A new team, a new customer, and, finally, a new project. Each of the mentioned examples is an opportunity to broaden competencies, though new knowledge is needed. How can a business analyst acquire it? You cannot always rely only on previous experience and proven methods. The most important thing is to be open to new information and… constant change. This approach works for me, and I’m going to tell you how and where I look for information.

Industry information – look beyond the Internet

When you work with a customer who operates in a specific industry, first, you get information from stakeholders. Not only – in this situation, the initiative is a business analyst’s key asset. From experience, it is also useful for the Project Manager and the developer. For the customer, both the information they provide and the industry language itself are quite common. For us, not necessarily –  the newer the topic is, the need to brush up on it increases. We look for information. But where? Here are my proven sources.

The customer’s website

Thanks to it, I find out what exactly the company does. Maybe it runs a blog (like Craftware 😉), publishes posts about new developments and solutions introduced in the company –  every piece of information is worth its weight in gold.

 

Websites of other companies in a particular industry

It’s also a valuable source of knowledge on a particular topic that broadens our perspective.

 

Industry blogs, knowledge bases, academic articles

Do you run a project for a customer from the banking industry? Medical? Entertainment? On the Internet, you can find industry-specific blogs concerning a particular market. For a business analyst, this is a treasury of knowledge about processes typical for a given industry and the used language or terminology. I also recommend knowledge bases with scientific articles – you can check, for example, research in a given field or area.

 

Discussion groups and forums

It’s worth browsing the posts here, but most importantly, join in the conversations, answer questions, and ask them as well. Broad discussions can be a valuable source of information. Thanks to this, you not only gain knowledge but also share it.

Trade journals

The texts are published by specialists in a given scientific discipline, by employees of large corporations, and by small start-ups. Every point of view can be inspiring.

 

 

Social media

The contacts and profiles you follow may surprise you with new information that you haven’t found on your own. And so, I encourage you to make contacts – both with people in your industry and those who interest you at any given moment. If some processes or definitions are still incomprehensible, reach for videos explaining a given concept.

 

Documentary programs and industry podcasts

These are a source of knowledge tailored to each audience. Experts often host them to present systems, explain processes and concepts.

 

Conversation

I saved it for last, but that doesn’t mean it’s the least important. On the contrary, for a business analyst, it is an invaluable source of knowledge. The most significant thing is not to be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know something. Questions should be directed to the customer, but also to colleagues who have had contact with a given area and can help you.

How to search for information on the Internet?

 

Dictionaries

You can find dictionaries of Polish, English, and any other language you are interested in. There are also specialized dictionaries such as a dictionary of medical, financial, or IT terms.

 

Search engines

There are many of them, and the popular ones are Google, Bing, Opera, Yahoo, Google Scholar. It is worth familiarizing yourself with the search methods to get the correct results faster and reach the content you are interested in. If you have come across a particular portal, you can also use a search engine to find information.

 

Sources, hyperlinks, bibliography

When you reach for scholarly articles, look at the bibliography and the sources the author used. This habit can help you discover content that can open your eyes to a topic and expand your knowledge base. When reading an article on the Internet, it is a good idea to click the hyperlinks that the author includes in the text, such as, articles that explain a particular concept in more detail.

 

Search methods

It is helpful to become familiar with the search methods offered by search engines. Using specific operators for keywords narrows down the results and makes it much easier to choose the right content among the millions of articles published on the Web.

Filtering results

Many search engines also provide the possibility to filter the results. You can filter them by date if you care about a specific time frame, select a specific language and authors if that is important.

 

I deliberately do not give specific sources (websites, links to videos, knowledge bases, and such). However, it is always worth building such a knowledge base yourself. You can reuse it for the next project or share it with others. This is a good habit that can help you save time in the future and build a position as a specialist in a given field.

business analysist working

Author

  • Kasia Adamczewska
  • Junior Business-System Analyst
  • A student of the University of Warsaw majoring in Architecture of Information Spaces. As an analyst, she’s been in the IT industry for nine months; she has two years of experience in the telecom industry as well as in retail. Currently, working on a project in the life science industry where she’s getting to know the analyst job. Outside of work, a fan of binge-watching, reading reportages, and baking.

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