One frequently hears of students who want to enter the world of software but don’t necessarily want to become developers. Alex Sukharuchkin, a business analyst (BA) at BBD, came from a software developing background and even thought of this as a career, but soon came to realise that she has a mind for analysis.

She explains how business analysis is not limited to doing only one role, with multiple paths one can take to becoming a BA. So what does a BA actually do? Simply put, a BA analyses the organisation and the design of technical systems, business models, processes and strategic business needs.

According to Alex, “anyone who enjoys processes and applies logical thinking can become a BA”. Whether you’re applying for university courses, looking at changing your career path or even figuring out whether business analysis would be a good fit for you, here are Alex’s five steps to becoming a BA:

1. STUDY…nothing?
Okay, maybe not nothing – but Alex insists that there isn’t a specific degree requirement to becoming a BA. “I have a degree in mathematics and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation.” If you are studying towards a degree, just ensure that it’s in a field that will teach you how to be a logical thinker. “Anything from a BCom in informatics to a BSc in engineering can give you a good head start to becoming a BA, but it’s definitely not necessary,” she adds.

2. Brush up on that code
Even though coding isn’t a requirement in most BA roles, Alex recommends having basic coding knowledge. “Because BAs are generally the go-to person between the enterprise and developers, understanding both the business and IT requirements would be very beneficial. You don’t have to be an experienced developer, but ensure you know enough about coding to streamline the developing process.”

3. Invest in training wheels
Or just training in general. Whether you’re just entering the business analysis field or you want to earn a professional certification, taking BA training courses will help you acquire the advanced skills you need to get ahead. BA training courses cover a wide range of critical job functions such as writing compelling business cases and requirements documents, process mapping best practices and Agile project management.

4. Mastering your Zen
Having good communication skills and being extremely patient are two BA traits Alex couldn’t stress enough. “Your daily processes will require a lot of back-and-forth communication with multiple people and usually this requires lots of patience. If you’re known as being quite the hot head, being a BA will be a challenging exercise.”

5. Understand the role’s diversity
Business analysis is diverse. There are multiple different roles, structures and requirements to being a BA, dependent on the business requirements and the type of BA role. A BA’s daily duties can vary greatly, depending on the nature of their organisation and project.

“It’s important that you find a role that works for you and it doesn’t necessarily have to be an analyst position at a software development company.”