“I always had a consultant mindset. So I would advise that people see, see yourself on your career. Don’t wait for someone else to define what your path is going to be like. When you know that you own your career, then you’re going to go all in on yourself, designing your path and then doing what you can to actually achieve the things that you set to achieve.”
Hello everyone. And welcome to the traceability podcast. I’m your host, Tracy Edwards. And today we’d like to welcome Patrick Giwa from the UK. So very happy to have him with us today. I know it’s a little late there, so really appreciate your willingness to be with us. Patrick is a dynamic business analyst consultant, a product manager and process automation expert. He’s got a PhD in management with a focus on technology entrepreneurship. He has a mission to help kids in Africa get easy access to computers and internet facilities. So I’m sure we’ll talk about that as the conversation goes along. So welcome, Patrick. Thank you for being with us today.
Very much. Thank you. Thank you so happy to be here.
Good. So how we start out is we kind of go back to the beginning and ask how you got started as a business analyst,
Right? Okay. Those are always interesting story, cause it’s a long story, right? So as you know, everyone has a business and another story. So for me, I’m one of those who was actually doing business and analysis tasks without actually bearing the title. I worked at digital markets and agencies. I had my own agency. I was, I’ve seen also things, you know, doing different projects and consulting as a business analytics without actually knowing that it was a business out of this task. So for me, it goes all the way back to when I actually finished college or in university when I finished and I started looking for jobs, one thing was sure. So when I was in my, my degree, one thing was show for me because my degree wasn’t telecom cushions come to networks engineering. Right? I knew that I didn’t want to be a software technologist, you know, sitting behind a computer somewhere in some room.
And people only just call me when they need to meet, you know, sort of it support type of thing. But at the same time, I love technology so much. I didn’t want to be too far away from technology. I just want to be in a business side. So I always say, when I’m, when I’m doing interviews back then I’d say, I just want to, I love technology so much. I want to be able to use technology to help businesses, leverage technology for businesses. Now I did tell him, I do, you know what? This was, what business owners respond, right? But that’s why I always say in interviews, so fast forward, fast forward compliments completing my PhD or doing all these projects I’ve been doing. Cause I was top just kind of do it myself, you know, leveraging technology of a business to finishing my PhD.
And now I’m thinking, okay, I want to actually view and accelerate my career. I want to create a path for myself at this point I knew I’m also very entrepreneurial. So I was thinking, how can I bring all of these together and create a carve out for myself? So I had several options consulting. I had done project management. And then I think it was in that search that I, I came across business analysis and then I’ve read what business owner does or they do. And immediately I was like, this is it. This is literally the career for me. This is, this is it for me. Like, like I’ve been up and doing this. So really excited to actually find it, carry out a defined and me and I can really bring myself into. And then I didn’t went through the whole journey of getting to the mindset, finding a training organization to train me up. I bought the books. I did the courses, revamped my CV and then go into the market to get my BA. Well, so that’s my long journey.
I love that. And as you say, it’s a pretty common way to sort of find ourselves in business analysis suite, discover that we’re doing some tasks and we know that those were the tasks that we enjoy and how can we leverage this? And I know you enjoy mentoring, other business analysts who are sort of feeling similarly about how can, how can I leverage this into a career? And so what would maybe be your advice for as you’re finding that you’re taking on some tasks, you don’t know what your careers looking like. You don’t necessarily have a vision.
Would the question be to someone who wants again to business analysis as a career, or just deciding on a career path in general?
Probably both questions. So, because I know you’re also big on took on career paths in general as well. So maybe let’s start specifically with business analysis and how you can leverage that into other things later on,
I do get a lot of people coming to me and asking are, you know, I wanna, I want to get into business and I see is how do I do it? Where do I start from, Oh, I’m doing this and that, but I want to get into business owners is what is it like being a business owner? I get a lot of that. And I’m actually working on an article to actually like crystallize my thoughts and my own personal experience to actually becoming a business owner. And it’s basically seven, seven steps, seven, seven simple steps to simple, but not necessarily easy seven simple steps to get to becoming a business owner. This is steps I personally went through. So the first thing for me is to develop a business analyst mindset. Now maybe you’d help me at Tracie between the first and second cause I’m trying to decide which comes first. So is it developed this mindset first or is it landed fundamentals of business owners? So for me, I started with actually learning the fundamentals of business owners. So I probably discovered that, okay, there was, there was a quote business analysis or started learning, right. What ways do you read about what is the right job specs? Then I went online. I say everyone does. And I found Laura [Brandenburg] at Bridging the Gap and read a lot of her articles, consumed them, read her book
Read, all of it, like literally word for word, really enjoyed it.
