In general BAs are hired by larger companies that are investing in software application development and large software purchases. They might be developing a software product or service (such as QuickBooks or an online job board) or creating software for internal use (for example, a system to manage an internal publishing process). Other companies that hire BAs are consulting companies that complete projects for the types of companies above. Consulting companies might serve the shorterterm technology needs of a smaller company or take on a project within a larger software development portfolio in a larger company.
What types of projects will I work on?
All kinds of software projects can benefit from the contributions of a business analyst. I’ve never worked on two projects that were the same. Some projects focus on customizing off-the-shelf tools that are purchased. Some projects involve completely custom software development – i.e., they are built from scratch. Others are a combination of the two and this is becoming an increasing trend as there are an increasing number of tools to purchase or rent. Others projects iterate on an existing platform. These projects essentially customize the platform to answer a new business problem.
Will I ever be bored?
Maybe. No job is 100% exciting and business analysis has its share of mundane activities such as copious meeting notes, maintaining documentation like issues logs, conducting last pass document review meetings, finalizing the impact of seemingly insignificant changes throughout a web of documentation, and at times documenting what already exists so it can be evaluated and possibly rebuilt. But the mundane details are tied to a goal high product quality and measured by successful teams and the lack of overlooked details in the 11th hour.
Will I make decisions?
Good business analysts tend to be quiet leaders. As a business analyst, you will not typically have direct authority over others or make the big decisions on your own, but you will have a lion’s share of influence if you choose to exert it. In general, business analysts facilitate and create collaboration to drive the decision-making process more often than they get to make the big decisions.
With whom will I work?
You will work with a wide variety of people from throughout the different departments and different levels of the organization. In a small-to-mid-sized company (and even as a new business analyst) you might have some executive exposure, especially if an executive is the sponsor for your project. You will be balancing executive perspectives with those of the people who work with the system day-to-day. You can expect to have contact with people in a variety of office positions who are not very familiar with technology and what it can do to help them
You will be interviewing these future users and possibly even shadowing them to understand how they do their job and help find ways that technology might solve business problems. If you are working for a company where software is the product, you will likely have a primary contact within marketing or product management. In this scenario, the owner within product or marketing is responsible for the vision of what is to be built and the business analyst works with them to articulate that vision and detail the solution.