What is a Business Analyst?

Subject: What is a Business Analyst?
From: "Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)" <sjanoff -at- celgene -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2012 13:39:13 -0700

Lauren and others,

Those of you who have had experience either doing business analysis as part of your work or under the formal title, "Business Analyst," how would you describe this work?

Reason I ask: a former tech pubs manager of mine took a Business Analyst job a few years ago and fell in love with it, swore he'd never come back to tech writing. A layoff forced him back, but he bounced back and got another Business Analyst job. Now he's going after a formal certificate in B.A. and swears he will never come back to tech writing. (He's passionate about it, what can I say.)

It sounds like an interesting Plan B for our field and, based on the little we've talked about it (I'll hit him up for more but he's on deadline right now), sounds like it's deep in the IT trenches and may border on business intelligence but not necessarily. (Also sounds like you might have to take a salary hit at first to get a foot in the door but then it comes back up to better than tech pubs. And, there are more than twice as many of these jobs listed as tech writing jobs, certainly locally. A few different titles including also Business Systems Analyst and Data Analyst.)

I'm grasping at straws right now, don't know what I'm talking about, but I thought some of you guys might have some insight into this job function. I'll be researching it, but nothing like first-person experience to set your mind right about a field! (Currently looking for my next gig -- current contract ends at the end of this month and no sign of an extension in sight.)



PS - Had to cut short my studies on Data Presentation Architecture (or whatever we would call it) for the time being although I'm still hot on the trail of that and really want to investigate it further. This is data presentation in a more general sense, extracting raw data from a meaningless mass and presenting it by configuring text and images to present the maximum impact. (I know, "Isn't that just Tech Comms?" Yes, sort of.)

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