Tag Archives: how to be a domain expert

How to be a domain expert

Domain experience and business analysis go hand in hand. With every year added in the career, the employers start expecting the business analysts to be more specific and knowledgeable in the working areas. The business analysts are expected not to be an expert only in the processes but also have good exposure to the core domains so that the communication can be done using the functional terminologies related to specific domains. While discussing with different delivery managers and business unit heads I have noted that most of the individuals are following the strict guidelines for recruiting the business analysts. On one hand if business analysts are expected to be hands-on with different techniques, tools and business processes they are also supposed to have a good understanding of the working domains.

Today is the era when employers want to recruit the most efficient resources  working in their teams and the resources available for multiple tasks are always welcome. This is also true with the recruitment process of business analysts. Most of the times the business analysts are filtered out on the basis of domain expertise. The profile of business analysts is most misunderstood as it is spanned across the full project life cycle at different levels for different roles. They are expected to be the part of the core team throughout the project and thus  they have to be working with different teams. BTW business analysts are experts in working with different teams and the profile meant the same. Isn’t it?

In my recent book on business analysis I have emphasized more on the business processes and the knowledge areas. This is because the domain expertise comes with the continuous working in a specific domain and the terminologies can be learned in the course of time. While the business processes, tools and techniques hold the important role in the profile of business analysts. The business analysts are expected to work in the process oriented environment and they should be more focused on the techniques followed during the entire life cycle. Having domain experience is the added advantage and the people with testing or development background gain the same more easily and comfortably if they held the roles under certain functional umbrellas.

Nevertheless, learning is a continuous process and the domain knowledge can also be learned and developed. I have developed a technique of acquiring knowledge in any domain and I call it as an “AGILE” learning process. This process assists the business analysts to learn different domains and gain knowledge in any of the desirable domains.

A  – Ask Questions: Since our childhood we have been asked to ask. No matter  how silly the query is, but the same is valuable till it is answered.  So build the habit of asking questions. The questions related to the processes, product, techniques etc. always help in gaining knowledge in another domain. The domain understanding and the details related to terminologies come with the experience but in due course the individuals can frame questions to understand the processes. It’s always recommended to pen down the notes once you get answers to your questions as it will become a treasure till you are involved in that project. Asking questions remove the hurdles in the growing path and help the individuals in setting up their career path.

G – Get involved: Showing interest helps the individuals in getting marked and in turn the senior managers can refer them to the important meetings. Show curiosity in getting involved in the routine activities related to the project. Invite yourself to the meetings and show enthusiasm and be inquisitive while attending the meetings. Get involved in the important discussions and be active to be the part of the core team. Taking over the responsibilities and devoting energy to reach the targets helps the individuals in growing in any arena.

I – Increase Networking: Networking is always the best way to explore more options. The individuals looking for options in other domains are advised to increase their professional networking. Talking with  experts and seeking the opinions of the people working in your desirable domains is a smart way of gaining knowledge. Networking most of the times also help in landing to the desirable job position and hence it’s a good option to keep yourself updated on the professional networking sites and be in touch with the experts.

L – Look Around:  “Opportunity Knocks the door, but once”. You should always keep your senses working to look around for the available options and grab the most favorable option. While switching to any other domain, you need to think of the most common link between your current role and the future offering and then design the proposal to sell your profile for the available options. Think about the available options, be open to learn new techniques and work in odd conditions. It’s good to work on your terms but showing adaptability increase your chances of getting introduced to other areas.

E – Educate yourself: Gaining knowledge in desired domains is a stepping stone of getting into the dream role. There are potential trainings, workshops and certifications available in the market where the individuals can learn and improve their credentials. It is said that some portion of your income should be devoted in learning processes. It’s a self-investment which results in unexpected profits in the future.

So above we have learned a technique to grow in the desired field of knowledge and mark the footsteps into the space of new knowledge domains.


Happy Learning!!