Then I, I bought a UK based book as well on how to become a business analyst. I went to Udemy, I bought the two best courses on business, the most top rated courses on business analysis on Udemy. And I finished every one of them. And then, and then at that point I had a good idea of what a business analyst does, what the job entails. And then the next step was then to develop a mindset. Now I said that I thought back to everything I had done in the past and to looking at them in the lens of a business analyst, right? So they called our management requirements process versus I’ve dealt with, you know, analysis. I was just like looking through my experiences in the past and thinking of how I have engaged in businesses in one form or the other. So that’s the next step, you know, develop this mindset.
And the next thing is enroll on an intensive BA crash course. That was the next step. So I advise people, yes, you can do academic courses are great, but for me, I want you to really have, and this was before we had the pandemic. I really want to have one on one face to face someone who is actually on the job whom I can ask questions to and they can tell me about their experiences. And, and also like I relate all the things I’ve learned in, into like real life experience. That was what I wanted to know. Cross, cross crush close was a life project, right? That them to placement or projects will be, I could actually be a business analyst. So I can confidently talk about our experience when I’m in interviews, sorta things such as, you know, CV’s and LinkedIn as well. So that’s the next thing I would say, look for good, good trainer. And there’s lots of them out there look for a good trainer to get to in person or as much as possible live, you know, business analysis training, the next thing
To get rid of experience. Now you would get this with that
To the trainer, right? Most of them would like projects, if not find a way to get that experience. Now, if the training is not, your trainer is not offering that, you could find a project yourself to start and do a project, could be something as simple as just, you know, trying to be doing website, to collaborating with a friend, to start up something. It could be a project that you get serve involved. And then you, the business analyst on our project and do everything that everything you’ve learnt implemented on our projects. So that will be a relevant experience. Find a way to get read about an experience. And then next thing is to then take your CV or resume and brief on Pete, make kids into a BA specific resume. So look how your previous experiences and, you know, just reconstruct your CV to be a CV that is applicable to your business owners.
And then the next scene almost six would be to join a BA community or network we’d be as business owners. So this was something I did a lot. I found as much as I can get, I spoke to them oxygen with it. They was like, how did they get to become an, a business analyst? What are the challenges of phase? All of that stuff. I asked lots and lots of questions. What was the help with the training idea was we were placed in a group. We brought up people in similar circumstances. So we were able to chat about with our project leader around, you know, what real life being a real life business analyst was. So I’ll find a community these days. There’s so many ways you can find a community. You can go on LinkedIn, there’s one I’m on, on WhatsApp, just so many ways you can join the bridging the gap on LinkedIn. And then the last thing is to go out there and crack the BA interview. So that that’s the, that’s the entire process for me.
And I appreciate everything that you said there because I have definitely gone through that. And maybe we can talk a little bit about a couple of things that kind of stand out to me is, you know, as, as business analysts, we have to be sort of self-motivated. And in addition to that self-motivation, that leads us towards a sort of investing in ourselves and our potential. Sometimes we sort of wait for an organization to help us get the training that we need and that’s not always forthcoming. And so maybe, maybe speak to how we can have sort of that self-motivation as well as sort of crack the fear of investing in ourselves.
