Thinking about the mainframe, but not sure if you want a purely technical role? The great news in the mainframe world is that there are jobs that play in that space without requiring you to be a technical guru. For too long, the storied reputation of the mainframe had everyone assuming that you needed to “apprentice” for at least 20 years to be of value. While it’s no longer true for most of the available jobs, it’s certainly not the case if you’re interested in the role of business analyst. This position is perfect for those who love to be creative, work with others and ensure a competitive edge with your technology.

Your role is to bridge the gap between the business and IT. It’s all about managing the requirements; obtaining them from the business, anticipating change, constraining and simplifying the vision to ensure project completion, organizing the results and then translating them so the IT department can deliver on them. You’ll also work on managing these requirements including understanding use cases and user profiles.

Besides the challenge of translation, your job includes working with IT to ensure that the system meets availability and performance requirements. The best analysts enjoy using both their right and left brains, soft and hard skills to deliver a valuable business result. More recently, the job has also begun to focus on existing applications, helping both sides understand what the applications do and how this functionality is delivered.

Companies seek to take their production applications to the next level, which means improving performance and availability, modernizing them to take advantage of new capabilities such as Cloud and mobile and of course, to add new features and functionalities as the market determines. As companies have found the cost and risk of ‘rip and replace’ to be too high, this capability is increasingly critical.

The best news for the new business analyst is that you no longer would be expected to read the code or sit with developers to have them explain what they did. This wasn’t a particularly efficient system anyway, as it can be tough to follow the logic manually through the many programs, databases and platforms that comprise an application. Now, there is software to empower both IT and the business analyst, software that automatically finds and documents business rules and system interactions. This means that you can be productive relatively early in your career. The knowledge hurdle is less steep.

This business-analyst-empowering software will help you bridge the communication gap between the business and IT. By having a way to visualize the application flow and drill deep, it makes it much easier to understand the existing business rules, assess the challenge of modifying them, identify the system dependencies inherent in the application and better plan your projects.

The business analyst role covers a lot of ground; you’re not going to be able to do every aspect in each job, nor would you want to. But if this role sounds interesting to you, consider looking for companies that are trying to understand and modernize their existing applications. Then become conversant with the capabilities of automated code analysis solutions. Take your career up to the next level by finding your role in IT.