Random Observation/Comment #253: The advancement of society is a ridiculously complicated and an intriguing topic. Think about the billions of individual minds teaching and learning new things in order to contribute their piece for finding something… or something else… or whatever it is – that is, if there is a goal or meaning to life. In any case, society evolves and advances, not because of individuals, but because of teamwork. Therefore, in order to facilitate teamwork, effective communication is crucial.
Why did I choose to be in a Business Analyst role even though I have a heavy (underused) technical background? It’s simple – I like to expand my comfort zone by putting myself outside of my comfort zone and then getting comfortable. Let’ start from the engineer’s dilemma.
I’ve always had people tell me I’m book-smart, but not street-smart. It really bothered me. They said that I didn’t bring out the “effectiveness of the whole group.” I’ve heard I could do great things, but it doesn’t count if I can’t elevator pitch it or paint the picture to the correct audience. In engineering school, you don’t always learn these things. You may emphasize the gruesome details, yet it seems like you’re just being pushed out there so you can make someone else look better.
If it’s not obvious already, here is the summary: If you don’t know how to represent yourself and your work, someone will do it for you. The delivery and the convincing sales part is 80% of the product. My lack of awareness for this skill was my biggest short-coming, and it was obvious to me that something needed to be done about it. Around 2nd year of Cooper, I tried to become a social engineer. I was competing on the bell curve with some of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever known – do I just put my head down and study my ass off to get the +0.3 to my overall GPA? Or… do I be awesome. I chose awesome.
From then forward, I piled on the interests and hobbies. It didn’t really matter what it was, it just needed to keep me occupied. I chose traveling over money. I chose study sessions over libraries. I chose projects over exams. I started making a path instead of following one. And most importantly, I started listening and observing more than talking and studying.
So why did I choose the business analyst part instead of the programming one? I wanted to listen, observe, brainstorm, analyze, and then reiterate with a whole new perspective. I like the idea of turning objectives and requirements into ideas and concepts. I like following those ideas and concepts and building a product that satisfies the objectives and requirements. I liked learning more about the bigger picture and understanding more about office politics. And most of all, anyone can write a web application that shows a combination of complex database queries – it’s been done a million times – but I would be underusing my opportunity if I didn’t experience the communication issues, teamwork, and full project lifecycle.
There is a difference between contribution and ownership. I understand now that knowing the technical skills without the social ones will only help me go as far as contributing. If I want to own it, I need to know all the perspectives.
~See Lemons as a Business Analyst