My experience here, here’s how I think about it. When I was going into my cardio, I went and asked the consultants and that was the mindset I had. I wasn’t going in as a, a prominent, you know, in an organization, even though if, if I got, if that was the opportunity that came first out, I’ve taken it right. But I just had had the mentorship of a consultant. And just what that meant was I just basically all my career, I suppose, to exist in an organization. And then they, they have a path for me to get to the top and I have to go through what I train and I’ll wait for them to promote me. I wanted to own my career. So that was the mindset. I always had consultant mindset. So I would advise that people see, see yourself on your career. Don’t wait for someone else to define what your path is going to be like when you know that you own your career, then you’re going to all yourself, designing your path and then doing what you can to actually achieve the things that you set to achieve.
The other thing, the other way too, to look at it, is see, is as the CEO of your career because I’m a consultant and I have my own business and it might help that I’m actually entrepreneurial. So I’ve run businesses in the past. I see myself as the CEO of my career. So I see myself as a business does how literally I see myself and for a business to be successful. You know, you need to have resources, you need to invest in that business, right? So I see doing all of this self-improvement as a way of investing in myself. So it’s something that I am doing for the time, rather than waiting for someone to actually do that for me. So I always put myself in that position because I see myself as a business and I’m the CEO of this business.
I love that. I was reading an article the other day or the gentlemen, um, basically said we are all entrepreneurs, whether we have our own company or not. If we work in a corporate organization, consider a corporate organization as your client and to, you know, the relationship endures as long as you want it to endure and not as long as the client necessarily wants it to endure, or if they want to put you in a sort of a specific box, either enjoy that box, or if it’s not working for you, move on to another one. I know that this is a topic that you’re very passionate about, and I want to sort of lead into how it relates to, um, your mission with your project in Africa.
That’s a, that’s a big part of me. So my mission with Africa started from, was it 20, 2016? I think it was 2016 or 2017. The, I went, I was, so I was out to Africa to collect data for my PhD, right. And while I was out there, I lived with my uncle and he had his kids. And when I came, I came with my laptop to my laptop at work and this kids see, they see my laptop and is so excited this so happy to jump into Lauren and, you know, do you want to do wanna use a laptop to play right kids? And I noticed that they had a, had a computer in the house and it was just, you know, the, the ones from the past, the ones with a big back stop. That was what I had. But I would say it wasn’t working. Right. I tried to make it work, but you know, it just wasn’t working. So I tried to repair it. So after I went through collecting data for my, for my research work, and it was about time for me to return back to England, I said, okay, I’d like to repair this for them. So I took the machine to what we call a computer center where lots of computers get prepared. They were like, like the computer is so dead. You know, we’d have to replace it to anyone.
As a student, you know, a PhD student who was out on field work. I didn’t have enough money to replace it for them and, and hard to come back to England, but I left something inside of me. And I’m thinking back in England, my cousins here, back in England, they each have a laptop to them, not just a laptop, they’ve got smartphones, they’ve got iPads to them. But in here, the kid in Africa who doesn’t even have access to neither of those. And I, you know, I said to myself, like everything that I know about computers today and technology was because my parents had the foresight to expose me to computers at a very, very early stage. So, and I always say the kids, an African kid exposed to a computer today could become the Zuckerberg, the view Gates of Africa in the next 15 to 20 years.
You never know. So that was what that left inside of me. I know when I came back, I had a skill to actually build websites for businesses. So I started an agency to actually repeat size for small businesses. And I told myself from every profit that I make coming to save 10% to buy, to save up, to buy a computer for that for acquisition of mine. And that was exactly what I did. And I have a lengthy article that shows a picture of me, of him with, with a laptop. So I actually pulled up that money together and bought him a laptop. And I thought, I want to do more of this. I want to help more kids in Africa have access to computers, you know, just so they can become something in future. Now I’m still thinking of how to actually define that and put a structure to that because what I’m seeing is it’s not just enough to give them a computer, you know, and you need to software’s do you need to have access to internet?
All of the other rights sources, the issue of power is just a, it’s an empty box, right? It just kids to play games and we’re not going to achieve anything. So I’m still thinking of how to put structures to that, but that’s, that’s a passion of mine. And that’s why for me, the big dream is to have an innovation center in Africa with like lots of computers and internet and kids can just go in and learn digital skills to empower themselves for, you know, society that we’ll find ourselves today. What I do as my day to day hurry up is to help me achieve that goal. So everything I do is to position myself financially in the network and the people that I connect with in the resources that I’m building into myself, just in every way, everything I’m doing is to achieve that goal. So that’s, that’s how we connect for me.
