Questions and Answers;

1. Can you give us some background about yourself and your qualifications, and what led you to the career path you’re on now?

My background is not typical for someone working in a tech company. After working for my family business, I returned to college at 23 to study political science/economics. My final year dissertation focused on how IT improvements help the Irish Public Sector to modernise and become more efficient.

This research project led me to pursue a conversion MSc in Information Systems which thankfully allowed me to secure a grad role at Version 1. Later I learned that Version 1 is heavily involved in a lot of these Public Sector modernisation efforts which I had previously studied. My first role in Version 1 was in QA. Currently, I am working as a Technical Business Analyst (BA).

2. What does your working week look like at a glance?

My working week can vary, but it typically consists of meetings with stakeholders. Once details are ironed out with all the various stakeholders, I usually work solo on documenting any requirements or issues. I usually work 9 – 5.30 pm, but sometimes during the testing stage of an SDLC, late nights or weekends are involved. This is completely voluntary, but I like doing extra hours as you get time in-lieu meaning you take a day off in the future. The lack of commute during this work from home period has made overtime a more pleasant experience as you would typically have spent those extra hours commuting anyway!

3. What rituals/recurring tasks does your role typically entail every day?

Every morning we have a check-in where we discuss our plans for the day, and whether we have any blockers.

Other daily tasks would include meeting with stakeholders to discuss requirements or amendments, creating or editing requirements documentation, as well as resolving issues that may arise between business needs and technical implementation. An example of an issue that requires resolution would be if the business had a request which would require a large build effort, the build partners may ask the business to review their requirements to see if it could be modified so that it would be more efficient.

4. What is your proudest accomplishment in your role?

My proudest accomplishment is probably when I reconfigured certain processes that were vital to the success of the programme I was working on, without which, a lot of the downstream process improvements would not have been possible.

5. What advice would you give to someone looking to enter your industry / get a job on your team? Are there any qualities you need to have?

I think that one of the greatest things about Version 1 is that they do not discount you from being a good candidate for a job here if you are not very technical. When I joined, I had high level IS knowledge and I knew some SQL but would not have classified myself as a technical person.

Version 1 employees have in my experience really varied backgrounds. Of course, some people are super technical, and others may not have been as technical when they joined, but later upskilled. Version 1 really supports employees to do this. Many people work in non-technical positions but are still within the tech sector.

For a BA role, I think you need to be inquisitive and be someone who asks “Why”, “How” etc. over and over again until you have a very clear understanding of whatever you are working on. In my opinion, BA’s are more generalists than specialists, but obviously, sometimes they need to be specialists at certain tasks/processes too. Being friendly and approachable is also super helpful.6. What are your favourite AND your least favourite parts of your job?

My favourite part of the job is probably the fun you have when you are part of a team working towards a common goal. BA’s tend to be in the centre of it all, as they are a core part of the team.

My least favourite part is attending calls and meetings where your presence wasn’t really required. However, you never really know until afterwards as sometimes calls that don’t seem to be relevant to your task/role, offer you some important piece of information that you may have missed if you did not attend.

7. How does your typical workday differ now compared to pre-COVID? Has the structure/expectations of the role changed?

I joined Version 1 during the pandemic, so it is difficult to say. However, I know that remote BA work was unusual before COVID as BA’s have a lot of interaction with a lot of different people, and office life probably made this easier to facilitate. However, as the tech sector moves towards a more hybrid office/ WFH balance, BA’s too will be a part of this changing environment, but I could see many BA’s choosing to lean more towards going back to the office.

8. If you had 3 hours where you weren’t obliged to do anything at all, what would you do?

It depends on what my interests are at the time and whether it is during work hours or leisure time. During work, I would probably spend it organising my emails as you get A LOT of emails when working as a BA as you have your finger in many pies.

During my downtime, if you asked me a year ago, I probably would have watched Netflix/games/catch up on news, but now I would probably spend it watching some coding tutorials, or coding.

9. What’s next for your career? Is there typically a defined progression path for your role?

Business Analysts typically go from BA to senior BA and then to project manager/product owner. However, I am looking to go down a more technical route, so I have been learning JavaScript/React since the first lockdown. Hopefully, my next move will be to a development role.

10. Describe your job in 5 words or less.

Investigation and problem solving.