💥 11 Business Analyst Career Paths And Duties 💥Jun 09, 2022
The key responsibility, or the purpose of the Product Owner role is to “maximise the value of the Product”. The Product Owner is one person (not a committee) responsible in the Scrum Framework for maximising the value. The way the Product Owner maximises value, is by continuously making choices about what to build and what not to build in the Product. In order to do so, the Product Owner is also responsible for the product vision and for managing the Product Backlog and stakeholders.
🧐 What Does a Product Owner Do?
Some examples of what a Product Owner should do include:
- To be accountable for the success or failure of the product
- To provide unified direction to the product
- To provide the resources and authorise the funds for the product
- To provide visible and sustained support for the product
- Maximising the Value of the Product for customers, users, and the organisation. This means that a Product Owner actually owns the product. The Product Owner is the person who is responsible for making sure that the product delivers as much value as possible. This also means being responsible for the Return on Investment, Budget, Total Cost of Ownership and the defining, maintaining and sharing of the Product vision for example
- The Product Owner is also responsible for Product Backlog Management. This includes activities such as clearly expressing Product Backlog Items, ordering the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions and ensuring the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the Scrum Team will work on next
- The Product Owner is responsible for Stakeholder Management, in order to align everybody around the product vision and (business) goals and objectives to achieve. This also includes inviting the right (key) stakeholders to the Sprint Review, discussing the current status of the Product Backlog, next targets and objectives, likely delivery dates and progress made, during the Sprint Review as well as tracking the total work remaining (at least every Sprint Review) for the Product, creating forecasts and making this information transparent for the stakeholders.
A project manager is a professional who “organises, plans, and executes projects” while working within restraints like budgets and schedules. Project managers are in charge of leading teams, defining goals, communicating with stakeholders, and seeing a project through to its closure. Whether running a marketing campaign, constructing a building, developing a computer system, or launching a new product, the project manager is responsible for the success or failure of the project.
The project manager role is in demand in just about every industry. Let’s take a closer look at what project managers do, why you should consider a career in project management, and how you can get started.
🧐 What Does a Project Manager Do?
A project is typically divided into five different phases: initiation, planning, execution, and closure.
Throughout the lifecycle of a project, the project manager is responsible for:
- Defining the scope of the project
- Staying on schedule
- Planning a project’s cost and sticking to a budget
- Managing project resources (including teams and workers)
- Documenting the progress of the project
- Communicating with stakeholders
- Assessing risks
- Leading quality assurance.
The sheer variety of tasks means no two days on the job (or two projects) are quite the same. On any given day, you might be interviewing and hiring new talent, managing team meetings, reallocating resources to cover an unexpected expense, or updating stakeholders on the progress of the project.
The scrum master is the person on the team who is responsible for “managing the process”, and only the process. They are not involved in the decision-making, but act as a lodestar to guide the team through the scrum process with their experience and expertise.
Not everyone on the team will have the same understanding of concepts like scrum, product owner, product backlog or user stories and that’s especially true for teams new to the scrum framework. Without a scrum master promoting and supporting the process, who can help product owners and team members understand the theory, practice, rules and values of scrum, the project can flounder and fail.
🧐 What Does a Scrum Master Do?
While a scrum master is a crucial member of the scrum project management team, they are not involved in agile release planning. That’s done by the product owner and the scrum team. A scrum master doesn’t act as a project manager; a scrum team is self-organising. In fact, a scrum master isn’t responsible for the success of the project’s result.
Yet, without a scrum master the whole scrum framework would fall apart. The scrum master is the glue that holds the project together by facilitating, though not participating, in the daily scrum meeting (one of the four scrum ceremonies). Scrum masters help the team maintain their burndown chart and set up retrospectives, sprint reviews and agile sprint planning sessions.
Business intelligence analysts are a necessary part of “making the extensive amount of data now available to companies useful”. Business intelligence analysts straddle the worlds of business and information technology, having a firm grasp of each, and are able to mine and analyse data to recommend growth strategies for a company.
Once a business intelligence analyst makes recommendations for technological advances in a company, they are often needed to lead seminars for colleagues, including training managers to implement and monitor these new systems.
🧐 What Does a Business Intelligence Analyst Do?
In the data science workforce of today, the business intelligence analyst evaluates both the data of the company itself as well as data from competitors and others in the industry, in order to discover ways to improve their own company’s market position. Good business intelligence analysts will look into their company’s systems, procedures, and functions, and find areas in which the company can increase efficiency and profit margins.
Business intelligence analysts also must consider new ways in which a company can develop new policies regarding data collection and data analysis methodologies, including ensuring integrity of data use. Business intelligence analysts may also be charged with hiring other data specialists at times, such as data architects.
