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Career Story: Senior Business Analyst

Senior Business Analyst

Job Title: Senior Business Analyst

Education: BFA in Theatre arts, Hofstra University

Previous Experience: I worked as a user of software systems at a couple of small non-profits, but never expected to end up designing them. I didn't really have the qualifications, but I was in the right place at the right time with some appropriate skills and the willingness to try.

Job Tasks: I meet with companies who have a particular need for business process improvement - generally related to a new or redesigned software system.

Through a series of meetings and the review of client's materials, I work to help them clearly state what they currently do and then work with them to define what they would like to be doing and how a system should support that desired process. I then document how the system should work (documentation is a large percentage of my working time). Documentation generally covers who is involved, what processes are being looked at, what "systems" (can be technology based or something as simple as post-it notes on a desk) are used and how the various people, systems and information relate to each other. I try to push the visual representation of information in the documentation that I create to better communicate with the client. We confirm all of the documentation with the client, first the current state of what they are doing and then, once that is confirmed we move on to the proposed state of how things could be.

I also design the flows and interfaces for the systems. Design starts with simple sketches and can become as complicated as a working web based prototype that the client can click through. Once the system has moved into the build phase, I work as a subject matter expert for the developers as questions arise (and they always do). I am sometimes involved as a tester before the system is delivered to the client to make sure the actual system meets the defined requirements.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best thing is that I get to help good companies be better at what they do. I also enjoy working as part of a team of smart people.

The worst part is that I'm at a desk way too much of the time. I'd like to be more active.

Job Tips:
1. Don't assume that the question the client is asking you to answer is even the right one.

2. Don't solve a problem in a certain way just because you've done it that way before.

3. Take the time to be a story teller for your clients. They like stories - and pictures.

Additional Thoughts: It's hard to find companies like this, but look for a place that cares more about creative thinking and honest problem solving than the right degrees and certifications.

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