Most business analysts are self-motivated people with high standards for quality and completeness. Given that we are typically working well-ahead of project delivery, it is necessary to stay on top of priorities for deadlines that are weeks if not months away. Analysis activities almost always take longer than anticipated as unexpected issues come up. Staying ahead of the game ensures you stay on track.
How will I get feedback on my work?
You will likely receive a lot of feedback on your deliverables, not necessarily you personally. As a business analyst you are constantly publishing documents, visuals and interpretations to your stakeholders and teammates for critique. Be prepared to get their honest feedback. Welcome it. This is part of the requirements process.
Many business analysts are perfectionists by nature and this can make it difficult to watch people point out your mistakes in a meeting or an email. The key is to separate yourself from your deliverables. Let your deliverables take the beating. It will make them better.
Will I be able to telecommute?
Business analysis is a mixed bag when it comes to telecommuting. If you plan to work locally and fulltime, expect to be in the office at least 3-4 days per week. In-person communication is just too important for this role and to try to do things over the phone when you could just as easily be in the office is unnecessary. However, working one day a week from home can help you set aside time for analysis and documentation and it’s often a good approach, provided the company you will be working for supports it.
What’s it like to work with remote offices?
Working with remote offices changes the role significantly. It is more difficult to build relationships and communicate over the phone and through email. You need more patience and more tech savvy (to run online meetings and potentially update documents in real-time) and particularly strong communication skills. I know a lot of great BAs who struggle when asked to deal primarily with remote stakeholders and don’t enjoy the job as much.
Will I be required to travel?
There is no standard amount of travel time for a BA position. If you find a position with a consulting company you could travel every week, potentially to different clients. If you find a position with a local company, you may never leave your city. But with the plethora of companies having multiple offices, it’s likely that a BA position will require occasional travel, either to elicit requirements from stakeholders in a remote office or to kick-off a project with an out-sourced technology team.
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In what locations will I find BA jobs?
The majority of BA jobs are going to be found in your larger cities and most will be onsite. As mentioned before, the BA role is not a good candidate for telecommuting, unless the whole office is virtual (and that’s a different book entirely). Consider the technology and corporate market in your area. If there are decent-sized businesses that make significant investments in technology each year, there are probably some BA (or BA-like) positions. But if not, then you may need to consider relocating to a more tech-heavy market.