Data science is primarily focused on “deep knowledge discovery through data exploration and inference” and a good data scientist must possess both the statistical knowledge and computer skills that are needed for solving complex problems. This discipline focuses on using mathematical and algorithmic techniques to solve some of the most analytically complex business problems, leveraging troves of raw data to figure out the hidden insight that lies beneath the surface.
Given the exponential amount of data being churned out via our smartphones, desktops, and the vast array of IoT devices throughout the world, governments and private enterprises are interested in gleaning insight from their extensive data collection processes. At first glance, one may assume that data analysts and data scientists are interchangeable – meaning there is a mutual one-to-one correspondence between the two, but this is not the case.
The work of a data scientist quite often is centred around precise and exacting minutia-driven analysis and yet data scientists must also possess exceptional verbal, written, and visual communication skills. This is because it will fall to them to express their findings and analysis to a host of others who may find highly sophisticated data-driven jargon difficult to follow. This may include not just their own superiors and colleagues on different teams, but also high-level company stakeholders.
A data scientist will need to convey what they’ve discovered and what needs to be done about it now that the information is known, all in a comprehensive and easily digestible way.
🧐 What Does a Data Scientist Do?
Data scientists determine the questions their team should be asking and figure out how to answer those questions using data. They often develop data models for theorizing and forecasting.
A data scientist might do the following tasks on a day-to-day basis:
- Find patterns and trends in datasets to uncover insights
- Create algorithms and data models to forecast outcomes
- Use machine learning techniques to improve quality of data or product offerings
- Communicate recommendations to other teams and senior staff
- Deploy data tools such as Python, R, SAS, or SQL in data analysis
- Stay on top of innovations in the data science field.
A data analyst “takes data and uses it to help companies make better business decisions”. A data analyst acquires information about specific topics and then interprets, analyses, and presents findings in comprehensive reports. Many different types of businesses use data analysts to help collect and analyse data. As experts, data analysts are often called on to use their skills and tools to provide competitive analysts and identify trends within industries.
A data analyst is similar to a data scientist but they’re not precisely the same job but are often not responsible for creating the algorithms used for data discovery and acquisition. Rather than creating their own data projects, data analysts often find themselves tackling specific business tasks using existing tools, systems, and data sets. Both careers share a common goal: to discover how to use information to answer questions and solve problems for the benefit of their business/industry.
🧐 What Does a Data Analyst Do?
Data analysts translate numbers, trends, and trajectories into digestible and accessible information. Businesses collect data (i.e., sales figures, inventories, market research, profit margins, logistics, and transportation costs). A data analyst’s job is to take that data and use it to help companies make better business decisions. Often, the main goal of a data analyst is to solve issues that cost the company money and to help make decisions for expanding the business.
Some examples of a data analyst basic job functions include:
- Estimating market shares
- Establishing a price of new materials for the market
- Reducing transportation costs
- Timing of sales
- Figuring out when to hire or reduce the workforce.
Data analysts are responsible for collecting, manipulating, and analysing data. Data analysts use systematic techniques, standard formulas and methods to analyse the relevant information. They then typically prepare reports detailing the results from their analysis.
Data analysts might perform basic statistics such as variations and averages for a particular product over a certain time period. They also predict yields and interpret the underlying frequency distribution of a set of continuous data. They use the standard methods of collection, analysis, and reporting when completing their tasks. Data analysts always protect the organisation’s data, making sure that the data results produce consistent, reusable guidance.
A solutions analyst is part-business analyst, part-systems analyst. A solutions analyst will “take a holistic view of any project”, the way a business analyst would do. They’ll start by looking at processes and trying to identify potential improvements that can help to deliver organisational goals.
And like a systems analyst, the solutions analyst will roll up their sleeves and get involved in the tech infrastructure. They might review code, examine database structures, and look at system integrations. If the project requires some coding, the analyst will work with developers to create what’s needed.
The big difference is that solution analysts focus on specific business needs. Leaders might have identified something that’s missing, like combining data sources or offering new functionality to users. Solution analysts will work on a solution to that problem, such as implementing a data pipeline or building a user-facing app.
🧐 What Does a Business Solutions Analyst Do?
A business solutions analyst works with companies, government agencies, and other large organisations to optimise production and increase efficiency. In this role, you gather data from your client, analyse specific processes and overall performance, identify and create recommendations to improve results, and meet company goals and expectations. You may spend some time at the client's office, observing the daily routine, before developing a plan.
