Perspectives please - Programmer vs Business Analysist

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Coottie, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    EDIT: Yeah I know the title is misspelled. :o

    Hey guys....looks like I'm up for 2 different positions at a large company here and wanted some perspective from you pros.

    As you may or may not know, in May of 07, I graduated with a CS degree but haven't done a lot of programming since then....either with work or in my free time. I'm interested in programming but it seems recently I've been distracted by a whole new crop of video games, shooting pistols and other things. I'm not sure if this is because I don't want to program or because I'm enjoying post grad life of no tests and a steady paycheck.

    Anyways, like I said, I've interviewed for 2 positions. I'll recap them here:
    Business Analyst: I would be the liaison between 2-3 departments IT and accounting/marketing. I'm very well qualified for this in many ways (both prior work XP and education) but the area I'm lacking, real world programming. Basically I'd be listening to the acct/mktg departments requests for solving problems then I'd investigate potential solutions and even design them, then communicate with IT to "make it so".
    It would be a highly visible position and I think I'd start at a senior level.
    More money
    High stress

    Software Developer:
    This would be a traditional programming role where I would take specifications and actually code them. I would get neck deep in MS technology and I would have to figure out how to implement solutions other people design. I think I would come in as a Junior software engineer and work as the "lowest-man-on-the-totem-pole" where I'd get all the crap that other people don't want to do. However, it would be programming and a lot of it.

    So I'm not sure which would be better for my career. I did go to school to program and I enjoy it but the analyst position will likely pay more, be very visible (that can be good and bad) and involves work I really like, such as helping people solve problems and work more efficiently.

    One of my concerns is that because of the size of this company, they can afford these types of liaison positions but many companies can't. If there were cut backs, I might be first on the "chopping block" and would have missed an opportunity to hone my coding skills.

    So what do you guys think? Which one would you take and why?

    Cliffs: I'm up for 2 jobs....programmer or business analyst. I'm more qualifies for BA position in many ways but I do enjoy coding. Not sure which position would be better for my career and need advice on which one to take.
     
  2. Jkuao

    Jkuao New Member

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    Enjoying coding and doing it for a living are different things. Developing software that adheres to a company's business needs can be very aggravating should i not match your interests.

    Why is it the BA position pays more? Generally developers make better cash than analysts b/c the work they do it more technical and more difficult. Usually project managers/product managers are the ones that do the liason work and usually there's a ton of overlap. As a software engineer, I try to leverage for positions that involve working directly with the customer as it's the toughest job to outsource. Developers are a dime a dozen in India/China and they're so cheap they easily make up for the lost productivity of being halfway around the world.

    If you're qualified for the more senior position, then take it. Going in lower just to get some programming in isn't really worth it. If you really need to maintain your technical side, pick up a cert or two.

    I'm going the other way actually...I have 3 years of software engineering and I'm heading for an MBA now to make sure I can keep career growth.

    How are you explaining the 9 month gap in your resume?
     
  3. Nocera

    Nocera ...

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    To be honest, if this requires designing software solutions in any capacity, then you're not qualified. You'd need a lot more development experience first. The developers you work alongside will be able to see right through you. There are plenty of high paying development jobs out there. I think you should start there for a few years.
     
  4. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Yeah it does match some of my interests quite specifically...however the one that it doesn't match is my desire to code. However, that's what weekends are for right? :)
    Well to be honest, I haven't received any formal offers yet so I'm speculating. This speculation comes from what they've told me.....that they have a very hard time finding people with the specific business experience/knowledge required for this job (which I have) and that also knows about programming issues.

    They easily find a person with one or the other but rarely do they find someone like me.....with knowledge/experience in both. Granted I know more about the business than the programming.
    Yeah see in the BA job, the customer is actually the acctg/mktg departments.
    This is a major concern of mine also....that if I go with the developer position, my job might be outsourced.
    Yeah I've been seriously considering the cert route....not to necessarily prove anything but more to provide a focus to my learning.
    Easily....3 months post grad was spent enjoying life, traveling, riding my motorcycle and generally de-stressing from my Uni experience. The next 6 months I've been working.

    Thanks for the feedback....I really appreciate it.
     
  5. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Well I don't know how much designing will be involved with the position. I certainly wouldn't be in an software architect position. When I said designing, I meant more of a higher level design.....UML cases and user interface designs and things like that.

    One of the things I'm not at all ashamed to do, in any position, is to admit my deficiencies and ask for help from those who know.

    The problem is, this company can't seem to find programmers that can speak to the business side of things. With my heavy background in business and recent CS degree, they're telling me I'm a "perfect fit" for the BA position. These were the words my future boss used.

    But your point is also why I made this thread. Because I'm so new to the software development side of things that I'm not sure if I'd be biting off more than I can chew. I'm not even sure how to clarify that point with them. I have the opportunity to ask questions, and I have, but damn....I'm not sure how I'll know if I can function in this position or not.

    After asking my future boss what are a few of the qualifications someone needs to succeed in this type of job (the BA role) she told me, that I'd have to apply my knowledge of the business to helping solve real problems and streamline processes to help support the business side of things. This is work I've done before but not necessarily with software development as the primary tool to solve those problems.

    If you have additional thoughts, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for the feedback.
     
  6. Doomsday

    Doomsday XXX

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    I hated coding so I would be biased if I recommend that you get the BA position.

    I got my CIS degree in 96 and started as a mainframe programmer, then shifted to client server applications by Y2K.
    When I got my MBA in 03, I immediately shifted to Systems Analyst and never looked back. Fuck coding. :o
     
  7. Nocera

    Nocera ...

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    How extensive was the interview process? If you met with 5+ people and they all felt confident in you, then you probably are a great fit. The more people that interview you, the better.
     
