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Is programming experience important to become a BA?

I have an opportunity to switch from programming to BA in IT, but I am not sure what to do. In the future, I want to proceed as BA only. Does programming experience really matter in such a role?

I have graduated in Computer Science, but have just 6 month of programming experience

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closed as off topic by thorsten müller, Walter, Robert Harvey, Matthieu, Yannis Mar 3 '12 at 10:34

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If you want to be a business analyst, then take the roles as a business analyst. It won't help your future career to waste time now on a job you've no interest in. If later you need programming skills, then with a degree in computer science you should be able to figure it out. – TZHX Feb 28 '12 at 10:21
thnx TZHX but i had discussion with lots of people so some of them was said if you have in-hand programming experience then it will help me is it true . – Pranali Feb 28 '12 at 10:36
it may not help you unless u r applying for techno-functional role which rarely exists in companies – Balaswamy vaddeman Feb 28 '12 at 12:08
You need to be good at dealing with people: – jfrankcarr Feb 28 '12 at 13:28

It depends.

It may help to have programming experience of the systems when moving within a specific company.

It may help you with doing said analysis and speaking to business users and helping them understand limitations of existing systems, or feasiblity of requests with timescales.

It may help if you are involved writing specs where you have input into what screens look like, how process flows could work etc, though a dev team may think you are stepping on their toes.

It would probably not help to have, for example games programming experience, in a financial company.

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I believe that it is not necessary, but it helps the BA understand the perspective of the developer and thus write better business requirements and user stories.

The best BA's I have worked with used to be developers because they understand more of the pain that comes with requirements that are impossible to implement, requirements that conflict, and are able to make better judgements on which requirements bring the most value to the user (Eg. Implementing rounded corners on a text box may not be supported in the framework and will take an entire sprint to implement, perhaps that feature is lower priority now).

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The BA position is a bridge between the user/customer and the programmer. As such the best of them understand both viewpoints. Do you have to be a programmer to be successful as abusiness analyst? No but it helps assuming that you also can handle the client-facing and domain knowldge parts of the job.

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There are obvious questions you need to ask yourself before you switch to another career. For example, why do you want to stop being a programmer? Do you see a future in 5 years for yourself in programming? Do you have the means to better yourself for the market so that your skills would still be in demand? etc.

I can answer the part of your question:

Does programming experience really matter in such a role?

The answer is no. It is nice to have but it is not necessary. By definition the role of business analyst to know the business well and be able to communicate with technical people to help make the business work better. You might want to look at B.A. Career for some insight on this career.

I would also suggest that you sit with someone who does this role and try to figure out typical responsibilities for such a role before you make your mind.

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It helps, but be aware you'll have to keep that knowledge current. If you had done this ten years ago, your three years experience with VB5 would probably be more of a hindrance than a help today (nobody would want a BA that still designs things using ActiveX controls). If you don't mind staying up-to-date on development trends and technologies, then you should be fine.

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