How to Choose a Business Analysis Course

 

I get asked every day how to get into Business Analysis and how to get training in Business Analysis. I always find it very difficult to answer the question in one simple sentence. People expect a magic bullet type of answer to complex questions like this.

Yes, it is true that the second most popular career in the Digital Economy is Business Analysis and yes, it is true that a lot of Business Analysts make a really good living doing what they love (or claim to love). Yes, it is also true that you don’t have to be a geek to be a Business Analyst. But getting into Business Analysis without working experience is not as easy as people think.

I know a lot of people who have been trying to break into this career for years and they have not been able to do so, likewise, I know a lot of people who have successfully made the transition.

I got to ask these people how they did it, particularly, what did they do that had the biggest impact on their transition to being a BA. The one answer that I received consistently was, ‘Formal BA Training’. Other answers included, ‘work experience’, ‘shadowing’, ‘luck’, ‘networking’.

So, the question then becomes, how do you know which training to take, that will propel you into a BA role.

As someone who has trained hundreds of BA’s and coached several professionals, I think I am in a position to give an opinion on how to choose a BA course.

So, here are my 4 steps to choosing a BA course.

  1. Price – As mid-career professionals, many of us make most of our purchasing decisions based on price. Afterall, we have families, perhaps a mortgage or rent to worry about. We sometimes wish we were still living with parents where we don’t have to worry about trivial things like rent. So, the price is critical to any purchase of training courses. I always say, “you should consider very carefully how much you spend on classroom training courses because a lot of information we need is now readily available online”. I only ever pay for a classroom course if it is critical to my goal and I will always look out for the best deal. The cost of BA training courses ranges significantly. Expensive is not always indicative of quality when it comes to training courses like a professional certification course that is governed by an accreditation body. The fact is that most trainers are freelancers and it is not uncommon to find that the trainer at the organization you will pay over £2,000 to, is the same trainer at the organization you will pay £600 to. Moreover, the training experience won't be any different at a more expensive course, neither will the quality of the training materials be much different. You may find little extra branding touches like branded pens and notepads and pretty looking premises. Otherwise, the difference is negligible (just my opinion)/

 

  1. Accreditation – ensure that the course you choose is accredited by a governing body. There are not many accreditation bodies for Business Analysis. There are 3 main bodies that accredit Business Analysis courses are considered credible and they are BCS (British Computer Society), IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysts) and PMI (Project Management Institute). The BCS is by far the most popular and respected in the UK. Check out the BCS website to find the Accredited Training providers for your chosen course. Not every training organization that sells a BCS course is actually an accredited training provider. Many organizations will deliver the training and ask you to go somewhere else to take the exams. That should be a red flag for a prospective candidate. The IIBA and PMI are very popular outside the UK. They are particularly popular in Canada and the USA respectively. And they deliver their exams at Prometric centers around the world. It is also important to ensure you take training with Registered Education Providers (REP’s).

 

  1. Trainer – Professional certification courses generally don’t have a standard for the delivery of training courses. They have a set curriculum and they have Examinations. These form the basis of assessment for the courses. As a result, you will find very different styles of training depending on the company and the individual trainer you get. I remember my first Business Analysis training was delivered by a trainer that seemed very disinterested in the learners and more particular about getting us to pass the exams. He was not able to use real-life examples to explain simple BA concepts and I got the sense that he was never really a practitioner. He was good at getting people to ass the exams but not to help you learn tools and techniques necessary to excel as a Business Analyst. I recommend that you insist on speaking with the trainer you will get, regardless of how big the organization is. You will be surprised that some of the big organizations who use freelancers have little knowledge of the delivery style or effectiveness of their trainers.

 

  1. Post Training Support – this is perhaps the most debatable point and in my opinion the most important point. Debatable because you will rarely find a training company in the UK that provides this. Most important because if you are transitioning into Business Analysis, you are very likely going to need some support after your exams. Even if it’s just to cast an eye over your CV or simply talk through the anxiety of your first BA interview post training when most of the concepts are now clear. In 2015, I wrote a dissertation for a Masters in Organizational behavior where I conducted a series of in-depth interviews with Business Analysts in the UK. I found that the most challenging issue that most mid-career professionals face when changing careers is the issue of confidence. It is unrealistic to expect a training company to offer life coaching services, however, I believe it is an added value if a training company offers some sort of post-training support. Some companies have platforms for graduates of a course, where you can regularly speak with former students and trainers and get the opportunity to share some of your individual experiences. Post training support may just be the key to making a successful transition to a Business Analysis career.

 

For more information on how to get into Business Analysis, call our team at Career Transitioners on 0208 858 5420 or email us at info@careertransitioners.com

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