Solutions may include ways to streamline production processes, create better lines of communication, and determining what software products are most useful to the company. Business solutions analysts often work on a team with senior analysts to develop a plan to improve their client's operations, and many focus on implementing new software and applications to help their clients meet their goals.
A Business Architect is a strategic, senior role “responsible for business transformation and overseeing critical deliverables”, such as business capability models, business capabilities, and value streams. A business architect’s main responsibility is leading the architecture of new organisations or re-architecting aspects of existing ones.
A business architect will take a leadership role in the strategy and development of holistic, multidimensional business architecture to achieve an organisation’s goals and solutions.
🧐 What Does a Business Architect Do?
While a detailed inventory of all business architecture components and all the business architecture deliverables is out of the scope of this article, the following are some of the key deliverables which business architects develop or collaborate or contribute to the following:
- Strategy Summary
- Operating and business model analysis
- Business ecosystem
- Enterprise Business Capability Maps
- Value Streams
- Business Entities
- Organisation Mapping
- Systems/Application Mapping
- Capability-based Roadmaps
- Function/System Footprint Analysis.
A cyber security analyst is a trained information technology (IT) professional who “monitors, prevents and stops cyber-attacks”. They act as a company's security force by protecting their network and IT infrastructure. Cyber security analysts may use their strong understanding of malware and cyber-criminal behaviour to design and maintain security features.
🧐 What Does a Cyber Security Analyst Do?
Cyber security analysts (also called information security analysts) plan and carry out security measures to protect a company’s computer networks and systems, according to the BLS.1 They keep constant tabs on threats and monitor their organisation’s networks for any breaches in security.
A typical cyber security analyst job description includes installing firewall and encryption tools, reporting breaches or weak spots, researching IT trends, educating the rest of the company on security—and even simulating security attacks to find potential vulnerabilities.
Cyber security analysts will also plan for trouble, creating contingency plans that the company will implement in case of a successful attack. Since cyber attackers are constantly using new tools and strategies, cyber security analysts need to stay informed about the weapons out there to mount a strong defence.
Additionally, information security professionals may assist in spreading the word and educating members of an organisation about security risks and best practices, which makes perfect sense. Even the most technically sound and secure systems can be undermined by a user with the right access level acting foolishly.
Cloud computing architecture refers to the “components and subcomponents required for cloud computing”. These components typically consist of a front-end platform, back end platforms, a cloud-based delivery, and a network. Combined, these components make up cloud computing architecture. Cloud solutions design is based on architectural procedures and methods that have been developed over the last 20 or so years.
A Cloud Architect is responsible for converting the technical requirements of a project into the architecture and design that will guide the final product. Often, Cloud Architects are also responsible for bridging the gaps between complex business problems and solutions in the cloud. Other members of a technology team, including DevOps engineers and developers, work with the Cloud Architect to ensure that the right technology or technologies are being built.
🧐 What Does a Cloud Architect Do?
So what does a day up in the clouds look like for an architect? Well, in no particular order, it can include:
- Establishing best practices for cloud usage within an organisation
- Discussing real business problems and identifying opportunities with cloud technologies
- Overseeing governance, AKA the rules and standards the cloud environment must abide by
- IT security task to monitor privacy and develop incident response procedures
- Plans to mitigate any risks that security and governance might have helped identify
- Estimating cloud infrastructure costs and meeting budgets
- And of course, design and implement their cloud infrastructure.
The tasks are large in responsibility and far reaching in impact, but that is part of the appeal of being a Cloud Architect. Big choices. Big impact. Every day.
Are you interested in the latest technological advancements? Would you like to be involved with integrating these products with businesses? You may want to consider a career as an enterprise architect!
An enterprise architect is responsible for “making sure that a company's business strategy uses proper technology systems architecture to achieve its goals”. Enterprise architects have an enormous degree of responsibility, and typically report directly to the chief information officer (CIO). They need to keep up with the latest trends in technology and determine whether or not they would be the right fit for a company.
🧐 What Does An Enterprise Architect Do?
An enterprise architect is responsible for the entire infrastructure of the company's IT platform. They are responsible for ensuring that the platform meets the company's needs. A few of the main duties of an enterprise architect are designing processes, documenting essential IT procedures, tracking project progress, and maintaining a security focus. They also have to collaborate with other teams to design the correct systems. Some of the jobs titles that an enterprise architect could grow into are director of IT and chief information officer.
An enterprise architect should have 2 years of experience in IT as well as a bachelor's degree in computer science. One of the most important skills that an enterprise architect will have, is the ability to use big data. Another skill is knowledge architectural methodologies and frameworks as the enterprise architect will need to be able to implement strategies effectively.
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