Business Analysis Career Coach and Founder of the Business Analysis School
On this episode of FiatVault, Eno Eka shares tips to help new immigrants build successful careers through in demand skills. Eno is a global business analyst, career coach, mentor, speaker, and founder of the Business Analysis School.
She’s also the Director of Education for IIBA Calgary chapter, and a course instructor at the University of Manitoba. Eno has been featured on Forbes 30 under 30. She has helped her students increase their income by over $3 million within just three years.
Being an immigrant herself having moved from her home country of Nigeria to Canada and built a successful career, Eno Eka shares career tips from her professional journey and her work as a Business Analysis coach.
Listen to the full episode below or read on:
What are In-Demand Skills?
Eno Eka: How I tend to know what’s an in demand skill is by really understanding what the market is saying.
At the beginning of every year, there are usually publications from researchers about what the in-demand skills for the year are. Their data is based on the feedback they get from employers – hiring managers, directors, vice presidents, recruiters and people in certain industries.
So companies like LinkedIn, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur magazine always provide this at the beginning of every year. But even if you don’t have access to any of these platforms, you can actually find this out yourself by checking the websites of the companies you’d like to work with. And if you have some roles that you’re interested in, you can actually look at the job descriptions and you would see the skills that hiring managers are looking for. These skills could be soft skills or hard skills.
By knowing what skills are in demand, you can assess your skills to know where you lack and come up with a plan to learn. This will prepare you to apply for high-paying, in demand roles.
There never a time that looking at what the market is saying would put you in the wrong spot because you’re ahead of the curve.
Will In-Demand Skills be Relevant in the Future?
Eno Eka: The good thing about looking at all the statistics I mentioned earlier is that they also tell you how far out these skills will be relevant.
When you’re looking at your career, you should always think long-term.
When I was making my transition into tech, I was able to see that the technology space was going to boom. I knew that a lot of companies were going to move into digital transformation, learning how to adapt technologies like data analysis, AI, machine learning, agile and scrum into their businesses to help them meet their business outcomes faster and give value to their customers.
So I could tell that this was something that was going to be adopted for a long time.
And that’s why when I teach people, I tell them to leverage their existing skills and experience. A lot of times people make this mistake of believing that when changing careers, they have to learn from the scratch.
That’s not true.
There are soft skills and hard skills so a lot of times, you already have the soft skills. These skills will still help you to be successful in your role.
You’re not starting from scratch. You’re taking what you’re learning. You’re adding it to what you already have, and you’re positioning yourself right.
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How to Transition into an In-Demand Career
Eno Eka: in this part of the world, a lot of companies pay attention to soft skills like time management and adaptability. That’s why you see somebody that studied animal sciences working in a tech company as a senior program manager, because it’s not just about what you studied but your soft skills.
You also need to learn some hard skills like financial analysis, data analysis, Excel, business analysis. You can start learning by self-study like reading books, listening to podcasts, joining webinars, watching courses onYouTube, reading articles on LinkedIn and blogs.
You want to make sure that you’re learning from people who are recognized as thought leaders in their field. Another way is by taking a course from a recognized institution or learning provider. Or getting coaching from a career coach, someone who has walked the same path as you and has helped other people do the same.
You can also choose to go back to school to learn those skills, say by taking a certificate, masters or diploma program.
So there are several ways that you can go about learning in-demand skills to land a great job as a new immigrant but my belief is that when you’re trying to make that transition and up-skill, you can actually do it in a faster and cheaper way by learning directly from someone who has the experience and who can coach you.
Lastly, don’t do anything or latch onto any new career or skill simply because it’s a trend, you know. For example, software development is a fantastic skillset to have, however, not everybody is going to code or write programs. Find your own space.
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How to position yourself to land a high paying job
Eno Eka: There are so many people that take all these courses and certifications but still struggle to earn their worth. They don’t know how to position themselves for these roles, and that’s why I’m a strong proponent of learning from someone who has gone through the same path as you.
It’s important to learn from someone who understands how to make a transition in your career and position yourself well especially as a new immigrant. Someone who can guide you and tell you your current market worth based on your years of experience, skills, and education.
Mindset and Career Growth
When you move into a new country, you need the right people to help you and guide you. It’s very easy for you to deviate from everything you’ve known and the goals you’ve set for yourself simply because you got advice from the wrong person.
When I moved here, there were people who told me it wasn’t possible for me to build my business analysis career in Canada. They said I had to start by taking up menial jobs like being a store attendant, etc. But I didn’t listen.
The first company I worked at, somebody told me that they don’t employ black people and that she’d done their assessments and applied many times but didn’t get the job. Yet, I got that job.
Network with People
Align yourself with the people who have done the same thing that you want to do and learn from them. Reach out to them and try to build a relationship with them. Ask them for say 5 or 10 minutes of their time and ask them questions. Ask them what they did to get to where they are.
Use LinkedIn Smartly
I went on LinkedIn and looked for people who were in the roles that I wanted to be. I especially looked out for people who were immigrants like me and people who had done career transitions like me. I remember one of the people I spoke to, he used to be a doctor and he was now working as a business analyst. That was exciting for me because I came from an accountant background.
So I checked people’s profiles, reached out to them and noted what kind of courses and certifications they took. And within no time, I was able to land a great job even as a newcomer. And in six months, I was able to grow my income to six figures as a new immigrant in Canada. So these are things that a lot of people struggle with and it takes them years to figure out because they went back to the beginning to start from scratch and they started having to build themselves up again.
Well, the truth is you’re not starting from scratch. You’re starting from experience. So start from your experience where you are right now. How can what I have right now take me to where I want to be. It’s so important for you to surround yourself with the right people.