.
Business Analysts Job Titles Can Also Have a Level
Business analyst jobs can also have a level. This is another way that the titles can get varied. It might include a seniority level, like Senior Business Analyst or Lead Business Analyst. Other organizations label business analysts with different numerical levels like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. It can go up quite a quite a ways. These levels can be highly dependent on the skills and expertise that are valued by a specific company. Some companies value functional industry domain expertise, and so building that expertise is important as you move from a 1 to a 2, to a 3 and beyond. Others value the size and complexity of projects that a BA can contribute to you. So a level 1 might be like an assistant BA that is working under the leadership of a 3 or a 4. And a level 2 might be able to handle their own projects and they might be smaller. And a level 3 might handle a medium sized project independently. And a 4, having some leadership capabilities, are handling a big complex program. Again, these are just examples. The specific company often will outline what those requirements are.
Still other companies, those levels are defined by years of employment with an organization or years of experience as a business analyst, although that is becoming increasingly less common. Way more preference towards capabilities in what you can contribute than just having done the work, the role or the work in that company for a certain amount of time.
If you are interested in that senior level business analyst role, I have a whole video on what are the general areas of responsibility that you want to be thinking about if a senior business analyst role is on your path. You can watch that video below if you want to learn more about being a senior BA. It’s a great resource.
Being a Business Analyst is NOT about the Job Title
Business analysis is not about the job. I’ve worked with plenty of business analysts who have never had the job title and many who didn’t even realize there was an official title and profession for the work that they’ve been doing for years.
As I emphasize in my book, How to Start a Business Analyst Career, having the job title does not make you a business analyst. I have actually never had the precise job title of Business Analyst. I was Systems Analyst, and then I was a Manager of Business Analysis. And then I was the Director of Enterprise Solutions. I’ve had close titles, not quite ever just Business Analyst. That’s really, really common. Probably more BAs than you think have had that same situation.
Again, what makes you a business analyst is fulfilling the responsibilities of a business analyst and excelling in the skillset of a business analyst. This is where having an understanding of the skills and experience relevant to business analysis is so key. Our BA Skills assessment, which is an absolutely free digital download, will help you do just that.
If you want to learn more about these business analysis skills that I’m talking about and give yourself a sense of where you stack up along these key skill areas, claim your free copy by clicking the download link below.
If you want to learn more about the business analysis skillset in general, click the video below to watch our video on that topic. I’ll see you there.