Thursday, November 09, 2006

The psychologist as business analyst

The need for psychologists in user interface design ...

"... This got me thinking about why we have employed so many psychologists at PTG Global for user interface requirements and design: what about the psychologist as a business analyst (and the play on 'analyst' was not lost on me!!). This paper discusses the BA role and how a psychologist should be an essential member of the requirements process. The criticality of requirements and that there are hundreds of 4-year graduates to 6 year qualified psychologists out there suggests that the BA role could be a new career path and a solution to the skills shortage.

... About psychology and the psychologist
I mentioned earlier that there is no 'BA school' that teaches budding BAs a standard set of skills, knowledge and methods to capture requirements and convey them in a manner that everyone involved with the application and its development can understand.

I also mentioned that we preferentially hire psychologists. We make a big deal about this to our customers, but I don't think we've ever taken the time to explain to them exactly what a psychologist does and why it is relevant to IT and, more specifically, to business requirements.

I think that most people only have a vague idea of what a psychologist's skills and knowledge really is, and that it is probably inaccurate. Most of the misconceptions are fuelled by the endless rows of questionable self-help books in most bookstores.

Here's the quick guide to psychology and the psychologist.

There are two main branches of practising psychologists: the clinical psychologist and the organisational psychologist. There are specialists within each, including forensic, educational, sports, neuro- and counselling psychologists. We'll focus on the organisational psychologists here, but you can go to the APS website for more information on the different types of psychologists.

You become a registered psychologist (in the same way medical practitioners and lawyers must register to practice) by completing a four year Bachelors degree in psychology and undergoing 2 years of supervised practice with a registered psychologist. Alternatively, you can complete post graduate courses, including a Masters degree (coursework and research thesis) in psychology that includes the supervised practice, a PhD, or a combined Masters / PhD. Some universities also offer a Doctor of Psychology as an alternative to a PhD."    (Continued via ptg Global)    [Usability Resources]

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