Job Title: Associate Technical Business Analyst
Type of Company: I work in the central information technology department of a major Boston-area research university.
Education: BA, Economics, Brandeis University
Previous Experience: In college, I worked as freelance and university web designer.
Job Tasks: I manage the development of proprietary software. I act as an emissary between the information technology (IT) department and customers (university business offices). Project managing involves keeping all parties involved on-task, requesting resources, and navigating red tape.
I work with customers to specify the requirements of the software to be development. This typically involves creating explicit documentation and diagrams.
I develop (and sometimes design) web user interfaces for proprietary software and public sites. Sometimes this means turning a mock-up into web-ready HTML and CSS (computer languages for building web pages). At other times, it means developing HTML/CSS to meet software needs.
I administer and configure web sites using a content management system (CMS) - this is application software for building web sites. This often includes writing custom XML and XSL.
I train 10-15 people per month on CMS. I write documentation and provide first and second-tier support for CMS.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the high quality of my colleagues. Although this is my first full-time job, I feel lucky to be working with intelligent, talented technology professionals. I also greatly enjoy the problem solving aspect of my work.
The worst part of my job is performing repetitive end-user support tasks (fielding phone calls, emails, etc.). This kind of work is common for most entry level information technology jobs.
1. Learn as much as you can about the technology your organization uses and its business processes. Business analysts live at the intersection of these two. 2. Become a planner. Learn how to stick to deadlines. 3. Develop relationships with people at all levels of your organization. Aside from making your organization a nicer place to work, greased skids are always helpful. 4. Being a BA requires both soft and hard skills, but the former are more important. Become a reliable trustworthy co-worker trumps all else -- so get good at this. Technical skills can often help you get some "geek cred", however.
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