Note: If you want the gist of this post, skip to the last two paragraphs.
Before expanding on the question, just a short preamble:
I figured that the Programmers Q&A network was a better place to ask this question than StackOverflow. I might be wrong.
This is cross-post of a question I asked on Quora some time ago. The general gist of the answers was that, even though it might not necessarily help you to actually land a job in programming, experience in business analysis will most likely benefit a programmer. Main reasons for this included:
- the "ability to understand and empathise with the business side of [a] company's operations";
- the idea that the business analysis skill and mindset "might map pretty well to [programming] and help you pick up skills more quickly"; and
- that "analytical skills are critical to being a good programmer".
Someone elsewhere on this network asked whether "[i]s it more important to focus on a business domain or programming stack/technology". This question resonates with one element of my question, as it asks about whether to focus on specific domain knowledge (e.g. beer brewing) versus specific technology stacks (e.g. barrel ageing, double dropping, etc.). The other element contained in my question (additional to the value of specific domain knowledge) is the value of general analytical thinking (that can be applied to any business domain) for a programmer.
Another guy on this network (sorry, can't paste the hyper-link as I'm already capped at 2 per post at my current reputation level) asked "[h]ow much system and business analysis should a programmer be reasonably expected to do?". He states that in most jobs he held there were no formal business or systems analysis roles. The programmers were expected to play those roles. Consequently, he would often "lose out to guys who may be average programmers but have a much better understanding of the business processes". I guess that, by merit of asking the question, the asker already contributed toward answering mine - business analysis knowledge (i.e. both general analytical thinking skills as well as specific business domain knowledge) and experience ("embracing and internalising a customer-oriented approach" as stated in one answer) is useful to a programmer.
So here's my question in a bit more detail:
I currently work as a consultant for a consulting house. I primarily do business analysis work in the financial industry (to get a good idea about what it is I actually do, consider looking at what the International Institute of Business Analysis has to say). I have been at it now for one and a half years, straight out of university, where I obtained a degree in informatics (which is a fancy word for business analysis).
I am considering a career move into programming. The question: will my qualification in business analysis, and one and a half years of experience working as a business analyst, add any value to a prospective career in software development.
Another question that naturally follows: I do realise that, as pointed out by the answers on Quora, that it might not actually help me to land a job in programming. So what would? (Obviously I do have a plan, but I'm keen to hear what the community has to say.)
Feel free to ask questions or recommend edits to the question, and thanks in advance!