Become a Business Analyst
As an aspiring remote business analyst in need of relevant Business Analysis (BA) skills, qualifications and certifications, I have been scouring the web for online courses that would provide me with on-the-job technical training. Through registering on Coursera, Skillshare and FutureLearn, trialling courses on each. I soon uncovered the underwhelming lack of courses fitting my criteria and more profound interest online. However, do not despair — The LinkedIn Learning platform seems to fill the void.
Here’s my experience thus far.
Wanting to dive headfirst into the ocean of knowledge that the platform has to offer, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of courses. To alleviate this common problem, Linkedin Learning has created ‘pathways’. These are a collection of courses centred around a domain, whether you are interested in photography, content writing or software-engineering there’s a path for you.
I decided to embark on my LinkedIn Learning journey by undertaking the ‘Become a Business Analyst’ pathway. It has an estimated completion time of 25 hours 55 minutes, from 17 separate video courses. Which, in my opinion, is split up into three sections. Business Analysis overview, Tool training and Interpersonal skills.
Business Analysis overview
The first section, comprised of the first seven courses, gives an entry-level introduction into the Business analysis domain. It’s explained very simply, in fact, a 15-year-old would understand it. As an individual that has a basic understanding of the BA field, I found myself bored at times due to the lack of new learnings. That being said, as a refresher, it was useful. A particularly engaging part of the 1st segment was in the requirement elicitation course. A number of the videos were designed to show how to elicit requirements in the field, not via a sketch with actors — utilising a real-world scenario that many participants of the course understand a useful ‘how-to’. One issue that I had in this area of the pathway was the lack of emphasis on the agile side of business analysis. Many domains are seeing the utilisation of Agile as a method of working, and a course that starts to bring the Agile and Business Analysis disciplines together would be a great addition.
The middle section of the course looks at Tool training with the addition of a data science foundations course. The content here is, in essence, a walkthrough of the Microsoft tools, from how to; save files in Word; draw shapes in Powerpoint; to creating pivot tables in Excel. In terms of difficulty, this section of the course is akin to what high school students study in IT. Regarding the data science course, I was excited to dive into the more ‘useful’ means that could be utilised. But, I happened to get a little overexcited with the idea of introducing machine learning into my toolkit, forgetting that it was just a foundational course. While there is a need for an understanding of this course’s content, it can be synthesised into a shorter time span.
Focusing on how to better communicate with your team, is the key learning from this section. Three of the five courses are dedicated to communications. The main trait of a business analyst is to have strong communications skills so some thought has gone into the curation of this pathway. In this section, there are more of the real-world sketches, providing a more in-depth insight into workplace interactions — the other courses in this section centre around leadership foundations and negotiation foundations. The former focuses on building inclusivity into the workplace. Creating an environment where a client and colleague feel relaxed enables the better elicitation of requirements, which is also an essential skill.
The interpersonal skills section of the pathway, when applied to the domain of business analysis, is surprisingly insightful and actionable. Including, the addition of the Negotiation foundations course which I think will be overlooked by many. Negotiation, is a critical skill and helps to navigate the day-to-day work of a business analyst, also further bolstering the communications skill set for any budding individual.
The ‘Become a Business Analyst’ pathway is useful for anyone wanting to refresh their knowledge or needing an introduction to the BA domain. It is simple and accessible for any audience. The jargon and concepts are explained clearly, while the real-world sketches show an insight into how people can behave in the workplace. Overall, the pathway provides learnings for both the work environment and your personal life; not many online business-orientated courses can manage that!