What’s next? What Careers Can I Explore with My Business Analyst Experience?

Do you ever wonder “what’s next?” on this path you are on? Considering a career in business analysis and want to know what options it will open up for you long term?

When it comes to building a career, there are dozens of reasons to find your way into business analysis. You are a good communicator, you seem to get the business and the systems side of things, you make a lot of positive things happen. You become a business analyst. You excel at your work. You become a senior business analyst. But then you stop and say “where do I go from here?”.

There are many answers to this question. In fact, there are as many answers to this question as there are people bold enough to ask it. Careers paths are personal decisions. What that means is that it is up to each and every one of us to define our career path based on our strengths and our passions, independent of our employer’s promotion path (assuming you are lucky enough to have one) and specific career options.

It’s what smart employees do.

It’s what promotable business analysts do.

That said, there are some career options we generally see BAs fall into as they move up the proverbial ladder.  (Of course, there’s a whole other list of promotion paths within business analysis…You don’t have to leave us to move up.)

  • Business Analyst lead or manager (being able to lead other BAs takes many new skills)
  • Project Manager (We hate to admit it, but it’s true in many organizations the PM is the senior role. However I’ve also started to learn about PMs wanting to be promoted to BA.)
  • Business Architect (Read Pat Ferdinandi’s story about being a Business Architect or “Chief Thought Translator”)
  • Enterprise Architect (a combination of up-to-date tech savvy and business analyst skills would make you extremely marketable)
  • BA Coach / Mentor
  • BA Trainer (A favorite of yours’ truly!)
  • Product Manager (product management and business analysis share many competencies)
  • Content Developer / Content Strategist (think about the content behind a site like Amazon and what analysis goes into bringing it all together and you’ll see what I mean)
  • IT Manager or other IT leadership role
  • Blogger / Author (this is one of the paths I’m obviously exploring!)
  • Independent Business Owner / Entrepreneur (start your own business, possibly even one supporting business analysis, like Adam Feldman did)
  • Business Operations Manager / Director (leading a business operation takes many BA capabilities)

The host of activities involved of business analysis prepares you for a variety of roles across the organization and to take on a host of new responsibilities. I’d also go out on a limb and say that the best of you as a BA is also going to the best of you in another role. The best CEOs and CIOs I’ve worked with would have been very good business analysts earlier in their career. They brought a level of analysis, thoughtfulness, and essence to their work that few leaders I’ve worked with have done.

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