I'm a business analyst for the Canadian Automobile Association in the insurance division. I'm the go-between person between the I.T. and insurance departments. Day to day I work on new projects, support and issues that come up between the departments.
I got a BA in public policy and management from York University. A lot of the degree was analysis, but afterwards I wasn't sure where I wanted to go. Government or city work didn't pan out. Five years into my career, I decided to take an Oracle database certificate program at George Brown College.
I got an introduction to SQL, a programming language used in databases, and to relationship databases. The college teaches you the language the database uses and how a database works.
Previously I'd worked in insurance as an adjuster, a job that has a limited scope in terms of growth. At some point you have to jump into a different career. The courses opened up the field of I.T. for me and helped me obtain a job in support analysis, where I could utilize the SQL language I'd learned. The foundation was insurance, but the courses helped me move onto a path with a lot more opportunities.
My best moments on the job are when I can provide solutions and help communication between departments. That's something you learn on the job as you gain experience. You need to translate the business requirements to what the developers need.
A frontline agent will report a problem. For example, a consumer's auto and property insurance premium rating might not be working properly. You have to find out what is wrong - it could be a code problem, a rate book problem or the way the user input his or her information. You have to debug and analyze where the problem is occurring so the developers can fix it.
After I switched to this career, I realized this industry requires a lot more knowledge than I have. It's about continuous learning. I'll have to get a certificate in project management or programming to expand my scope more and move up in the field.
A good analyst should be a very good planner, have organizational ability and be able to effectively teach and test out solutions. You've got to be highly motivated, clear-minded and a good communicator. You need to analyze situations, because they keep coming.