To have a solid set of Business Analyst skills it is important for you to develop more than just the tools & techniques. The tools & techniques are important but we forget to include the other equally important aspects of our skills when we start planning our development.
The 3 types of skills to develop:
- Foundation Knowledge
- Soft Skills for Business Analysts
- Business Analyst Professional Development!
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1. Foundation Knowledge
Yes, the tools and techniques are our bread and butter skills and we can view these as the core ingredient to our business analyst skills set to develop. You will be able to find some great BA courses to do to develop your foundation knowledge, start by looking at these courses.
Tools and techniques that every business analyst should aquire over time includes:
Need I say much more? Requirements are the foundation of all the work we do. It is the most important set of skills you can teach yourself to do really well if you want to make it as a Business Analyst. The more proficient you are in these topics, the more you will stand out as an excellent Business Analyst!
- Requirements Management
- Requirement Elicitation
- Requirements Documentation
- Requirements Traceability
Which Methodologies should you Understand?
Systems Development Life Cycle
Most methodologies are designed with the SDLC as the backbone to all. They are all an interpretation of how best to manage the work that is being planned and each has its own merits. Understand these primary methodologies at least conceptually if you are not already involved in working within each of these frameworks. You will come across all these (and probably more!) in your career as a Business Analyst:
The primary modeling tools and techniques to get familiar with, are listed below. I would suggest you learn what they are all about and start applying some of the ones you are less familiar with when you get the opportunity. Before you know it, you can tick off all these techniques as ‘competent’!
Object Oriented Modeling
- UML (use case diagrams, activity diagrams, class / object diagrams and sequence diagrams)
- User stories
- Entity Relationship Modeling
- Data Flow Diagrams
- Workflow diagrams
2. The Business Analysis Soft Skills
I cannot stress enough how important it is for all Business Analysts to always (and I mean always) work on your Soft Skills. This is a never ending journey of development and more you invest in this set of skills the more successful you will be in your career!
Some Soft Skills to start with:
3. Managing your Professional Development
I view this as a skill set on its own and every business analyst must learn how to develop their own careers in the direction where they want to go. Too many business analysts sit back and wait for something or someone to make things happen for them – this won’t happen!
In the corporate world you must only depend on yourself when it comes to your career professional development needs and aspirations. You own you and hence your development. No one else is concerned with your professional development other than perhaps providing you the opportunities or budget to do “something” to do development with (if you are lucky!) So even if your management team is proposing professional development routes for you, you must take responsibility for your own direction based on your career outcome and goals.
- Goal setting
- Professional Develop Plans
Your education forms a integral part of your professional development and this can be pursued in many different ways. Two very popular avenues for professional development includes: