If you search for vacancies with an "analyst" component, you’ll find a lot of variants in different domains. Even if you narrow the search down to the IT domain, the found vacancies may significantly differ, as employers have different visions of whom the analyst should be.
As a result, candidates come to an interview with completely different knowledge and expertise: from market research to products’ testing. Some tend towards management, others are more into design. In Noveo the main tasks of an analyst are:
- requirements clarification,
- user interface prototyping,
- functional specification design.
Doesn’t seem too difficult, does it? But our company’s characteristic feature is that the majority of our customers come from France, and not all of them speak English well enough. Which leads us to the fact that the main requirement toward an applicant becomes a sound grasp of French.
Have you tried to find an experienced analyst with good knowledge of French? We have, and we can assure you that this is quite a challenging task. After some time spent searching we came to the decision to search for people with a mandatory good language command rather than required work experience and to train them as analysts ourselves!
The training program has been elaborated over time, by trial and error, but now we can proudly present it as a working one: within 2 recent years we have already trained 5 junior analysts, and today all of them are successfully working in Noveo.
The training program is aimed to bring up a junior who a) has basic professional knowledge required for working on a project with foreign customers, and b) is relatively independent to be able to gain the lacking information in the process. And this during 3 months of probation period!
2 principles lay at the heart of our program: reverse engineering and entering working process step by step. Every junior has an experienced tutor assigned to them, ready to answer all their questions and perform their work’s review.
It is also worth mentioning that we have a constantly updated knowledge base, where the employees can find all the information they need for work: about processes, tools, as well as useful professional articles for juniors.
When our novice got through the theory, we come to practice. We begin with a training project, requirements to which we will restore (this is the reverse engineering method we mentioned above). The employee chooses a site or a mobile application that he/she is interested to work with. One of our recent choices was the site ASOS.
Task №1 - describe User Stories
The junior describes user stories, then together with their tutor they choose several stories, logically connected with each other. It is on the base of these stories that further training will go on.
In our project it turned out to be:
- signing up on the site,
- searching for an item in the catalogue by certain criteria,
- watching detailed information about the item,
- adding an item with required characteristics (colour, size) to the cart,
- ordering (indicating ways of payment and shipment).
Task №2 - create a user interface’s prototype
While creating a prototype, the junior specialists not only study the functions of a tool (Sketch + Invision or Figma); they also learn UI elements and master the main principles of building an interface.
For example, the screen "Cart" looked as following: On this stage a book of Ilya Birman "User interface" is very useful.
Task №3 - describe functional requirements
The next step is to describe functional requirements following the created prototype. The specification should be written according to a corporate template in English, to be maximally close to the real situation.
As an example, here is a small excerpt from the description of the "Cart" screen:
R075.1: My cart block consist of the following elements:
|1||Heading "My cart"|
|2||Text "Items will be reserved for 60 minutes"|
|3||A clickable photo of the item - by click on the photo the Product page of the item has to be displayed|
|4||Button - by click on the button:
|5||Price of the chosen item|
|6||Short description of the item - by click on the link the corresponding Product page has to be displayed|
|7||Color of the item|
|8||Clickable size of the item
|9||Clickable quantity of the item
|10||Text "Total amount of [х] rub.", where x - the total amount of chosen items|
Working on the requirements, juniors make extensive use of the book of Karl E. Wiegers "Software Requirements".
While writing specifications a lot of trainees discover how many details are indeed hidden behind a seemingly simple and familiar interface.
This way, at this stage every junior forms a clear view about the results they should provide in their work: the prototype and specification, as well as which information they will need from the Customer.
It’s just the time to add more creativity into the training process. We’ll design a back office.
Task №4 - separate classes
To work on the back office, we study the basics of the Object Oriented Programming: introduce the notion of classes and objects, touch data types and guidelines.
A small part of our diagram is presented below: Now when the trainee understands which entities he’s working with, he should design a user friendly interface to manage them.
Task №5 - design a back office interface
We don’t have to know how the back end of ASOS really looks like. The main goal of this stage is to teach the employee to develop on their own an interface for working with classes, separated on the previous stage.
Usually this task includes designing of the following screens:
- main screen dashboard and navigation,
- lists/tables of objects with the search possibility,
- pages with objects’ detailed information with the possibility to edit,
- statistics, reports.
We’ll show you a couple of screens of the back-office. By the way, we created it in Figma, to master this increasingly popular tool. Now, when the junior understands, how the specification and the prototype are created and what the differences between the front and back offices are, he/she is ready to proceed to real projects.
In order to gradually introduce the novices to our working processes, we let them apply theoretical knowledge to an internal project.
In Noveo we have an Internal Development Department, and the guys are always happy to share the tasks where analytics is needed. Working on an internal task, the junior also trains one of the main analyst’s skills - communication. As we communicate with our colleagues in Russian, the beginning analysts is not so afraid as could be communicating with foreign customers.
Analyzing the accomplishment of this internal task, we can see how well the trainees have mastered the material and whether they are ready to work on a real project. Usually it takes up to 2 - 2,5 months of probation time to reach this moment.
Depending on the complexity of the new project and the workload of the department, a new analyst is assigned to the project
- alone (in this case they are accompanied by a tutor);
- in tandem with a more experienced analysts.
After probation period
External projects can be of very different volume and last from 2 weeks to one year, so we don’t wait for them to be finished to close the newcomer’s probation period.
After 2,5-3 months since the beginning of their work we gather feedback from the tutor and colleagues who had a chance to work with them, and evaluate their skills with the help of the qualifications network: hard and soft skills. If the novice meets all the requirements of the Junior qualification, their probation period is successfully closed.
Obviously the education doesn’t end here, as the UX domain is constantly evolving and we have new customers working in completely different fields. A UX analysts seeking professional development has to follow all modern tendencies, dig into different domains and gain proficiency. And that’s what places the profession of a UX analyst among the most interesting ones!