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Aspiring Business Analyst

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    Aspiring Business Analyst

    Hi All,

    I am another fairly young professional looking to get into the world of contracting one day (I am aware of the timing being pretty bad atm so may wait and see how this ends up). For what it matters I have about 4 years worth of experience in BA roles, but have worked across 2 completely different companies (small business and a FTSE top 10 company) and a few roles in my current company. Currently working in Telecoms in an Operations department

    I would like to eventually become a business analyst contractor in a similar field but appreciate I may need to work up to this.

    Happy to provide any and all information which would help you tailor advice.

    But my question is basically what I need to in order to be in a situation to quit permanent work and move into contracting? Second question is how long is sensible to expect to wait to be in the situation to be ready to take the plunge? All I have ever gotten out of hiring managers, colleagues etc is I am doing everything right but you just need more experience (this has been the answer for the last 3 years). A ball park figure of 5 years or 10 years would be useful.

    I have used the world ending to study for the BCS certification and am hoping to complete this fairly soon. Is this worth doing and are there any other things I could do to improve my CV?

    Thanks
    Michael

    #2
    I would say there's never a perfect set of circumstances (a bit like there's never a perfect time to have children). Rather than focus on getting a golden level of experience - there's always junior roles, for instance - make sure you are in a good financial situation and are able to cope with months out of work.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for response, I would argue financially I am fine to risk it but I don't seem to be getting much luck with interviews so there is either something I am missing or I am aiming too high.

      Do you have any specific suggestions to make myself more employable?

      Or is it just a competitive market at the moment due to companies struggling for obvious reasons?

      Comment


        #4
        Business Analyst means different things to different people. To some, it's more like a Systems Analyst and quite technical. To others it's more like a Business Process Analyst and, in some cases, heading towards the Lean Six Sigma world.

        Decide which type of BA work you're aiming for and (to some extent) which industry. I'd argue a good BA should be industry agnostic but there's always areas where industry experience wins out.

        Make sure there's a market for the work you want to do. Hard to judge that at the moment but spending time reading job specs on job boards (both perm and contract) will give you an idea of what people are looking for. Do your skills match? Be brutally honest with yourself!

        Comment


          #5
          So just to add a bit more to this. I've been speaking to the OP about this offline but hit a wall as I don't know enough about being a BA. I see a raft of general BA's that just does a bit of this and a bit of that on projects and occasionally I bump in to a proper/high end/whatever you call them that can really pull an entire programme apart, re-build it from the bottom up and drives the whole work. The two are worlds apart.

          So I don't know what level of skill, knowledge and experience the OP needs so suggested he came on and some successful BA's could give him some more detail. The questions the OP asked aren't really useful as there is no tangible answer to them and are too woolly to be much use. I thought I'd covered that and we'd just got stuck on exactly what he needs to be capable of to secure a gig.

          If he can get the details right the rest of his questions in this thread become a bit irrelevant.

          So.. if there are any experienced BA's could you give some idea of what he needs to do to be able to jump from contract to contract. Also some examples of what doesn't work. Spreadsheet monkey won't cut it for example.

          But to the OP to re-iterate LM's advice. If you are looking at testing the water at the bottom of you area you are going to have be fully prepared for three or months of with no income after your first gig. That gig could also on the day and you've got nothing.
          'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by mbolton View Post
            Thanks for response, I would argue financially I am fine to risk it but I don't seem to be getting much luck with interviews so there is either something I am missing or I am aiming too high.

            Do you have any specific suggestions to make myself more employable?

            Or is it just a competitive market at the moment due to companies struggling for obvious reasons?
            You didn't mention this to me so this speaks volumes. Your lack of years in the gig and lack of experience will be your main problems as I've said all along.

            BTW you are not looking to make yourself employable. Employment looks to see if the person is a good fit for the business and will grow etc. This doesn't matter in contracting. You need to have solid skills and lots of experience. That's it. Would you employ an underskilled builder to build your house?

            It's competitive at the best of times. There are still 10's of people applying for every role even during the good days. There will be 100's for the juicy gigs, if not more come April.
            Last edited by northernladuk; 4 March 2021, 11:10.
            'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ladymuck View Post
              Make sure there's a market for the work you want to do. Hard to judge that at the moment but spending time reading job specs on job boards (both perm and contract) will give you an idea of what people are looking for. Do your skills match? Be brutally honest with yourself!
              I asked the OP this and he said there are quite a few that 'he's not a million miles off' which is no good. This is where we got stuck with what does he actually do and what does a contract BA need to do hence the question above.
              'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by ladymuck View Post
                Business Analyst means different things to different people. To some, it's more like a Systems Analyst and quite technical. To others it's more like a Business Process Analyst and, in some cases, heading towards the Lean Six Sigma world.

                Decide which type of BA work you're aiming for and (to some extent) which industry. I'd argue a good BA should be industry agnostic but there's always areas where industry experience wins out.

                Make sure there's a market for the work you want to do. Hard to judge that at the moment but spending time reading job specs on job boards (both perm and contract) will give you an idea of what people are looking for. Do your skills match? Be brutally honest with yourself!
                Apologies if my questions were a bit rubbish.

                There is no particular industry I want to be in, most of my experience to date is in Telecoms so I guess this would be the logical direction to head in but I have also worked for a logistics type company and a small software company.

                I would say from reading around this for the qualification, I would say I lean towards Business Process or IT BA, not really got a deep enough technical knowledge in anything for systems or data analyst.

                I have been keeping an eye on Jobserve but not too much local to me and I am just close enough to London to feel a bit overwhelmed with all of those. http://www.jobserve.com/KLq3l or http://www.jobserve.com/KLoEj are a couple of examples of the postings I am dealing with. I would like to think the contract is a good fit but there is not a lot on there other than Docusign and gather requirements

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by northernladuk View Post

                  You didn't mention this to me so this speaks volumes. Your lack of years in the gig and lack of experience will be your main problems as I've said all along.

                  BTW you are not looking to make yourself employable. Employment looks to see if the person is a good fit for the business and will grow etc. This doesn't matter in contracting. You need to have solid skills and lots of experience. That's it. Would you employ an underskilled builder to build your house?

                  It's extremely competition at the best of times. There are still 10's of people applying for every role even during the good days. There will be 100's for the juicy gigs, if not more come April.
                  I am happy with lack of experience as a reason, but if you had asked me 2 years ago when I originally posted on here I would have said 4/5 years would be beginning to get near some roles but this doesn't appear to be the case so I am trying to work out whether I need to get to 10(?) years or 10 projects or something else which I haven't considered. I want to know what "solid skills and experience" look like.

                  Originally posted by northernladuk View Post

                  I asked the OP this and he said there are quite a few that 'he's not a million miles off' which is no good. This is where we got stuck with what does he actually do and what does a contract BA need to do hence the question above.
                  This basically summarises my issue

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Can I ask why you want to become a contractor? If its because of the ability to move between clients, be in more control of the work you do, more variety etc, then that is good, and, as per the posts above, you need to think about where along the broad spectrum of what many people call a BA you want to sit.

                    But if you're wanting to become a contractor for financial reasons, then i'm afraid that gravy train has largely left the station, unless you can carve out a niche market for yourself. And for that, you'll probably need 10+ years experience in that niche.

                    I'd say most of the BA contractors i've worked with are pretty much doing the same work as employees at the same organisations and IR35 has pushed them to PAYE or Umbrella, so the opportunity for the outside gigs has reduced (and will further post April).

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