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Sorry for the long post.

I'm working in an e-commerce firm. I have 4 years of experience working with SQL, Python and a handful of BI Tools that I have grown very comfortable working with. I feel that I have grown really well in technical terms. I can make complex customized reports/dashboards and do automations (fetching data from third party API, ftp server, google sheets etc.) and setting up crons/scheduler for those scripts.

Since I am working with a lot of stakeholders from different departments, I tend to get a lot of adhoc requests with varied requirements related to cohort analysis, customer retention and funnel performance. The main challenge I'm facing is I'm not getting the visibility despite putting a lot of effort into creating and maintaining these reports (I feel overwhelmed with work most of the days). The main reason for this lack of visibility is the managers (usually from the business teams) simply ask me to share the data or the query so they can export and analyse the data on their own.

The majority of those people lack the critical thinking required to do the analysis (I don't blame them since they usually have a different area of expertise and skillsets). So they end up doing their analysis (whether right or wrong) and present it to top management(who I have absolutely no communication with) who then take business decisions based on the story presented to them by these "middle men". It robs me of the learning opportunity which involves being able to meaningfully interpret the data and understand the business (I don't have an MBA, so I don't see how else I can get the business learning or expand my knowledge about the company).

On top of this, my manager(digital marketing director) rated me 2.5/5 for business understanding because he claims that I don't provide insights to our team or other depts. He doesn't understand that those teams don't want to discuss the data and build a story with me, they want to do it on their own and then do not even share credit with me which is super unfair to me, and results in a lot of negative feelings in me about those people and the colleagues in general. Also the company doesn't have a leader in analytics or a chief data officer who can become a voice for the analytics folks.

The condition is worse for freshers because the senior analysts such as myself don't see any rewards for teaching them the skills, meanwhile not getting anything from the company except the salary. I feel stuck and there is no-one who can add value in terms of the skills and knowledge that I am seeking or the recognition that I deserve.

How can I make my life better? The best case I'm seeing right now is to request my manager to give me more technical tasks for my own learning which would not stop him from getting credits for the work I'm doing the most heavy lifting in. I feel there's little I can do in this role and with so little authority despite being decently skilled and having the capability to work independently.

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From how you're describing things, you're not working in a business analyst role. You're working in a report-developer role. They are two different things.

A business analyst job description typically includes:

  • Creating a detailed business analysis, outlining problems, opportunities and solutions for a business
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Planning and monitoring
  • Variance analysis
  • Pricing
  • Reporting
  • Defining business requirements and reporting them back to stakeholders

You've mentioned only one of the above points, which is why you keep getting pushed aside. Consider getting some training that is more specific to the list above, through an organization whose name will carry some weight (colleges). Then you're going to have to probably find another job and work in a junior business analyst role doing some of the items above, and work your way into doing them all.

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  • Hi Xavier, I'm in a business analyst role only, but this term "business analyst" is a broad term and will have different job description in different depts in different companies. This must be a role you're familiar with because some of the things you have written I have seen other financial analysts do, which is not what my role is May 17 at 5:46
  • @JonyAgarwal No, it's not so broad as you might think. We have two universities here in California with certificate programs for business analysts. The course content from the two schools addresses the list above. tinyurl.com/2bwppav7 tinyurl.com/yzjvw6dz When companies create their own "home grown" BA definitions, that's when problems start.
    – Xavier J
    May 17 at 18:11
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    that's what I meant. The problem is with the homegrown definition. It's a vague term. Been in this field for 5 years, so I know May 17 at 18:14
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How can I make my life better?

You may want to consider a new job. In your defense, a non-IT manager (or even a MBA-type manager) cannot assess your code, so they don't know if your code is amazing or if it looks like spaghetti. They can only assess the output, and if he's too clueless to understand what your output is then he'll assess you on managerial concepts, including "teamwork" and "communication". Bear in mind some managers will intentionally score low to make you work harder or to leave room for improvement.

Programmers job hop quite easily because the demand for skilled programmers is high. IT gurus like Brent Ozar have done independent studies, and the trend clearly indicates that job hoppers are paid the highest salaries versus people that stay at the same company for a career.

So then you only have to focus on landing a new job that's a promotion. Very basically that's:

  • Being a subject matter expert so you can pass interviews.
  • Certifications to make your resume stand out. A lot of people say certs are a waste and they give various reasons. In my personal experience I have gotten job interviews because of the certs and known the answers to some job interview questions. I give a lot of credit for getting higher paying jobs to certs. My advice is to attach all cert printouts to electronic submissions that allow it, even if it is just an "Other" type of attachment, to verify your resume. Interviewers have told me that they appreciate seeing the certs.
  • Maintain excellent working relationships with coworkers and stakeholders so they willingly go to bat for you on reference check calls. Some interviewers will ask for as many as 3. My last job accepted 2 since I used a former manager.
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  • Thank you. This is insightful and quite exactly what the feeling is like for me. May 15 at 16:03
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For a report developer to gain business acumen, there are two ways to do that:

  1. Get an MBA

  2. Start your own company

Of the two, starting your own company will give you far more insight than getting an MBA. It is amazing how much one can learn when your next meal is on the line. Getting an MBA is the path to getting a job as a business analyst or transitioning into management.

Edit: The base line problem is that many companies "pigeon hole" developers into technical roles. It can be quite difficult to get answers about the business issues. In this case, the OP isn't getting what analysis the managers are doing with the data the OP generates.

Under that dynamic, the best solution to learn what it means to be in business often is to leave the company via one of the above two ways. In my experience, technical people needed to get outside validation of their business knowledge (via MBA or business success) before other managers would acknowledge them as business people instead of just "geeks".

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