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Top 5 Transferable Skills  

By Maureen McVey, CBAP, Head of Learning and Development, IIBA  
 
Jay was unsatisfied with her job as a customer service representative and decided that she needed to find out where there is job growth. She also knew that the job would need to match her skill set, as this would help her narrow down her career possibilities.
 


An article in The Houston Chronicle1 listed the top 5 transferable skills as:
  • Communications Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Technical Skills
  • Research and Analytical Skills
  • Organizational Skills 
Scrolling through the article she came upon a list of the top 10 business careers and was drawn to the Management Analyst. The expected job growth is 22% by 2020 and the average salary is around $90,000.00 per year! More research, and voilà – a Management Analyst is actually a business analyst as described by International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). 
 
After joining IIBA® she had access to A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) and the underlying competencies in chapter 8. She reviewed the list from the Chronicle and aligned the transferable skills listed in the article to those in the BABOK® Guide. Jay then assessed her skills against the IIBA list. 
 
Transferable Skill  IIBA Customer Service
Communication Skills
Oral communication skills are used to verbally express ideas, information, or other matters.
 
Written communication skills are necessary for business analysts to document elicitation results, requirements, and other information for which medium-to-long term records are required. 
Communicates to customers listening and verbally responding to their needs in order to solve problems, provide information and direction ensuring the customer’s experience is a positive one.
 
Records customer needs, issues and resolutions to maintain accurate records and data for further analysis by management and business development.
Interpersonal Skills
Business analysts must be able to work closely with other team members to effectively support their work so that solutions can be effectively implemented
 
Facilitation and Negotiation: Business analysts facilitate interactions between stakeholders in order to help them resolve disagreements regarding the priority and nature of requirements. 
Works with other team members to resolve customer issues and escalate to appropriate departments within the organization.
 
As a representative of the organization, customer service will utilize their knowledge of the organizational policies to negotiate and facilitate resolution of issues and needs.
Technical Skills  
Business analysts use office productivity applications to document and track requirements.
 
Business analysts also have to have at a minimum a fundamental understanding of the business technology infrastructure and databases. 
Knowledge of various computer applications such as customer management software, word processing etc.
Research and Analytical Skills 
Analytical skills are defined in various categories such as creative thinking, learning, systems thinking and problem solving. 
 
Business analysts must be effective at defining and solving problems in order to ensure that the real, underlying problem is understood and that solutions actually address that problem.
 
Analysis is aided by techniques such as: process modeling, organizational modeling, data modeling and business rules analysis.
 
Research skills are aided by techniques such as document analysis, observation and interviews.
Asks probing questions to understand the customer’s need or issue. 
 
Reviews current policy and procedures to ensure resolution to the issue or need is in line with the organization’s contractual obligations to the customer.
 
Uses creative thinking to address a customer’s need.
Organizational Skills Personal organization skills assist the business analyst in effectively managing tasks and information.    Customer service must organize information to ensure a timely response to customers’ questions.

Jay then reviewed the tasks listed in the BABOK® Guide to determine if she had the skills that related directly to business analysis and discovered gaps in all of the knowledge areas.
 
Although she has good planning skills, can interview stakeholders, she has never modeled a process or data and has no direct experience in business analysis. She decided to use the IIBA® Online Library http://iiba.info/Z17C4h and read the book Seven Steps to Mastering Business Analysis by Barbara A. Carkenord. Her next step, speak with her manager to discuss a career change within the organization and to work on any upcoming projects as a subject matter expert or to assist a business analyst. 
 
The Result
 
After working on two projects, one as a subject matter expert (SME) for the customer management system (CMS), the other assisting a Senior Business Analyst, she received a promotion and is now an Entry Level Business Analyst who addresses enhancement requests for the CMS. She will continue to increase her knowledge of business analysis by reading the Quick Tips for Better Business Analysis e-bulletin from IIBA every month, and attending webinars offered by IIBA®. She is now preparing to apply for her Certification of Competency in Business Analysis(CCBA®) designation by attending study groups at her local IIBA chapter and continuing to apply her BA skills to other projects with her employer. 
 
  
 
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