Finding Your Business Analyst Roots in a Project Management Role: Laura Barden

Today we hear from Laura Barden, who shares her story of coming back to business analysis after exploring alternate career paths. While you might initially be surprised to read that Laura found her business analysis opportunity under the job title of project management, remember that a typical project management role includes a lot of business analysis. Read Laura’s story to learn how perseverance can play a big part of finding a role that moves your career trajectory forward.

Why did you decide to pursue a business analysis career?

I decided to return to my business analysis roots because I was not happy with the direction my career had taken. When my company reorganized I applied for many jobs just to ensure I kept a position with the company. This resulted in being slotted into a position by the hiring managers. Being slotted for a position wasn’t all bad because I gained a lot of knowledge and expanded my competencies within different areas of the company. However, I just couldn’t reach that next level of increased responsibility no matter how hard I tried. That is when I decided I needed to make a change and started researching BA job opportunities.

What was your job search process like? What challenges did you face along the way and how did you overcome them?

The process I used in my job search was to utilize as many job search tools available to me. For example, LinkedIn, online job boards, employer career web sites, and recruiters. I also joined IIBA international as well as the local chapter. Finally, I reached out to other BAs for mentoring opportunities.

One challenge I faced during my job search was the amount of time required to locate a job opportunity and then apply for it. Unfortunately you don’t just submit your resume, you have to fill out the employer’s online application too. I overcame this challenge by giving myself specific time in the morning for applying. Another challenge was speaking and meeting with many recruiters. Some recruiters were flexible and would meet with me before or after work and sometimes during my lunch break. However, many times I would be required to use my paid time off from work to attend the meetings.

How did you end up in your first BA/PM position? And what are your expectations going in?

As I stated earlier, I’ve already held a BA position which was as a result of my domain knowledge. At that time my expectation was job security. However, now that I have landed my new PM role my expectations are continuous development in my skills and knowledge, as well as career growth and work-life balance.

What do you consider as the keys to your success?

I consider my keys to success as having the courage and tenacity to pursue my dream job and to continue to improve my BA/PM skills and knowledge.

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

The recommendations I would make to others looking to follow a path like mine is don’t give up. Also, don’t give up! My path was long and winding and to coin the saying, “How many frogs (employers) must you kiss (interview with) to find your Prince or Princess Charming (dream job)?” For me it was many but well worth the trip.

Your path may or may not have many forks in the road but I feel in the end the journey is what matters most. Best of luck on your journey and in your pursuit of career happiness!

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Laura! And here’s to your continued success in business analysis and project management!

>>Read More Career Transition Stories

Want even more inspiration? We’ve documented dozens of business analysis career transition stories here on Brigding the Gap.

Click here to browse our complete repository of stories

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