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I usually see two job titles in the IT industry. My understanding of their most commonly accepted usage (simplified):

  • Business Analyst: Main role is eliciting the users' needs
  • Software Developer Main role is to design, build and test a software solution answering the needs

I'm wondering: "How we should call somebody whose role is to do both of the roles above?" Is this a common job title? And is trying to find people with these broadness of skills realistic, difficult?

EDIT: I'm specifically interested to name Lead Software Developers who have eventually learned and can apply techniques of Business Analysis.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by MichaelT, GlenH7, Bart van Ingen Schenau, World Engineer Dec 4 '13 at 20:19

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I'm a "Business Systems Analyst" turned Lead Developer, although I was programming way before being a BSA professionally.. We do exist :) –  Deco Sep 24 '12 at 1:30

7 Answers 7

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I guess any title is sort of arguable, any way, for your question, I would call this person a Programmer Analyst.

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Titles mean different things at different companies and in my experience usually don't tell the whole story of what a person actually does.

In the world of IT this is a particularly grey area when it comes to engineers and all of the other parties like Business Analyst and Project Managers required to complete a project.

Maybe a title is accurate in union shops where people are not given the opportunity to go beyond their duties.

For example, if someone owns a one man software company you could call this person an entrepreneur. In an enterprise (large) business, you could call this person anything you want and they likely do much more than what they title implies.

Software architect and Programmer Analyst are geared toward programming in my opinion and do not reflect the Business Analyst duties. You could argue the reverse also.

I think you just use both titles to describe that person. Business Analyst and Developer.

To answer your second question "is trying to find people with these broadness of skills realistic, difficult?". I think the answer is yes, if you rely on a title to describe someones duties. If you really want to know what someone does in a company just ask them. Most people will be happy to tell you.

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If the individual is responsible for high level designs and product direction, as someone who is both a technical lead and a business analyst would likely be, they are a software architect, although a software architect tends to be more technically focused than business focused.

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You may also call this person an enthusiastic programmer. However, it would really depend on what this person is really good at.

There is also another example where we get a "Jack of all trades, master of none".

Edit: For the case where Software Developer learn and also perform some Business Analyst role, his position might be called Programmer Analyst. It is also common to see where some programmers moving toward Project Management or Business Analysis after getting their MIS masters degree.

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So you really think that a Lead Software Developer cannot learn the extra skills to be a Business Analyst in his area? (I personally think the reverse would be more difficult) –  gyin Sep 23 '12 at 20:54
    
Everything is possible. My second sentence states that. As you see this commented info would be good to have in your question above. –  Yusubov Sep 23 '12 at 21:14
    
Really? Enthusiastic Programmer conjures up thoughts of someone eager to learn, constantly keeping up with new technology, striving to write better code. Hardly keeps in check with the business facing side of things –  djhworld Sep 23 '12 at 21:26

Programmer/Analyst Analyst/Programmer: A Study in Duality.

I think different jobs would probably emphasise one over the other. A smaller business may want an analyst to expand on some existing apps or create small ones.

In another scenerio, a programmer may need to learn more about the business to help with the needs developement.

The title alone never tells the whole story about a specific job, so the title doesn't mean much. For many developers, they take on this dual-role to different degrees. It is realistic, but you're not going to have to sacrifice something compared to filling each position individually.

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When I get to program -- I have a lot of duties -- it could be said my job is then that of a programmer/analyst, though that term is nowhere in either of my two titles or directly in my job description. Let me explain why I'm an analyst.

In order to design a store/forward/receive system for our Water Department's daily reads and configuration, that required my knowing about wireless endpoints, meters, and how the Water Department would use that data.

I have to know something about 1st and 3rd quarter real-estate bills, the term (used in MA) RECAP, and why the data being transferred is different in June than it is in December. The Assessors know a lot more about your property than I, but I have to know a lot about their data.

From my memory, programmer/analyst may not be an obsolete term, but I don't see it used much any more. I remember the term from the late 1970s and 1980s, when a lot of COBOL programmers were being sought by businesses.

I believe these days, if you're programming, it is expected you are picking up a lot of knowledge about solving the problem.

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If I had to ballpark a name for such a person, I'd call them a "User-Centric Implementation Specialist". I don't think it's a great idea to try and find one person with all of the skills involved. Better to get one of each if you can afford it and work on getting them communicating effectively.

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