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New Post 7/27/2009 7:53 AM
User is offline Groentje
2 posts
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From Desktop SUpport ==> BA-like function. How do I ? 

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 7/27/2009 8:04 AM
User is offline Guy Beauchamp
257 posts
5th Level Poster

Re: From Desktop SUpport ==> BA-like function. How do I ? 

Hi Willem,

What a fascinating journey you have been on! I too think there is a standard analytical framework and if you are interested you can read what I think it is here. You will also find on this site access to on-line mentoring and a cv review.

I hope some of it helps and good luck!


New Post 7/27/2009 8:15 AM
User is offline Groentje
2 posts
No Ranking

Re: From Desktop SUpport ==> BA-like function. How do I ? 

Thank you very much for the reply Guy ! I'm heading over to the links you've provided :)

New Post 7/27/2009 8:23 AM
User is offline Michiel Erasmus
14 posts
10th Level Poster

Re: From Desktop SUpport ==> BA-like function. How do I ? 
Modified By Michiel Erasmus  on 7/27/2009 10:34:40 AM)

I was stuck in a very similar situation, and also emigrated from another country to here, then were  proverbially down in the basement with pizza + cola. I wanted only 1 thing: to make program code.  I came to realize that coding isnt my thing.  I wanted to get close to where a business requirement starts.


Somehow, by chance i started using RUP + UML + Use Cases at my work in an environment where it was unknown. My programmer job was resolving incidents. Yours was desktop support. I strated to notice patterns in the work, then read about use cases and modelled those patters as processes. Rudimentary as it was, back then it was a big "thing" to me.  Getting started is very difficult without proper guidance, but heck, what can one do? You have to start SOMEWHERE!


And, exactly that is what landed me my first jr. analyst job! .


My advice;


1. Go back to desktop support.  From your current position go back to desktop support, then be patient and implement BA activities. Its a start.


2. Get a BA coach, someone like Guy Beauchamp (, Alex Papworth ( would help. Explain your situation to him. Ask him exactly what steps to undertake. Its worth mentioning that you can tell him you are sometimes so clueless that you don’t even know what to ask.. .


3. Listen to the interview with GUY BEAUCHAMP on the Business Analyst podcast,, he tells you EXACTLY what you need to do.




World class athletes has coaches who help them, train them, you can benefit from that too!


Get a coach.





New Post 7/27/2009 10:55 PM
User is offline KJ
243 posts
6th Level Poster

Re: From Desktop SUpport ==> BA-like function. How do I ? 


Eertsens welkom!. Ek sal jou aanraai om terug te val op jou graad wat jy 10 jaar gelede verwerf het. Tweedens gebruik jou ervaring in the besigheids wereld maar gebruik jou kennis om situasies te ontleed.
Third, South African graduates have very good standing overseas. Thus, as suggested above, use your degree to your advantage. The problem you have is you picked the easiest entry level job whilst on a working holiday visa and you overstayed your welcome.
I suggest the following whilst the rainy-day money lasts
  1. Move away from techo stuff. Age counts against you. The Desktop Support people are mostly under 30 and IT entry level people (remember that’s how you got the job in the first place). Entry is easy, which means you have lots of competition and your resale value is “zulch”. Hence no replies for job applications; there are too many of you out there. (the old economics of supply and demand)
  2. Differentiate yourself from the rest. What will make people/business seek out Willem for his expertise? Use you business smarts and refocus on business issues. Eg. Focus on specific domains – Trading, Finance, Transport, Logistics, Contract Labour etc.
  3. Food Production/Farming is a domain that you have lots of experience in (farming, food production, investment, economic). It encompasses all the domains listed above. – You’re an OUTLIER Willem. Read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book on Outliers.
  4. For process management and starting a new business – I’d like you to read the “EMYTH –Revisited” by Michael E Gerber. In essence it all about standardising process and replicating process commonly known as Franchising.
  5. Spend some time with Business Process (input, process, output). Read docs on IDEF0 (see for some background, then swing on to BPMN (see  Create a few high-level processes using BIZAGI (see its free!
Let’s say you spent time on a Marino farm, map the end-to-end process from Grower-to-Fashion House.  Once you know the process, ascertain where your skills are needed and whether your abilities satisfy the need. I’d say start your own business satisfying  that need.
When I arrived in OZ, I analysed and wrote systems for a wool-testing company that graded wool from growers (sheep farmers). Their certificates were as good as legal tender. Some of the fashion houses paid a mint for uber-premium grade wool.  
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