Being a Business Analyst is a great career choice!
When you prioritize continuous learning and growth, you will learn skills that will let you take your career in a multitude of directions. Much of the success is dependent on one’s personal drive, motivation, and accountability. However, creating a consistent practice of outlining and defining action items that can attribute to leveling up on skills will help track your progress and bring you opportunities as a BA and far beyond. You will be put on the most challenging projects, the most innovative, and build leadership skills that can catapult careers.
LinkedIn posted the most in-demand skills for 2020, and Business Analysis was the biggest mover, it went up ten spots to #6! And being a BA isn’t just about Business Analysis, there are other skills on this list that help BAs thrive and advance as well. Successful careers are made of a combination of soft and hard skills. According to the 2020 skills report by LinkedIn earlier this year:
- The top SOFT skills companies need include CREATIVITY, PERSUASION, COLLABORATION, and ADAPTABILITY.
- The top HARD skills companies need include CLOUD COMPUTING, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, and ANALYTICAL REASONING.
Creativity. People will generally come right out say, “I’m not creative!” Alternatively, they will say, “I’m a visual person!” This is not what is meant by creativity, particularly in the BA realm. What it truly means is creativity in terms of how you deliver information. What tools are you using to accommodate all levels of creativity in others? Including people you manage or people to whom you report, or even stakeholders.
Persuasion not control. This is a big one, help others make decisions by helping them understand how or why they feel a certain way about something. The key here is to keep going once you come to a decision that is not the one you want from that person. Understanding where they are coming from is important in seeing the potential to change one’s mind.
Collaboration. Definitely a soft skill. You know when you see it or feel it. It’s a flow, a consensus, and freedom to collaborate that works for everyone. As BAs we want people to show up that is a sure sign of being collaborative. It seems like such a small thing but showing up is the biggest thing. How can you change your approach and be more collaborative?
Adaptability. This is just a fancy word for flexibility. Are you flexible? When circumstances change how do you react? Adaptability is a hidden superpower that all BAs should tap into. When we are flexible, we are approachable, negotiable, and more fun to work with.
Now let’s talk about those hard skills. By hard, it is not meant to be difficult. It is meant to be tangible. You can touch, see, and feel it.
Cloud Computing. Well duh? It seems like an obvious one for BAs. Doing requirements usually takes care of this aspect of a software project. Given the ubiquity of cloud computing, BAS must be prepared for the cloud and understand how it affects their roles. As a valuable problem solvers within all organizations, BAs help streamline and optimize business processes for deployment in the cloud. With that come all the decisions of how, when, and why to go to the cloud.
Artificial Intelligence. In today’s world, this will only become more important. After witnessing the Space X launch this weekend, we can see how far this goes in technology and exploration. Also, with cybersecurity being such a hot topic. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are playing an increasing role in cybersecurity, with security tools analyzing data from millions of cyber incidents and using it to identify potential threats. The demand for BAs to understand and respond to this increasing demand is paramount.
Analytical Reasoning. As BAs, we traffic so much information to others and ourselves. Constantly assessing what is important and what is noise. Analytical reasoning is a key underlying competency for a strong BA. Strong analytical skills transform a BA from an “order taker” to a true collaborative partner for all stakeholders. There is more to analytical thinking than just “being smart”; it takes the correct BA approach. This is where BAs are born. What I like to call Straight Up BA.