What is the Career Path of a Business Analyst?

The business analyst is an important part of any IT project. They are primarily responsible for gathering the requirements of a project, documenting them, and communicating them to other team members. If you’re a business analyst, or thinking about getting into the field, you might be wondering about the career path of a business analyst. Read on to learn more.

Different Levels

Have a look at the diagram here. It shows the general career path of a business analyst. It includes three main levels of BAs – Junior, Intermediate, and Senior. These are usually defined in years of experience, where Junior is 0-3 years of BA experience, Intermediate is 3-5 years and Senior is 5+ years. If you’re a BA, you can look to gain experience in the business analysis field.

This will open you up to further opportunities, such as working on bigger and more complex projects, as well as the ability to mentor other junior BAs and team members.

Business Analyst to Project Manager

This seems to be the most common career path of a business analyst. Moving from BA to PM is quite common, because many the skills learnt as a BA can be transferred to a PM role (and it’s actually the path I’m currently taking with my career).

However, it’s not the only path. Not all BAs want to become PMs, and a business analyst is a valid profession and an important part of the project team. Certifications exist for business analysis, and there are plenty of pure business analysts that I have worked with.

If you are interested in moving into a project manager role from a business analyst, you’ll need to improve your project management knowledge and skills. Get some experience in different projects, work with other project managers and try to learn from them.

Business Analyst to Solution Architect

One possible option in the career path of a business analyst is to become a Solution Architect. A solution architect is a member of the project team that is responsible for the high-level design and architecture of a system. They are responsible for investigating, designing and documenting the way that a system should be laid out, which can include software, hardware, and interfaces between them. They should have more technical knowledge than a business analyst, and are usually quite senior roles as they require more experience in the IT industry. If this is something that interests you, then it is a valid transition from a BA role – and it also pays quite well!

Business Analyst to Team Leader

The skills you learn as a business analyst can also be transferrable to a team leader or manager role. The skills such as communication and organisation can be used effectively to get you into a team leader position. This may be as a software team leader or application manager, where you are managing a piece of software or group of software products within a company. You could also be managing a team, such as a team of developers or even a team of business analysts, if you’re in a larger company with distributed resources.

In summary, as a business analyst you have a few options for your career. I’ve listed some of the most common ones here – project manager, senior business analyst, solution architect and team leader. There are many others out there, and it just depends on your skills and preferences and how they line up.

Where do you see your business analysis career going? Post your thoughts in the area below!