Author Topic: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?  (Read 5407 times)

TheAnonOne

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Hello,

My wife was looking into moving forward with her career and maybe looking into a Business Analyst or Project Management type position.

She has 5+ years of various administrative experience but it wouldn't directly relate to a BA/PM type position (As I suspect, most career changes would be.) However, it has been in 'corporate' settings, so I suspect the work isn't that much of a reach.

I told her I would gather any information I can find on the subject.

I guess, the main questions are... (I understand BA/PM are two distinctly different jobs, but under a similar umbrella of administration)

1. How hard are these jobs to come by?
2. We are in MN, what is a general pay range?
3. She has a 2 year degree in a somewhat unrelated medical degree. Though, it is in a more administrative support area. Do you think extra schooling or certs are needed?

All other information or thoughts are appreciated! This is a very early discussion, so it could go anywhere from here.


Thanks crew!

humbleMouse

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 08:22:57 PM »
Apply to united health group and all of the companies it owns in the MN area.  Play up the medical background.  If your wife has a degree and a pulse someone in united health group will hire your wife.  Tell her to get in touch with recruiting agencies.  They will be in touch with hiring managers and get you through the door @80k++ for BA/PM role. 

SwordGuy

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 09:30:34 PM »
A project manager in the IT field, who does not know how to do business analysis, won't know it's going wrong until it's really bad.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 09:39:14 PM »
Apply to united health group and all of the companies it owns in the MN area.  Play up the medical background.  If your wife has a degree and a pulse someone in united health group will hire your wife.  Tell her to get in touch with recruiting agencies.  They will be in touch with hiring managers and get you through the door @80k++ for BA/PM role.

Yea, it always seems like UHG is hiring for software guys like myself. I have never been there personally though.

Thanks!

TheAnonOne

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2016, 11:32:30 AM »
Apply to united health group and all of the companies it owns in the MN area.  Play up the medical background.  If your wife has a degree and a pulse someone in united health group will hire your wife.  Tell her to get in touch with recruiting agencies.  They will be in touch with hiring managers and get you through the door @80k++ for BA/PM role.

Sent a PM, but really anyone could answer.

Any good consulting/recruiting firms I could contact or have her contact?

Shwaa

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2016, 12:31:41 PM »
Hello,

My wife was looking into moving forward with her career and maybe looking into a Business Analyst or Project Management type position.

She has 5+ years of various administrative experience but it wouldn't directly relate to a BA/PM type position (As I suspect, most career changes would be.) However, it has been in 'corporate' settings, so I suspect the work isn't that much of a reach.

Actually it's a huge reach.  You can't simply go from Admin (filing papers, coordinating PTO or whatever else Admin does)  to gathering software requirements or managing a project.  Training and experience are needed.  It's great she has the "corporate" experience, but BA's and PM's looking for work are a dime a dozen, at least in the Bay Area.  She will need more to become competitive.  My $0.02

AZDude

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2016, 02:20:31 PM »
First, project manager can mean a lot of different things. Some of those she probably is qualified for, but most she is not. Business Analyst is a different. At the risk of offending some business analysts here, I do not think the job requires much in the way of hard technical skills. Is your wife a good, active listener. Does she communicate well with people, even difficult people. Is she someone who notices problems where others do not? Can she talk to both a gregarious department manager, an irresponsible hourly wage earner answering phones, and a socially awkward developer? Can she talk to people of different ethnic backgrounds and understand them and not get frustrated?

Depending on the exact role, she will probably need basic MS Office skills and maybe some SQL knowledge. BA's often end up acting as a QA as well, so she should look into some of the lingo and jargon in the QA field. Going from admin to BA is not a big jump, and if she can get past the HR screening process, she can do the job.

madgeylou

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2016, 02:27:47 PM »
First, project manager can mean a lot of different things. Some of those she probably is qualified for, but most she is not. Business Analyst is a different. At the risk of offending some business analysts here, I do not think the job requires much in the way of hard technical skills.

It really depends on how the company does things. Our BAs need to understand requirements as well as design solutions (data models and mock ups and integrations), build XML samples, contribute to release readiness processes, and test.

It's not the same set of skills as a coder, no, but at my company, it is much more technical than just talking to customers and gathering requirements.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2016, 03:08:08 PM »
I've actually done this, so I have some advice. I transitioned from a sales and marketing manager role to a position implementing technology solutions (combination of BA and PM functional roles). I didn't have any formal technology or project management background.

Skills that she'll need in either role:
- Strong analytical skills
- Extensive experience with the Microsoft Office Suite, particularly Excel (It's okay to exaggerate if you're able to learn on the fly.)
- Some aptitude for technology- I'd suggest emphasizing whatever skills she already has.
- Good organizational skills and attention to detail
- Solid understanding of process flows particularly as they pertain to systems. If you have the mindset for this kind of work, it's fairly easy to teach oneself how to process map.
- Some understanding of the systems development lifecycle. (She should google this and learn the basics of the different methodologies.)
- Ability to manage people and resources. This isn't typically necessary in junior roles but is always a plus especially if she doesn't have many of the other desired qualifications.

So how does she go about getting the interview?
- Apply for another position that she's fully or even over-qualified for with an organization that is also hiring for a BA/PM role. The point is to get her foot in the door with an internal recruiter that can submit her for consideration for the role that she actually wants.
- Post her resume to Dice titled under "Business Analyst", "Project Coordinator" or "Jr. Project Manager".
- Apply for a position in her current organization.
- Identify positions that are specifically seeking junior level candidates.