  8. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Actually, I'm interested in everyone's perspectives based on their experiences. I honestly haven't decided which position to take and I haven't yet been offered either. However, my contact on the inside said I was "In very high demand" and that the department heads are sort of fighting over me. :)

    I'm interested to hear about what you didn't like about coding and why you like the BA position better.
     
  9. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    I interviewed with this company back in June 07. At that time, I met with 7 or 8 people but the job was for DB support. I was told that I had very high scores from everyone but they chose someone that had more experience specifically with DB support.

    I think most of the people, from this first interview, were with the DB team.

    This time around (I just interviewed last week), I met with 5 different people. 4 were from the programming side and 1 was the BA side. The person doing the BA interview is my future boss and from what I'm understanding, this is a fairly new department (the liaison department).

    Regarding how extensive they were, the coding interviews were technical in nature and I feel I did fairly well. I'm pretty hard on myself so I know I could have done better.

    The BA interview focused more on my previous work which was very similar in nature.
     
  10. Doomsday

    Doomsday XXX

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    It's all about my goals.

    I got bored as a programmer. I realized that my technical skills are growing, but my managerial goals are going nowhere.

    Being an SA opened a lot of opportunities for me to participate in all phases of SDLC, not just development. When I got my MBA, I started to apply for managerial positions.

    Right now,... my professional title is System Architect/Project Manager. I have BAs, programmers, and testers in my team.
     
  11. bostongreen18

    bostongreen18 New Member

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    In my experience, companies don't give you two offers for two different positions. I'd bet that they will only offer you one of the two positions. Whatever you do, figure it out soon and focus your efforts on getting the offer you want whether BA or programmer.

    Good luck.
     
  12. danewreed

    danewreed OT Supporter

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    development :o
     
  13. Dustro

    Dustro New Member

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    BA gets my vote (that is the direction I choose). I get the chance to do as much programing as I want (more even) but also get to break out of that on a regular basis which makes for a good balance and helps with burnout.
     
  14. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Cool thanks for the perspective.
     
  15. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Yeah I agree that they don't usually give 2 offers but one never knows right?

    Well since I spent 3.5 years learning to code I decided, before the interviews, to pick the development position. And I communicated that clearly during the interview process. However since the interview, I've been really thinking about the BA position. Like I can't get that position out of my head, kind of thing.

    I think I'd honestly be very happy with either one. I mean they both have good and bad sides to them so I dunno. If I had to pick today, I'd prolly choose the BA position but you know, that could change fairly quickly.
     
  16. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Care to explain why?
     
  17. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Yeah see the BA at this company would be little to no actual coding but it would be heavy on the business side....something I'm already very familiar with and I'm pretty sure I can hit the ground running with that job.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
  18. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    This post just wouldn't leave my mind and that's a very good thing. I honestly thought they'd give me 2 offers. Thankfully, I listened to your advice before my first interviews, picked one and went to the interview.

    I picked the developer position and told everyone that asked that I was most interested in that position. Hell I've spent the last 3-5 years of my life preparing for that position and I was really excited about it.

    Then I went to the interview and the last person I talked with was the BA boss. Something very strange happened over the next couple of weeks after this interview, the BA position became the job I want. This was really strange for me and I was quite surprised that I was so interested in that job.

    So I was all set for my 2nd interview with the developers and I had to tell them I'd had a change of heart. Man....I almost screwed the pooch because the BA boss has been interviewing other people and might have filled the position.

    I didn't hear anything then decided to send her a long email describing my change of heart. I was honest about how it all came about and she gave me another interview.

    So yesterday they made a verbal offer for the BA position and today I accepted the job! :hsd: I'm pumped and just wanted to thank you guys again for all the feedback...it really helped.

    I'm getting about a 45% raise in salary by accepting the job and it has tons more benefits, stock, bonuses, and all sorts of other good stuff. I'm now just waiting for the formal approval and written offer to arrive....which should be soon.

    Anyways, thanks again for all the feedback. I feel like I've just won the lottery!
     
  19. Jaff

    Jaff New Member

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    The best BA's know about programming - are you sure you wern't just preparing for this BA job?

    Congratulations to you! Best of luck.

    I'm a programmer trying to become a BA. I love programming but it's a dying field... constantly more outsourcing (not nececiarilly to foreign countries), more kids can do it, less wages, more learning of new technology, etc.... It seems like half the time I'm doing BA work anyway...
     
  20. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Thanks

    Yeah I've sometimes thought that my programming training was more to help with BA work than actual coding...afterall, I did similar type work before.
    Yeah when I talk to older programmers, those that have seen a lot of changes and things, I think....meh. Many of them talk about the effort required to keep up with all of the changes as being one of the real downsides to being a programmer.

    haha I was so excited from verbally accepting this job that I couldn't sleep and called in sick today. I'm so tempted to just quit but I don't want to burn any bridges. I also have some unused vacation time which I'll definitely use before I go.
     
  21. danewreed

    danewreed OT Supporter

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    Kudos on the job. You might be able to give notice and checkout with that vacation time on your last check. I hope it works out.
     
  22. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Thanks!

    Yeah I've think they'd give it to me on my check but you know....I'm sooo fucking ready to leave. This company I work for really has some serious issues. Everyone does whatever they want, whenever they want and usually we're repeating work. I'm just so ready to bolt that I damned near gave my notice on the spot but I need to wait for the formal offer because there might be unforseen issues.

    And the more I read about the BA job, it seems like a perfect fit. I'm getting so pumped! I can't wait to get started.....just wish they'd call and tell me it's official so I can tell my current employer to shove it.....then take a vacation. :rofl:
     

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