Business Analyst Education | Is ‘Fake It, Till You Make It’ an option?

Is Business Analysis a “fake it till you make it” career option?

There are people out there with the job title “Business Analyst” with no formal Business Analysis education in Business Analysis or even true Business Analysis work experience, yet they are employed with the job title of “Business Analyst”. Then there are people with the job title of “Business Analyst” who have a university degree specializing in Business Analysis with years of true Business Analysis experience in the market place behind them. How does this work? What path did the unqualified and inexperienced “Business Analyst” follow to be called a Business Analyst versus what path did the qualified Business Analyst follow to get called a “Business Analyst” as well?

The question is why does this same scenario not happen in the Accounting or Medical Doctor profession? Did it perhaps happen 30 – 50 years ago that qualified and unqualified individuals ended up being called Accountants or Medical Doctors but only the qualified and experienced Accountants and Medical Doctors actually performed their roles based on sound knowledge and theory at the time?

If this same scenario occurred years ago in some of the now older and more mature professions, does this mean that Business Analysis will also become a profession where you must have a formal qualification to support your claim to the job title of “Business Analyst” in future? Could it be that the profession of Business Analysis will remain fluid and change with technology and business in a way that will never reach that level of professional maturity or will it still develop to require that formal education but be a specialized and environment agnostic skill set which is fluid and adaptable by nature as a result.

Does it even matter that some people have a formal Business Analyst Education and some people do not?

The answer to this question is that yes it matters and no, it doesn’t always matter. Some people are very good at learning practical skills while watching others in the work place and can apply these skills quickly and very efficiently. Although there will most likely be a limit to what the unqualified individual might have available to draw upon in the context of sound Business Analysis principles and techniques when faced with business challenges, the unqualified Business Analyst can still be highly effective and good in the job of being a Business Analyst.

As with many other professions, the qualified individual may have more theoretical and practical techniques to start with in their roles as Business Analysts and potentially be able to excel their careers based on their qualifications and knowledge. However, having a formal Business Analyst Education qualified open doors for you as an individual but don’t guarantee success as a professional.

Will Business Analysis always have a door quite this wide open for people who choose to enter the profession without a formal education in Business Analysis?

History says that the answer to this question is ‘no’. Just like other professions, Business Analysis is already growing into a mature and formal profession in many countries around the world. The signs of this growth are in the industry certifications that are becoming more and more mandatory for a Business Analyst to gain to stay ahead in the profession. So although people can still become Business Analysts without necessarily a degree or an industry certification behind them, the days of walking into a Business Analyst job title without any relevant background or education is fast running out. This may seem as a disadvantage to those people aiming to become Business Analysts without a formal Business Analyst education but it should rather be seen as a safeguard for the future and sustainability of the profession of Business Analysis.

In conclusion

It will be recommended that every Business Analyst, whether you are formally qualified or not, keep your Business Analyst education ongoing and relevant. This will ensure you have a fantastic future as a Business Analyst.