That’s terrific. And something else that we’re pretty big on here at the podcast is the concept of our careers will be better for us. The more we have an attitude of giving back to some sort of community, whether it’s through volunteering with a local IBA chapter, whether it’s through volunteering with a local youth organization or through your park or through your programs. Um, so yes, very much appreciate that, that big dream of yours. I want to sort of think of your experience with the old computer as a bit of an analogy. So I, I sort of had the thought, as you were talking about that, what are some things we can do when we’re in a role, whether it’s in a consulting role or a corporate role, or we’re in a role and it’s just not working out, it’s a, it’s a place that we don’t want to be in. We’ve been there too long and we’re sort of feeling that it’s not where we want to be anymore. So how would you maybe approach someone who was asking your advice on that?
So you’re, you’re in an organization and, you know, you’ve had enough of being in the organization and you want to move on,
Right. Something about us is not working out. So for example, I had a, a role that I was in for a few years, knew it was not the right role when I took it, but it became more apparent over those few years that it was not the right role for me and we were not a fit for each other. So how would you maybe advise someone who may be in a situation like that?
So first of all, like why, why are you in the role? Maximize it. Because you’re already, you’re already in the role. So whatever puts into, is there a reason what are lessons there are to get from being in that particular organization or role, I would say maximize it. However, do we, do we self say it’s self search into what to stop is to what what’s, what’s the disconnect basically. Uh, what is it about that organization? Was it about the role that doesn’t just work for you? And I give you an example of this as part of itself improvement, self-improvement that we’re talking about earlier. I know that I need to get a little bit more on the technical side, you know, understand, you know, just to be able to understand, to interact with my developers. So I need to understand SQL a little bit more.
I need to deep dive into Excel. I need to get, you know, some analytical tool. So I took a course in quite an expensive course. That was, that was exactly on SQL Excel and Tableau for visualization. And I started start core. So we started XL first. I immediately just found out, yeah, natural formula. It’s like, what am I doing here? It was, I had to really push myself to complete the call. It’s not high up how I am wired. Now I’ve known that. And this is funny because I, I did an engineering degree and involved the law of like maps and calculations. And I worked really hard to get through that. So I’ve kind of known that, meanwhile, when I’m doing design, like dot comes natural for me, I really enjoy like being creative and really creative what this was the proof that that’s really not who I am.
So, so yeah, you know, for me, it just was, okay, this is really who you are, try to play to your strengths right now. I know not to maybe go for a road that is requiring a lot of, you know, numbers and Excel. And that’s a thing I know to play more to my strengths now. So I would say to that person, you know, sit down and really get to understand yourself. So because if I say, Oh yeah, move on to the next thing. You just might make the same mistake and ended up in a place where, you know, you don’t, you don’t like either. So start with, first of all, understanding what you enjoy, what you like, what makes you tick and go out there to look for those kind of organizations uneasiness and easy thing to do also is once you understand who you want to talk about, talk about those things. And that’s why I do with LinkedIn to talk about these things. And you would find those organizations, those sorts of people gravitate towards you. Um, and that really helps as well. So
I love that. I very much agree the concept of sort of that self-reflection and understanding who we really are, is definitely very valuable in those situations. Where do you sort of see Business Analysis going say in the next five years, it seems to me, and I wonder if you would agree they’re getting more into a product path or we’re getting into a data path seems, seems that’s most of the roles these days, but where do you see you see things going?
I want to hear more about what you think. Um, because this is a, this is a question I actually have a whole post on this. Right. Um, really is a question I keep asking and why do I ask? I, I noticed, and maybe it’s because the barrier to entry is low, or I just noticed that a lot of people, everybody now wants to become a business owner, which is fine. That’s absolutely fine. Then when I was training, I kept on asking my, my, my trainers. Like if, if you guys are, you know, getting everyone into businesses, how do we, how are we different? What makes us different? And then they’ll say, yes, you know, your personality, you know, your different background, your skews, all of that stuff.
