BA Must-Reads: #2 Advancing your career in business analysis and beyond
Here’s the second instalment of #BAMustReads, all focussed around advancing your career in business analysis and beyond.
I’m a big believer that the skills and experience we develop as BAs, can be applied to so many career paths — all the way upto the C-Suite.
1. Business Analyst: Careers in business analysis by Adrian Reed
When Adrian Reed and the British Computer Society (BCS) join forces, you can confidently bet on it being a great read, and this no exception. We all know as BAs, that our paths into the profession are usually varied, and quite often unique. This is all wonderfully acknowledged and embraced in this book, with various case studies and interviews with practicing business analysts.
It explores what it likes to be a business analyst, how to get into it, and how the toolkit that we develop can support the progression into a wide range of other professions. Something, I’m also personally a big believer in. The skills and way of thinking that we acquire, can mean we are a great fit for so many different roles, up to and including C-suite level.
For those, looking to advance their careers, as well as those who are supporting others develop theirs, this is undoubtedly a must read. Dare I say, it’s a great gift for friends and relatives who maybe considering a career in business analysis, or a digital role more generally, but are unsure which career path to take.
2. The Business Analysis Handbook: Techniques and Questions to Deliver Better Business Outcomes by Helen Winter
First off, I’ll start with a confession. I’ve not actually read this book yet. But it’s one I’ve heard time and time again, being recommended by experienced practitioners in the communities I’ve had the pleasure of leading. As well as, being shortlisted as a finalist for a couple of major business book awards.
What many like about it, is that provides practical guidance over theoretical principles, recognising some of the very realistic challenges that we face as business analyst professionals. Blending technical know-how, with ‘soft skills’, something which the latter is often overlooked in many other publications. It also includes a number of templates, which can be a helpful friend.
For those, not familiar with the author, Helen Winter, I’ve quoted her bio directly from the publication.
Helen Winter has over 20 years’ business analysis experience, having worked as a consultant on large-scale transformation programmes within the financial services, regulation, insurance and utilities sectors. She has the BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis and is a BCS certified Chartered IT Professional. She is an active volunteer for IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) and the founder of Business Bullet, an online magazine promoting business analysis and providing guidance for professionals.
3. The Nine Types of Leader: How the Leaders of Tomorrow Can Learn from The Leaders of Today by James Ashton
Whilst not strictly about business analysis, I think many will recognise that as we develop in our careers, we tend to end up in positions which involve being an effective leader. Arguably, good business analysis is also centred around effective leadership, whatever level you are working at.
The author, James Ashton, formerly held Editor positions at the Independent, London Evening Standard and The Sunday Times. Where, he covered some of the biggest economic and corporate stories of recent times, and had the opportunity meet many leaders from across the globe.
To quote directly from the cover;
The Nine Types of Leader introduces some obvious and some not so obvious types of leader through stories, anecdotes and insight garnered from hundreds of encounters with world-class leaders. Featuring interviews with industry titans including Jean-Francois Decaux of JC Decaux, Michael Rapino of Live Nation, Zhang Ruimin of Haier, Gavin Patterson of Salesforce and Isabelle Kocher of Engie, it explores how the leaders of tomorrow will improve their game by borrowing from the very best of the nine types of leader that exist today.
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What would you recommend?
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