The field of business analytics is growing rapidly as we understand more about the power of big data to drive business decisions and develop new ways of applying that data in useful ways. The job growth forecast for those with expertise in business analytics looks good, and there has never been a better time to contemplate making a career change into this exciting field. The key is making that change successfully.
Understand the field
The first step is to understand what being a business analyst means and what the work will involve. This foundational step helps you determine if this career path is really for you and what you should do next.
To get this understanding, start by getting involved with people already in the field. Whether that's an online forum or a local networking group in your area, this gets you talking with people who will often be very happy to answer your questions.
Read and learn
There are books galore on the subject and even some free introductory courses you can take to get familiar with what this field entails. If you're interested in staying at the company you currently work, it's worth finding out if your company offers any training.
Because you're learning a whole new field, you may be experiencing feelings you haven't had since you first struck out into the working world. You may even struggle with unwarranted feelings of guilt. But there's nothing to feel guilty about, and you are more capable than you may think.
You have skills
You're not coming to this new career like you did your first one. You have some serious skills and experience behind you now. These may seem, on the surface, to be unrelated to business analytics; but there could actually be more crossover than you think. Here are a few transferable skills you probably have already learned:
You've learned how to face and solve problems.
You've had to talk with others and gain a real understanding of their perspective.
You've had to tactfully manage someone's expectations, be it a customer, a boss, or a client.
You've had to explain how something works to customers, clients, or other employees.
Get the education
You may have natural gifts that make the role of business analyst particularly fit for you, or you could have lots of experience that has prepared you for this career change. But if you want to show prospective employers that you're serious, and if you want to get a leg up on your competition for the job you want, education is the best bet.
Choose the right training
When you get your education, make sure you're investing in something that will really help you accomplish your goals. You can get a business analytics degree online from an accredited school. You want a program that is top-ranking, that has been developed with the insight of employers, and that includes plenty of practical work to get you the experience you need.
See yourself at the goaline
Making a career change often happens while you're trying to hold down a job and deal with other adult life realities like making car payments, raising kids, or just managing all the little things that the world throws at us every day. It's easy to let your studying slide because it seems like the least urgent thing.
To combat this, visualize your new career and see yourself already there. Spend some time imagining your life as a business analyst. Then set a date for reaching this goal and keep it in front of you all the time. This will help you stay on track as you focus on a tangible goal.