RE: What is a Business Analyst?

Subject: RE: What is a Business Analyst?
From: "Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)" <sjanoff -at- celgene -dot- com>
To: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2012 14:05:15 -0700

Excellent, thank you so much, Lauren!

I will ponder this awhile, as I always do with your posts. :)

Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: On Behalf Of Lauren
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2012 1:59 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: What is a Business Analyst?

On 11/2/2012 1:39 PM, Steve Janoff (non-Celgene) wrote:
> 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?

Analyze business.

Business analysis for me is a matter of getting facts about various
aspects of business that companies and employees often take for granted
or do not document. There are different types of analysis for
processes, procedures, organization, business rules, compliance,
interpersonal relations, business relations, technology, systems, and
management of any of these things, along with many other types of
business analysis. Business process re-engineering is a form of
business analysis that is very important in a changing economy when a
business must change how it handles itself or it must find ways to cut
costs.

> 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.)

Business analysis is a logical progression from technical writing and
technical writing is a necessary component of successful business
analysis. Technical writers must do *some* business analysis as part of
the job. Technical writing often requires documenting the work of
others and it can get dull for thinky types, but very exciting for
people who enjoy writing. Business analysis requires finding out what
others are actually doing so it can be documented or at least
communicated in some way. This type of work can be challenging for
people who enjoy calm predictability but enjoyable for people who enjoy
bringing calm to chaos.

> 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.

This list has had a few discussions searchable in the archives about the
career ladder for technical writers and many discussions about business
analysis that may be helpful for learning more or for discussion points.

> (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.

A "hit"? There is no accurate comparison. A very good technical writer
can earn more than many professionals, while an entry level technical
writer may barely break more than minimum wage for typical salaried
employees in some markets.

> 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.)

You have done business analysis, Steve. Take a look at job descriptions
and see how your past experience lines up. Understanding what companies
are looking for can help you see those skills within yourself. While
your job title may be Technical Writer, some of your job functions
included various facets of problem solving, communication, learning
as-is processes, presentations, deriving or at least documenting
business requirements, and many aspects of communication with people in
different parts of the business.

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References:
What is a Business Analyst?: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
Re: What is a Business Analyst?: From: Lauren

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