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I've been developing for a while now and I'm a little bit bored of the tiny details of software development.

I would like to be less technical and more focused on the bigger picture, like take more of a system wide approach from a business perspective.

Therefore, I'm thinking I might become a business analysts. But so far, I can't seem to determine what a business analyst does that a developer can't do.

I know they're supposed to know more about the business rules and how a user uses the system but as a developer, I feel you have to know that anyway. I mean, I've trained new BAs up when they've first started on how the system is used.

I'm also good with people, and can write pretty well. So I'm happy to do that, but surely there's much more to the job right? It's just weird because BAs in my area seem to get paid a lot more than developers - what are the skill sets I'm missing as a developer that I need as a BA?

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We are on same boat :) –  Tech Jerk Dec 2 '10 at 4:42
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closed as not a real question by maple_shaft Mar 7 '12 at 13:23

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2 Answers

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With only a couple of exceptions the best BAs I have worked with all started as developers. It used to be the case that practically everyone in DP/IT first worked as a programmer - but frankly the demand ramped up much faster than the supply beginning I am guessing in the late 80s with the office PC revolution.

These days around my shop, BAs who used to code call themselves architects. Sounds really awesome doesn't it? Architect. Just let it roll off the tongue. (I called myself Architect for several years, I can have a little fun). I prefer the old term systems analyst as it is more accurate but...not hardly in use around here - I'm surprised you even used it!

Seriously though, sounds like it may be a pretty good fit for you.

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The BA actually gets into those tiny details as that they are the ones that gather the requirements which includes asking the, "What if..." tons of times so that it is known what the system should do. The developer doesn't necessarily get knee-deep in the business process of exactly what are the steps to perform various functions and identifying all the pieces of the puzzle. Think about this question: How often does a developer get into stuff outside of the code? Some may do it a lot more than others, but just consider that question for a moment. Trials & Tribulations of a Business Systems Analyst is a blog on IT Toolbox by H M Winning would be a blog by a BA that may help fill in some missing details, with these few links being a bit more specific for those wanting a quick reference:

I'd suggest you may want to look into being either a project manager or an architect as both tend to have a bit broader perspective on a system. How are you certain that those BAs getting paid more aren't also expected to know a lot more about business processes involving some big system like an ERP or CRM?

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Haha, after reading the first paragraph, I had the same thought - If I was bored by the tiny details, I wouldn't go near any job with the title "analyst" –  NickC Dec 1 '10 at 22:28
    
thanks for links, I'll have a look at them. You're right though, BAs probably have different roles in different organisations. I'm just talking about the BAs I've met where I've worked (mainly .NET government shops). They seem to be more about gathering requirements and documenting them. –  RoboShop Dec 1 '10 at 22:31
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