6 Tips to Improve Your Professional Worth and Advance Your Career
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The job of a business analyst is possibly one of the most diversified and can barely fit into a fixed set of tasks and responsibilities. While most business analysts have been turning around initiatives and solutions in their organization, many work with the sales and marketing team to make the products and solutions a winner in the market by bringing out features based on market needs.
Most business analysts play a key role in facilitating digital transformation projects in their organization by designing systems that align with business goals. They also play a pivotal role in implementing new business processes, removing inefficiencies from the existing processes, and reducing operational costs.
Due to the strategic nature of this role and the earnings involved, more and more professionals are considering joining this profession as well as transitioning to this role as their next career move.
As professionals, most of us aspire to grow in our careers and achieve higher success. As a business analysis professional, one is always at an added advantage to move up the career ladder to a leadership role since a business analysis professional is already working on strategic initiatives aligned to the business goals.
You can take your business analyst career path as far as you would like, progressing through management levels to a leadership position, inhibited only by your ambition to go up and belief in yourself.
Here are six tips to help you progress in your business analysis career and nurture some leadership skills that will transform the way you work.
- Stay ahead in your domain/industry
- Develop your own goal and plan to make it a reality
- Enhance your credentials and skills
- Welcome new ideas and initiatives
- Challenge assumptions
- Make the goal a collective team mission
1. Stay ahead in your domain/industry
Leadership comes from the ability to lead and guide and the vision to stay ahead in the industry. One needs to be well aware of the trends in their industry and things that may be the trend of the future. This helps a leader spot opportunity and thereby get in there early to have an early mover advantage.
Apart from opportunities being aware of the industry trends and norms lets one foresee the risks and challenges coming their way, and they can plan for the mitigation accordingly.
2. Develop your own goal and plan to make it a reality
As the saying goes, passion and dream can move mountains, the same way your dream and goal drive you to greater heights.
Having a dream alone is never enough until you make plans to make it a reality and start taking steps towards it.
You may be just starting your career or in the mid-career stage, but that shouldn't stop you from having the dreams of reaching a top echelon in your career.
James Clear quotes in his famous book Atomic Habits:
"You don't rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems."
And he clearly describes how all of us are made of our systems, which are made of our habits.
The purpose of setting goals is to win the game, and the purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game.
A leader in making is the one who keeps playing the game instead of winning the game once.
So, it's essential to keep making small progress towards your goal every day.
3. Enhance your credentials and skills
As the quote goes, "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."
The more you are skilled and aware of your domain, the more sought after you are and the quicker you ascend to the top.
An international certification not only gives you the credibility to establish yourself in the global market,
The paper doesn't make you wiser but studying the industry practices and techniques makes one more skilled and capable. That enhances confidence dramatically, helping professionals manage complex projects and initiatives. In addition, adding new skills to yourself allows you to transform yourself into a more capable and efficient leader who can assist the team in getting past any roadblocks they face.
If getting ahead in your career and staying ahead of the curve is your goal, you must keep upskilling and making learning a habit.
For a business analyst, gaining expertise in business analysis skills and techniques with an IIBA certification is undoubtedly a great value add. However, one must also consider skills and certifications applicable to their domain to stay updated in their domain.
IIBA has three levels of certifications depending on the years of experience the professional has.
- Entry Certificate in Business Analysis™ (ECBA™) - For freshers/new graduates or people starting their career in the business analysis field
- Certification of Capability in Business Analysis™ (CCBA®) – Business Analysts or professionals with 2-3 years of business analysis experience.
- Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®) - Senior business analysts or professionals with 5+ years of business analysis experience.
4. Welcome new ideas and initiatives
To be a sought-after business leader, one needs to develop a growth mindset that welcomes and fosters new ideas. They actively encourage and seek out innovative ideas, opinions, feedback and analyze them with an open mind and without any bias. Seeking and exploring the latest ideas makes one a creative problem solver and adept out-of-the-box thinker. That also makes one a popular leader because of the open-mindedness and ability to embrace different thinking and opinions.
5. Challenge assumptions
Assumptions are usually formed from our past experiences and due to the lack of an open mind.
Effective leadership embraces agility and openness to new thoughts and ideas. Whatever assumption one holds may not always be accurate for various reasons, and assumptions might also be due to the person's prejudices and biases. Hence, questioning assumptions and hidden biases makes one open to new ways of thinking and, hence, innovative solutions.
Due to assumptions made in the discovery/ideation phase, projects/initiatives run into various roadblocks and undesired outcomes. Hence to avoid such situations, it is better to question each assumption and verify facts before diving into the build phase.
6. Make the goal a collective team mission
A dream/goal is better accomplished with collective efforts, and it takes a leader to bring together a team with varied skills and expertise to come and work towards one mission. A goal seems a much harder one with the thought of being taken up alone but a fun thing to do and achieve with a motivated team. A team comes with varied skills and ideas, which makes the goal achievable and a significant milestone towards pulling in a great team.
If you desire to ascend to the top-tier of your organization, prepare a road map and follow it meticulously. If you can master the required business analysis skills by following and honing them and having the business expertise to reach the top, the steps mentioned above will help you climb the corporate ladder and become an invaluable asset to your organization.
IIBA certifications improve your marketability and your earning potential. Explore which certification best matches your interest, experience, and career goals.
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About The Author:
Ananya (Ann) Pani is the co-founder of Adaptive US and heads global sales and marketing. She is also a coach and mentor to thousands of business analysis professionals in their pursuit of achieving IIBA certifications. She is a is a regular author, blogger on various business analysis, management and technology related topics in leading tech sites and journals and is a 2021 Forbes Next 1,000 Honoree.
Ann is a passionate entrepreneur and a strong supporter of encouraging women in technology and has helped many women to come back to work after long career breaks. Adaptive US has established itself as a global leader in the Business Analysis skill development domain with students and corporates from 80+ countries under her dynamic leadership.