Business Analysts Need Clearer Career Path

Ann All

Business analysts and project managers should be the MVPs of the IT team because of their theoretical ability to help IT understand and better meet business needs. Instead, business analysts are mostly misunderstood and even <strong>sometimes resented by IT</strong>.


Uncertainty about their responsibilities is an issue for BAs, as I found when I interviewed several of them for a story late last year, one that often results in them being asked to do an awful lot. (The job description e-mailed to me by one of my interviewees seemed incredibly broad.) Yet other positions in IT, most notably the CIO, experience the same kind of <strong>fuzziness in their job descriptions</strong>.


A bigger issue for BAs is the lack of a clear path of career advancement, says Michael Hugos on He writes:

So senior people in these roles get stuck in low-level positions and don't have the opportunity to show what they can really do. Everybody loses. Experienced PMs and BAs are marginalized, projects suffer, and companies who carry out system development projects don't get the results they want.

His suggestion: There should be different titles -- and salaries -- to differentiate senior business analysts from less experienced ones. The same should be true for project managers, another position that is often seen as junior-level regardless of the years of experience and professional accomplishments a person brings to the job.


Hugo believes senior project managers should have at least a decade of experience and have done stints as both a developer and a business analyst. He offers "system builder" as an appropriate title for such folks. His suggested criteria for senior BAs: five-plus years of experience and an understanding of process mapping, data modeling and user interface design. A good title for them would be "business system designers."


Project success rates will increase if "system builders" run projects, with the able assistance of "business system designers," predicts Hugo.

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Sep 23, 2009 5:29 AM Sohie campbell Sohie campbell  says:

I definetely agree.  Clients believe that we should everything from data scrubbing to process optimization to programming interfaces in SharePoint, while at the same time producing documentation that is easy to read and provides a clear plan of action. 

It has almost come to the point that one has to provide the  "perception" of a service, while being able to manuever office political landmines  and forget about actual change/improvement of processes. 

Jan 25, 2011 6:25 AM MarthaGonzalez MarthaGonzalez  says:

Don't limit yourself to job titles that you keep on seeing over and over; BA Team Lead, Business Consultant, Business Analyst, Manager of Business Analysts. Think out of the box and pull up EVERY I.T. position on offer and go through them allSome may call the job of your dreams 'po-TEH-toh', while others call it 'poh-TAH-toh'. Be open and flexible.

Thanks, Martha, Job Search Expert from resignation letter sample


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