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Career Story: Business Analyst At A Major University

Business Analyst At A Major University

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.

Job Tips:
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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