“Who here is currently working as a business analyst?” The panel asked the audience.
A handful of about 100 attendees raised their hand during our September TechTalk, What is a BA? at the Helzberg Auditorium at the Kansas City Public Library-Central branch.
“See, those of you with your hand raised, look around. This is a great opportunity to connect with others in your field and those who want to learn more, be sure to network with them after the talk.”
According to PayScale.com, those in the role of business analysts have been mostly male, with 41 percent of the workforce being female. Exploring this unique role, four local Kansas City professionals, Tamara Copple, Lee Zuvanich, Joanna Shindler, and Cecelia Walsh, spanned the spectrum of companies and backgrounds and discussed their experience working as a business analyst and the road that led them there.
What Is A BA? It’s the Person Your Dev. Team Needs
Tamara Copple, a business analyst with Lockton Affinity, discussed the specific day-to-day working in the role. With 15 years of experience, Tamara and the rest of the panelists explored how working as a business analyst included “wearing different hats” as the product owner and being the point person on the business side of the project.
This can be reflected in the QA or quality assurance process.
“We were getting to launch an eCommerce site,” Tamara said. “We got to the dropdown menu where you put in your credit card number and on the backend of it it read ‘what is your expiration date?’ and we had 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,12,12. Somebody said, ‘What happened to November?’ The developer looks us straight in the eye and he said, ‘We don’t need November anyway’.”
Discussing the role of a business analyst, the panel commented on how it is about adding value to the company and determining how you add that value.
“My favorite, favorite thing as a BA is to sit down with business owners and share what I think they need to help scale their business,” said Lee Zuvanich, a freelance business analyst for multiple local Kansas City business. “That can turn into a marketing effort or monetary strategizing. I love asking business owners ‘what resonates with you?’.
They Connect with Clients
“We are all working hard to accomplish the same goal and to come together to celebrate those goals is what I love most,” said Cecelia Walsh, a senior business analyst with 13 years working in the financial software development industry.
How to Become a BA
“If you’re the type of person who wants to know things just because you want to know, you can be trained in the skills you need for your industry,” said Joanna Shindler, a business analyst working in the web, data, publishing, and content management fields. “If you have that intellectual curiosity, the technical skills can be learned.”
Not having a tech. background isn’t a stopping point for those interesting in working as a business analyst. According to the panel, most of their backgrounds started in a variety of fields including journalism and design. The road to becoming a business analyst just started with the particular skills of working with people to handle the client side and the curiosity skills to work with the development side of the business and then connecting the two.
Join Us Next Month!
Interested in learning more about the various roles in the technology industry? Join us for our October session coming up this month where we will be hosting another panel discussion exploring What is Data Science on Wednesday, October 17 at C2FO in Leawood.