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New Post 7/27/2009 7:51 AM
User is offline Groentje
2 posts
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From Desktop Support to BA-like functions 

Hi there all,

 I've read other posters' messages here, most seem to come from an role which would or could eventually lead to a BA/Project Anaylsy/Project Coordinator-like role.

 I am 37 years old, I am currently not working as my last contract has expired some months ago abd I am not working at the moment. I have some money (saved for my rainy day  fund)  but not enough for a full-time tutor-led course. My preference is learning on the job, and being mentored.

 I am ITIL Foundation V3 certified. I have degree in Business Management (earned 14 years ago). Between leaving Uni and starting in I.T. I worked on our family farm as rancher/farm hand. I grew up in a very religious (Christian) conservative and closed society without much contact with outside world, and no internet in country of origin, South Africa.


I started my IT career at the age of 30 in the U.K.on a Working Holiday Visa (Special visa for Aussies, Kiwi's and South Africans) as Helpdesk Analyst. I managed to Progress to Desktop Support.Over the last 5 years I've worked as Desktop Support Analyst  where I am currently stuck. My previous experience are all working for multinationals, primarily financials(JP  Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of N.Y Mellon, Morgan Stanley, BP British Petroleum, London Clearing House). one of the reason for working in financials was my personal interest in learning about trading and how a business operates. I have gained a very good understanding of financial markets, financial instruments, trading, economics. I'm a student and supporter Austrian Economics. I read extensively, especially with regards to economics and the social order.   Think I know much more about economics, trading and financial instruments than desktop support. What I have learned from being a DA was to be very analytical, methodical and where to find answers.

 My initial interest was to try to progress from Desktop Support ==> Unix support as, since my years as a teen, was the nuts and bolts of inner workings of PCs. I had no interest in programming but rather building powerfull PC gaming rigs. I came to realise that, even as Unix support, I would still be doing the same thing as desktop support, whci is to be very technical and also provide support for current designs.

 I became interested in workflow/process design and analys, with a few on cost savings. I am sure there must be a standard framework or method that can be applied in just about any project. PRINCE2 ?

I am interested in learning the framework that can be applied on any project, from building stables on Dad's farm to planning a desktop PC replacement project. Example: An entrepreneur wants to expand his Hotel,to build another x-amount of rooms. I'm interested in learning how to carry out a feasibility study, demand for services, personnel requirements, profit & loss estimates, dealing with contractors, negotiations, design of the systems, continuing service improvement, etc. I'm talking here from the vew of a small family-owned business. I know what I want to do. I just need to get a foot in the door so that I can learn in a commercial environment.

 Based on what I've learrned (by self-study) from the PRINCE2 method). Through selfstudy, listening to BA podcasts on iTunes, In my previous two contracts I even tried to apply techniques from the podcast. I am also reading blogs & forums I am aware of UML, requirements and some basics. As a desktop Support analyst I never even came close to any of that what I wish to learn. I've spoken to someone who has advised me to try to implement BA-like functions into my role as DA(Desktop Analyst) in  my activities as DA. My manager at previous contract confirmed to me that an DA’s only function is to do ‘incident management (pick up and close/resolve faults). And that is basically the primary way to measure a DA’s performance.

 I’ve been applying for loads of BA-like functions lke BA itself, Project analyst/coordinator, ITIL Config analyst, etc. I  have had zero success. Not even a phone call. Part of the problem is that my CV is written for a Desktop Analyst. And I would need some help to rewrite my CV to attract attention to the roles I have in mind.

 Any help with regards to rewriting my CV/online mentoring would be appreciated.

 Thank you,

Willem Erasmus


New Post 7/29/2009 6:51 AM
User is offline Michiel Erasmus
14 posts
10th Level Poster

Re: From Desktop Support to BA-like functions 

Ha, waar kom al die suid-afrikaners vandaan?

Eintlik probeer ek my broer te help.. hy's in Londen en ek in Den Haag, nederland. maar nouja laat ons nou maar internasionaal praat.

People who really want to get somewhere and persist do reach their goal.  Doing something is better than nothing. Somewhere have differnt meanings to different people, the one would want a car, the other could have been to emigrate to another part of the world where you can better prolific your chances. Doing something can mean to start posting here on this website.

I too worked as manual labourer.

First priority. Get a desktop support job to pay the bills. You have great LinkedIn references from previous contracts. Desktop Support can be a curse and blessing. Its a curse if you work on auto-pilot resolving queries/calls/installing printers etc. A blessing is that you have income and notice patterns, procedures about things which happens regularly daily/weekly. That’s exactly the advice Guy Beauchamp gave in the podcast interview, by incorporating BA stuff into your daily work you have *some* experience.  How did you get from being a manual labourer to "cushy” office job right in there in the financial markets? Not by sitting on your ass complaining.
Even I needs loadsa luck. In this country, the higher/manager/Bus.Analyst jobs are reserved for native speakers. Ex-pats or foreigners are relegated to operational level (hard core nerd programming jobs, office cleaners etc.) with no customer-facing contact.  Many exp-pats here would affirm my opinion. I couldn’t find a BA job bcs of aforementioned reasons which left only 2 choices: 1. Starve of hunger, or 2. do shit sysadmin job. Reluctantly i accepted (2) while remaining solidly focused on being a BA.

Here's my recent experience;
When i started on that sysadmin job, the first thing on day 1 which i did was start asking about processes, responsibilities, stakeholders, functionality etc. basically i was practising my BA skills.  I downloaded Visual Paradigm for UML and modelled the environment, my activities, actors etc. My colleagues werent impressed.. my team lead was kinda pissed off because they hired me for doing sysadmin. He said: "if i want to be BA then make a choice, either this or BA". You the reader of this post knows know, that BA jobs are for native speakers.
My lucky break came when went to fetch coffee overhearing two managers agreeing to hire a Bus.Analyst for a short period.  I nearly dropped my coffee volunteering myself as candidate. Without even blinking, or asking a CV they gave me the job!  From hearing the conversation to getting the job all happened within <=20 seconds!!  A week later i was relieved of sysadmin duties to be fulltime BA. Unfortunately my contract is terminating in 2 weeks.  Finding a BA job is once again gonna be a challenge. I compete against more experienced native speakers in a contracted market.  Going back to software C#/ASP.NET software development isn’t my idea of progression. Recruiters don’t take me serious on that anyways.
What have i done/learnt in the past 6 months?  Take advantage of *every* opportunity, no matter how small the chances are. If no opportunities exist then go create them for yourself!!

What i did the past 6 months;

* Be pro-active, eager, present yourself as a capable leader.
* Assumed project manager responsibilities (budgeting, setup meetings, planning, work breakdown structure)
* Did the BA job of scoping, requirements analysis, modelling UML, write use cases
* Assumed role of "internet router" connecting projects, people and activities to each other

My methodology recently was to look at BA job ads identifying skills in there which i lack. I would then IMMEMDIATLEY practice that skill on my current job adding it to my own skills portfolio.

Vat hom flaffie!!

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