Anna Furtak has been working as a Business Analyst at Aspire for 2 years. Her career path did not suggest that she would go in this direction. Ania studied Economics and started her professional career as a Credit Advisor. Then she dealt with financial analysis, monitoring and process planning.
What lead you in this direction? Why did you become interested in Analysis?
Everything started with my reluctance to repeating and painstaking work with data in Excel! And the desire to make work easier (for me and others). I wanted to improve it by automating certain processes. Instead of focusing on the next Excel sheets and files, I wanted to be able to analyze data and propose changes.
As a financial analyst, I saw many inefficient processes in various areas of the company I was working for. Inefficiencies which cost employees a lot of time and stress. At the same time, the company lost money and customers.
The dispersion of responsibility for managing system development struck me. It was necessary to define coherent goals and a vision of what they were to serve. Besides, they were to support business processes and not to obstruct them.
I became a business analyst thanks to my interest in the company processes. What works best, how people operate and how you can improve their work using technology.
Who is a Business Analyst?
An Integrator. Someone who observes processes, who finds the needs and goals of those who carry them out, or those with whom these processes interact. In IT, it is a kind of link between the business world and programmers. This person handles good relations with the client and understands their needs, making sure that the development team and the client have a common understanding of the goals.
How did your adventure with business analysis start?
I began to read books, blogs, forums and various types of articles about business analysis.
When there was an opportunity to cooperate with an external consultant, I volunteered to take part in the project. I learned a lot about collecting information about processes, problems and needs. As well as analyzing and extracting requirements.
I gained some practical knowledge. But I needed to construct this knowledge and learn more analytical practices. That is why I decided to do a postgraduate at WSB in Requirements Engineering.
What do you like most about your work?
This is a job where I can help others. It also allows me to work in various industries, not only IT needs analysts. And even if I work in IT, I have different clients, so I never get bored. I can learn, develop and get to know different business domains all the time, which I like very much.
I work with passionate people, who share their knowledge and experience. My colleagues can tell me what I’m doing well and what I could improve, giving me tips on possible solutions. This allows me to develop, both professionally and personally.
Do you need to have programming knowledge to become an Analyst?
It depends on the size and specifics of the company you work in. At Aspire basic technical knowledge is well seen. It’s also good if the programmer has business knowledge. Currently, everything is heading towards specialization. Companies value versatile talents and those, who want to learn.
A Business Analyst doesn’t need to have in-depth programming knowledge. But it allows for reflection about the consumer and the problems.
What abilities are useful in this work?
An Analyst should be able to listen actively and communicate with people of different personality types.
Analytical and logical thinking skills are also important. The ability to analyze and map complex processes is crucial.
You need good presentation skills. The Analyst should be able to present ideas and knowledge in a structured way: be able to match the message to the recipient.
Importantly, the Analyst must learn quickly.
If someone is thinking about a career in this profession, where should they start?
It’s worth attending conferences, such as Be IT (konferencjabeit.pl), KIWAB (kiwab.pl) or reQuest (request.pl), or join local meetups, e.g. S3GA, or a forum for analysts, e.g. on LinkedIn.
Read the bible of analysts – BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge).
You could also attend postgraduate studies, e.g. at WSB or the Gdansk University of Technology in the field of Requirements Engineering.
It’s good to read about project management methodologies, especially Scrum or Kanban. Scrum.org is a great source of knowledge, training and certificates.
Business analysis tends to attract more women than other branches of IT. Why do you think this is so?
For many people, this is a great opportunity to work in IT without being a programmer. IT is currently one of the most dynamic industries and the best paid!
A Business Analyst must understand the needs and propose solutions. Empathy is king! Women often have this competence very well developed.
Technologies can change the world by giving equal opportunities. They give access to knowledge and education and improve the quality of life. It gives a deeper sense of work – working for others. And a great sense of influence.