Business Analyst: Career profile

Bridging the gap between business requirements and technical delivery, a Business Analyst works to improve systems and achieve company goals. A go-between of sorts, the Business Analyst is a role that requires flexibility, quick thinking and strong leadership skills.

"Once you've built your Business Analyst skills, you'll also become quite marketable as these skills are transferrable across many industries."

Benn, Business Analyst

Benn Wheeler, Business Analyst

This is Benn Wheeler, a Business Analysis Practice Manager with SEEK. He loves team sports and has managed the Blades basketball team for about 15 years.

Describe your job in one sentence?

I lead and coach the team to ensure successful delivery of IT projects.

What education and training do you have?

  • Bachelor of Communication (Advertising), Monash University
  • Diploma of Information Technology, Chisholm Institute of TAFE
  • Certificate IV in Project Management
  • Natural Born Leaders (5-day leadership course), CMA Learning and SEEK
  • Coaching Essentials
  • Modelling Requirements, USE Case and the UMI
  • Priority Influencing
  • Australian Business Analysis Association QBAP (Qualified Business Analysis Practitioner)
  • Management Essentials
  • Quickstart Inception and Requirements
  • Requirements Management, Use Cases (RUP)
  • Business Systems Analysis
  • Information Mapping

How has this training helped your career in IT?

Formal training has supplemented my on-job experience. All the courses have been useful but, to be honest, some more than others. For example the Priority Influencing course was just a day long, but I still use a lot of the techniques learned about active listening, paraphrasing, being careful of body language and reading other peoples' body language.

What skills do you believe are most important for the Business Analyst role?

  • Interpersonal skills are really important, especially listening
  • Being able to interact with others, communicate well and ask questions
  • Using your skills to influence the direction of events
  • Remain calm and composed even when things aren’t going your way.

What’s best about being a Business Analyst?

Because you sit between the business and IT divisions, you get lots of variety and the change to be on a project from end-to-end – defining the problem all through to delivering the solution, and that always feels satisfying.

Once you've built your Business Analyst skills, you'll also become quite marketable as these skills are transferrable across many industries.

What's not so great then?

I'd have to say … working on what we call a 'death march' project, which is when you're assigned a project that doesn't have clear goals and objectives. More often than not, timelines and budgets are getting blown out and everyone in the team knows it's going to fail.

I’ve actually experienced that before in a previous role, and it didn’t make for a good day in the office.

What advice would you give aspiring Business Analysts?

When I'd first started, I pretty much had zero experience in terms of facilitation, presentation and project direction. Get some training – build those skills early by completing a few courses so that you'll learn to be comfortable leading workshops and speaking in public before having to apply it in the office, and with clients.

The other thing to note is networking. Find online discussion groups and go for industry events; these are small yet still potential opportunities.