Looking for a career in Business Analysis? Most of the Business Analysts you see are working in IT projects and that might the reason most of us think that the programming language is a must to become a business analyst. But, do business analysts need to know programming skills?
Business Analyst works as a bridge between the IT team and the business stakeholder. They do deal with the development team and SDLC processes however, they are not involved in coding or programming. A business analyst is heavily involved in requirement elicitation, progress or organization analysis, functional testing, stakeholder relationship, etc. A software programmer does the programming work, not the business analyst.
A business analyst has the domain expertise that makes him or her a subject matter expert. They contribute to a project from the beginning till post go live. Every project would require a skilled business analyst for a successful release.
What A Business Analyst Does?
A business analyst is involved in the project since its beginning. Following are the key activities a business analyst does in an organization;
- Requirement Elicitation – A business analyst is responsible for gathering the business requirements from the business stakeholders, end-user, etc. They use various business analysis tools and techniques to gather detailed requirements before starting development.
- Documentation – Requirement gathering cannot be completed without having a well-drafted documents like business requirement documents, use cases, functional requirement documents, etc.
- Communication – A business analyst also manages the communication with business stakeholders, project teams, and other involved people in the projects. The communication could be verbal or written.
- Meetings – Meetings are required throughout the project life cycle. It will be required during requirement gathering, brainstorming, conflict handling, project progress catch-up, project update, user testing, training, and more. These meetings are organized and managed by the business analyst only.
- Analysis – A business analyst doesn’t simply gather the requirement, they are responsible for analyzing it, doing impact and gap analysis, swot analysis, root cause analysis, and more.
The above-listed works are the few from the pool of many other works that business analysts need to take ownership and deliver during the project life-cycle. Some of them are;
- Domain/Functional knowledge expertise
- Use case modeling
- Data modeling, etc.
A business analyst’s work is more of an analytical and business problem-solving kind. They are more focused on the business implication of the project not the technical. Therefore, it is not required for a business analyst to know about coding.
Recommended Programming Skills For Business Analysts
Even though it is not mandatory to have coding or programming knowledge for the business analysts, but having a basic idea about how software programs work is very helpful.
If you have a basic understanding of how software programming works, you can visualize business requirements from a technical perspective. It helps in analyzing the requirements in a better way and addition to that;
- You can ask more relevant questions to business users during requirement elicitation.
- You can estimate the efforts in a much better way.
- You will be able to understand the technical team’s language easily, and you would be able to resolve or understand their queries a bit more.
A Business Analyst is not required to have programming skills but knowing about it could make the difference in work.
However, some technical skills are more helpful for business analysts.
Technical Skills That Are Helpful For A Business Analyst
Business Analyst also does the data analysis to some extent but not at the level of a data analyst. The following are the two technical skills that I believe, you should start learning if you haven’t as a business analyst.
1. SQL Queries
You don’t need to master in writing SQL queries but it is recommended to learn at least writing select queries. In many projects, I had to work on statistical or analytical tools as well. If you know how databases work and are somewhat familiar with SQL, then these tools or Softwares becomes very easy to learn.
Also, you will be preparing many reports in your career, and having SQL query knowledge is going to help you in a big time. It also helps in understanding the data analysis and adds value to your job. Plus, you can use the technical jargon while having meetings with your technical team. 🙂
Tons of online websites can teach you SQL and one of the simple website that I can recommend it W3schools.
2. Excel and VBA
One tool or software that you will be using irrespective of your job designation is Excel. However, business analysts will be using excel heavily for many activities. Therefore, you must know the key excel formulas to speed-up your work. Some of the key excel formulas/functional that you might consider learning if you haven’t known about it.
- Lookup, VLookup, HLookup
- SUM, AVG, COUNT
- Conditional Formating
- Filter, Transpose, Remove Duplicate, etc.
If you are willing to extend your skills then you can also consider learning Excel VBA programming. Excel VBA programming is not that difficult to understand but you can do so many things by using it. You can automate some recurring excel tasks, trigger automated emails, design user-forms, and more. You can get started today by referring to the Microsoft website.
Some other Microsoft tools that you should start learning and get hand-on are;
- MS PowerPoint
- MS Access
- MS Visio
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Business Analyst doesn’t write the software code, it is the responsibility of the software developers.
Technical Knowledge and Technical Skills both are different things, it is recommended for a BA to have the technical knowledge and the basic idea about how the programming works.
Having SQL query knowledge and VBA basic coding can be helpful for the business analysts to simplify his or her work.
All these technical skills are not mandatory but nice to have and you can become an excellent business analyst without having this technical knowledge as well.
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