Initially I applied for a marketing assistant role because I wanted to talk to a recruiter with that particular (relatively large) company. My original idea was that if they were hiring junior employees in marketing perhaps they were also hiring managers. After speaking with the recruiter, she identified me for the marketing technology implementation role. They had apparently been struggling to find qualified applicants and were willing to consider candidates with non-traditional backgrounds. I only made $60,000/year to start. They offered $58,000; I counter-offered $60,000. After a year, I received a raise to $65,000/year. Although that particular company was not a fit for me, it is proof that entering those roles without directly relevant experience can be done.

Kitsune

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2016, 03:11:57 PM »
Project management certification, or BA certification (I have one, my husband has the other) can be key to getting the better-paying jobs, in my experience. Both those require 2+ years in PM or BA roles, as well as courses and exams.

jaytomlinson

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2016, 09:17:32 AM »
In my experience at my previous job, Business Analyst positions were much more entry level than Project Management. I'm not sure whether that's the case every, just my two cents. PM jobs required working toward certifications, and prior experience as a Business Analyst was helpful.

druth

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2016, 10:01:32 AM »
I'm a BSA(business systems analyst), which is pretty much a more technical BA, and I'm in MN.

Definitely look for medical, which in MN there is plenty of, you will have a much easier time making the sell that way.  Unfortunately many jobs require a bachelors, so that may be a bit of an uphill struggle, but not impossible to overcome.  A certification would definitely help.  The U of M has one, and UC Berkeley has an online one.  I'm sure there are more, but those are what I know off the top of my head. 

I started at 55k out of college, which is a little on the low end for my role, but that gives you some idea of the range.  Try salary.com or payscale.com for an estimate.

I got my job through Genesis10.  I think Aerotek also hires BA/PMs.  I think that getting in with a recruiting firm is definitely the less stressful way to do the job search.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 10:03:40 AM by druth »

TheAnonOne

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2016, 11:00:44 AM »
I'm a BSA(business systems analyst), which is pretty much a more technical BA, and I'm in MN.

Definitely look for medical, which in MN there is plenty of, you will have a much easier time making the sell that way.  Unfortunately many jobs require a bachelors, so that may be a bit of an uphill struggle, but not impossible to overcome.  A certification would definitely help.  The U of M has one, and UC Berkeley has an online one.  I'm sure there are more, but those are what I know off the top of my head. 

I started at 55k out of college, which is a little on the low end for my role, but that gives you some idea of the range.  Try salary.com or payscale.com for an estimate.

I got my job through Genesis10.  I think Aerotek also hires BA/PMs.  I think that getting in with a recruiting firm is definitely the less stressful way to do the job search.

Thanks a ton!

Yea, I in no way thought it was going to be a 'slam dunk'. It will require starting at the bottom but not for too long I think. A lot of her current job is doing requirements, she understands SQL (doesn't use it daily), she is well spoken and is very bright.

She is going to try UHG as a stand-alone application first, then we will try recruiters. Her selling point is going to be that she is going to be going for the experience and not the money.

Thanks!

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2016, 03:28:41 AM »
With admin experience, she could aim for PMO roles in large projects, which will allow for exposure to true BA/PM roles - I'm sure with the right can-do attitude, she could easily start picking up some of these tasks.

Parizade

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2016, 05:33:34 AM »
I am a senior BA/PM at UHG in MN (3 figure income) and am often called on to mentor the junior BAs. PMs generally get paid a little more, but they are expected to have a solid understanding of business analysis.

I recommend your wife join the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) to explore the field and network at monthly meetings. She would not be eligible for certification through them until she has at least 5 years of experience.

The UofMN has a professional BA course that can be completed in about 6 months I believe. If she is serious that may be a worthwhile investment.

Just so you know, competition for BA positions at UHG is pretty fierce. Without experience your wife would have a tough time getting hired here.

ender

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2016, 06:51:14 AM »
Hello,

My wife was looking into moving forward with her career and maybe looking into a Business Analyst or Project Management type position.

She has 5+ years of various administrative experience but it wouldn't directly relate to a BA/PM type position (As I suspect, most career changes would be.) However, it has been in 'corporate' settings, so I suspect the work isn't that much of a reach.

Actually it's a huge reach.  You can't simply go from Admin (filing papers, coordinating PTO or whatever else Admin does)  to gathering software requirements or managing a project.  Training and experience are needed.  It's great she has the "corporate" experience, but BA's and PM's looking for work are a dime a dozen, at least in the Bay Area.  She will need more to become competitive.  My $0.02

The bright side for the OP is that a significant majority of BA's can't do this effectively either.

Parizade

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Re: Wife want's a career change. Business Analyst or Project Management?
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2016, 07:23:31 AM »
Hello,

My wife was looking into moving forward with her career and maybe looking into a Business Analyst or Project Management type position.

She has 5+ years of various administrative experience but it wouldn't directly relate to a BA/PM type position (As I suspect, most career changes would be.) However, it has been in 'corporate' settings, so I suspect the work isn't that much of a reach.

Actually it's a huge reach.  You can't simply go from Admin (filing papers, coordinating PTO or whatever else Admin does)  to gathering software requirements or managing a project.  Training and experience are needed.  It's great she has the "corporate" experience, but BA's and PM's looking for work are a dime a dozen, at least in the Bay Area.  She will need more to become competitive.  My $0.02

The bright side for the OP is that a significant majority of BA's can't do this effectively either.

very true, but those who can are always in high demand (for advanced BA work and for mentoring inexperienced BAs)