What was your educational and professional background before coming to SILS?
I came through SILS' BSIS undergraduate program. Prior to SILS and during my time at SILS, I worked for many years as a page and library assistant for both public and academic libraries.
How has your career progressed since you graduated SILS?
I had intended upon enrolling at SILS to become a librarian - just like my mother and grandmother - but as an undergrad I discovered and fell in love with systems analysis. After submitting my resume at a UNC Job Fair, I was interviewed and offered a position as a Business System Analyst for the Vanguard Group the fall of my senior year. I have enjoyed working as an IT Business Systems Analyst and/or Business Analyst for the past six years with increasingly more responsible and senior roles. I have worked at various companies - The Vanguard Group, MetLife, PointSource, and now as a Consultant Business Analyst with Cardinal Solutions Group.
In your current employment, what are your job duties and responsibilities?
As a Business Analyst Consultant, I work in tandem with project managers, business stakeholders, user experience designers, user interface developers, and full stack developers to deliver IT solutions for business clients in various industries.
I serve as the liaison among all project stakeholders to define client/user needs. I work with project stakeholders to clarify those needs and determine a technology based solution to meet those needs. I am also responsible for communicating solution requirements to all project stakeholders and ensuring that the solution delivered meets those requirements.
What projects have gotten you most excited and/or what accomplishments have made you the proudest?
As Business Systems Analyst with less than two years of experience, I was placed in the position to serve as the lead for a $9.9 million project that overhauled and consolidated many of the company's most client facing websites and backend systems.
This was a large and very visible project that required detailed knowledge of the current system's governing business rules, system logic, and user interface, and I was very inexperienced in the role and nervous about leading the initiative. However, with hard work, determination, and the help of several strong mentors, I was able to support the project and business stakeholders with requirements analysis and successfully deliver the project to customer roll-out.
It was this accomplishment that affirmed for me that not only was business analysis a passion of mine ignited by my SILS studies --it was the right career choice for me.
What were some of your best experiences at SILS?
INLS 582: Systems Analysis and INLS 385: Information Use for Organizational Effectiveness were some the most eye opening classes for me. Until I took those classes, I had never made the connection between how concepts that I learned from other SILS' library science tracked courses held non-library applicability.
These classes gave me the knowledge, exposure, and interest in business analysis and taught me me the vocabulary needed to deepen my research into this role that would become my career. I am so glad that I took them!
What inspires or motivates you?
I have a deep passion for serving others, making sense of ambiguity, learning, and technology. I am so satisfied when I feel I have been able to help make someone's day a little less stressful, more efficient, or more peaceful just by offering help or knowledge. And that is what I enjoyed about SILS so much; at every level, from the curriculum taught, to the faculty teaching it, to the school's values, it seems that those passions were not only invited but nurtured and encouraged.
Is there any other information you would like to share, or any advice you would like to offer current or future SILS students?
Firstly, take every SILS class that is offered both at an undergrad or graduate level that interests you. There is something in every class that will have applicability to your post-school experience. Of every course I took at UNC, I can say only my SILS courses have had such deep "real-world" relevancy. I still reference my old text books occasionally to this day.
Secondly, SILS pairs well with any major. I was a SILS and psychology double major and the parallels between cognitive information processing and information processing were staggering to me. Because of this, I stayed engaged and I have heard similar from students with other majors like biology or business.
Lastly, take Systems Analysis and Information Use for Organizational Effectiveness and consider Business Analysis as a career choice. Business Analysis/Business Systems Analysis is an IT role that is very much in demand these days. It's engaging, dynamic, people oriented, and solution driven. I learn something new everyday!