Can anyone become a Senior Business Analyst ?

I used to think that anyone could become a Senior Business Analyst.

Maybe it is because I have been doing it for so long but I have always believed that Business Analysis is easy to learn and understand.

But I am starting to realize that this might not be true.

While you would see many people advertising how you can become a Business Analyst by attending a 5 day CBAP boot camp, there is more to Business Analysis than cramming your way to a BA certification.

Business Analysts are basically problem solvers.

They need to be able to identify a problem, gather information on that problem, analyze the information that they have gathered and then proffer possible solutions to that problem.

But what if you have no knowledge of how an organization works ?

What of if you were a Sales Person that was primarily interacting with customers off site and now you want to change careers and become a Business Analyst ?

Maybe you have been a Banking Accounts Manager for 10 years and now you have switched jobs and become a Senior Business Analyst which is commensurate with your years of experience.

While you may be experience in giving presentations and convincing people to buy a product, can you automatically switch careers and become a Product Owner ?

Unfortunately the answer is no.

While your years of experience would be valuable asset especially from the customer point of view, Senior Business Analysts need to have numerous years of experience in handling business problems to be capable enough to handle their assigned tasks.

While a Senior Business Analyst might have attended trainings such as a Business Analysis certification boot camp, they would also have attended other trainings such as Business Analysis mentorship programs, Agile trainings, ITIL training, management trainings and various other ongoing skill trainings.

Because in addition to identifying the business needs, eliciting the requirements, documenting those requirements, analyzing the requirements and proposing solutions to the business needs, the Business Analyst might also be members of the development team.

To be productive members of a software development team, you would need to have technical knowledge such as programming, software analysis, software lifecycle management, project management, business writing, and technical writing skills.

You need to be able to understand what the developers are asking and translate that information to the business users and then translate the business users requirements back to the developers in terminology that they would understand.

They need to know how to properly elicit requirements and document them so that nothing is missed.

They also need to be able to review those requirements and identify missed requirements, dependencies, assumptions and risks.

You need to be able to handle ruffled feathers, negotiate on features and timelines and be capable of handling different personalities and stressful projects.

A Senior Business Analyst cannot be lazy, you need to be dedicated and hardworking and passionate about what you do.

While all this knowledge might seem overwhelming, with time, education and experience it becomes second nature to an experienced Senior Business Analyst.

So the answer to my question is No.

While a dedicated, hard working and patient person can learn to become a successful Senior Business Analyst, someone just fresh out of university cannot become a Senior Business Analyst.

While they might have the basic knowledge such as programming or Business, they are not experienced enough to understand the soft or hard skills needed to become a successful Senior Business Analyst.