So, yeah. So I asked this question and a lot of the answers was number one, specialism. I think personally that we’re going to get into a place where it would not just be being it to be a generalist business analyst. There’ll be so much of you that the return on investment would just not be worth it anymore. Like you don’t just be so many generalists out there. The way to really stand out would be specializing. And that’s what I’m dealing with RPA. It’s what I’m doing with moving into products as well. So I’d say once your business is for however many years, you should begin to think of, um, over the years, look how your experiences are, where you’ve worked and start thinking of how to specialize. I spoke to someone and he said to me that he doesn’t want to specialize because if you specialize is he puts him in a box.
Fair enough, fair enough. However, you should own a domain. You shouldn’t own something people should say, yep. That’s the guy for process. That’s the guy for data. Does the guy for it? Doesn’t have to be wanting as well. It could be two, three things, not modern, three BI job. It could be [inaudible] who is good at process mapping. And, you know, and also walks in a lot of data projects if something, but you need to deep dive in a particular area and own that area. And I agree with you that things are moving more to becoming productized as well. Organizations are taking a more data driven approach to the decisions. So yes, you know, having a form of data analysis skills is, um, is going to be, is going to be a big part in, in the future of business analysis.
Yeah, I agree. I would say that specialization is definitely getting more prevalent organizations are wanting to be data driven. And so, if you have those data skills and enjoy them, and that is a, that is where you want to play, then that will be a space you can plan for the next several years and probably even longer. I think you mentioned RPA, process automation is also going to be huge. There are so many, especially as I think we dive into organizations that are long-term traditional type of business models. So there will still be a need for analysts that can work well on, on those older, long standing systems. But, but yeah, big data and RPA and product is the way things seem to be going these days. So as we wrap up, maybe talk about, uh, what’s coming up next for you. Other projects you’ve got going.
So I’m working on, um, quite a few things. So at the moment, um, so I’m working on that, on that particular article to just sort of detail my process to actually how I became a business owner and to help a lot of people out there I’m going to put on LinkedIn. So I’ll make sure, you know, Tracie, but currently what is really exciting for me is currently working with a startup Kara masterclass and the put up money jar there. So I look after the products and what we do there is we help professionals aspirational and ambitious professionals to, you know, we just teach them everything about career growth and how to navigate the career at work basically. And we are building a product to support that, that mission. And that’s really exciting for me. So you would hear me talk a lot about Kara space and developing a career path.
So yeah. What can I just British really exciting for aside from that? Another interesting project that I actually just started is as you know, a lot of people are currently, you know, lost their jobs sometimes even know that the jobs that exist anymore. So I’ve been thinking, how, how can I help? How can I help? How can I help? So I, I am helping people now. So, I started a little project and basically what it is, is I am designing, using my designing skills to help people, help professionals, design, LinkedIn templates. So, you know how LinkedIn gives you the blue empty. So I am offering people who are currently looking for jobs, I’m offering to design a LinkedIn template. And Tracie I’ll probably do one for you as well.
I would love that. I can’t even tell you how much I would love that.
Yeah. You know, just how people out there who are currently in the market and just your way of giving back to that. That’s an exciting project for me. I’m refining it once it launches. Um, I would definitely do one for you. Let me know what you think.
And so folks I know can find you on LinkedIn, but I also want to want to make sure we give a plug to your website. Yep.
Patrickgiwa.com, thus, where to find me and where I live is LinkedIn. Want to have a chat, discuss how to become a business analyst. Um, LinkedIn is the place.
Terrific. Well, so appreciate your time. I know it’s very late for you. So appreciate you staying up late for us, for our listeners. Your call to action today is to do some self-reflection and see what small thing you can do to discover who you are, what your gifts are and how you can use them to find the career that you want. And if you would, please give me a shout out when you do that. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and, uh, Patrick Giwa, Thank you.
Thank you so much. I really, really enjoyed this.
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