The question: How do I break into business analysis?
I work for a local government IT department on the helpdesk and second-line desktop support. I made a career change four years ago into IT at the age of 39. I have done a university degree in IT, but I lack the skills to be considered a serious contender in the business analysis field. I feel my only option is to do a course to strengthen my skills, but these are quite expensive. What would you suggest?
The solution: Move to a consultancy in your vertical sector
Being an all-rounder will give you the starting point for business analysis. A business analyst is primarily someone who bridges the gap between the business and the technology teams. They are not necessarily very strong technically, but they understand the business drivers and the IT that can be used to facilitate change.
You could work for one of the consultancies that deliver IT to local government to position yourself in a business analysis role by being in the right place at the right time. You can do courses, and there are several around, but practical experience coupled with the degree you have done should stand you in better stead.
You have mentioned your age and suggested that it may have an impact on potential employers. As of the start of October, new anti-ageism laws will come into force, meaning that you will not have to disclose your date of birth unless you choose to do so. However, I do think that businesses truly appreciate experience that can only be gained from years on the job.
Solution by Tracey Abbott, business manager at Wreay Group and Atsco board member
The panel: Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp
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This was first published in September 2006