Sunday, September 16, 2007

Business Analyst

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to work with computers. Working with computers is a fairly large field. I studied mostly programming and as such the first job i got out of school was a programming position. I worked at it for 2.5 years but sometime during the middle of those years i decided that i was more interested in working with databases. As such for my next position I focused my job search to mostly jobs pertaining to database work. My initial logic for this decision is that every company has a database and as such every company will need someone to do a certain amount of database work. Conversely i figured if i stayed in the programing route that my options would primarily be to always work for a software company. I think this statement has some truth because i now actually work for a marketing company.

However, because the company i work for now is so large i have been exposed to the business side of the work i do. This is difficult to explain so bear with me. What i mean is that i having been exposed, and i am trying to understand the business reasons behind doing the things i do. The reasoning behind this is that if you have a better understanding of what the business is trying to accomplish then you are able to provide better results. To that end a manager at my current company arranged for anyone in our department to attend a 2 day Business Analyst training course.

The role of a Business Analyst is very different from that of a software developer or database analyst. A business analyst will meet with the end users to define the functional requirements that the system must meet. The Business Analyst (BA) will then create a business requirements document outlining those requirements and get sign off from the client. The BA then will then give this doc to a senior representative in the IT dept who will then use it to create a Systems Design Doc that shows how each of the requirements are met from a technical standpoint. Then the developer will take the systems doc and build the system.

During this course we learned many of the skills required to become a BA. That being said i don't think that being a pure BA is what i want. A real BA should really never do anything that is remotely technical in nature and i do still enjoy writing computer code. That being said a strictly developer should probably never have any interaction with the clients or end users. I think that i have a certain amount of people skills that would serve me well when dealing with the end users. Also, i like the concept of getting out of the office every once and a while. So for those reasons i don't think i am cut out to be strictly a developer either.

I am fast approaching the point in my career where I am going to have to decide which path i am going to continue on. Ideally i would like to do a little of both. But as of now i am not entirely sure how feasible that is. When i start looking for my next job I am going to have to be very cautious about what position i take to ensure it leads me down the path i want to go.

That's it for this week.

Next Week... Secret Stuff.

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