A Bus-What?

With graduation coming up, I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do for work. I’ve always had an interest in the computer world. I started working with HTML back when MySpace was the hottest thing around. Simply learning to code a page with an overlay and making it look amazing could begin a fire in someone that is kept lit for the rest of life….or at least for me. I’ll admit to even still itching to get my hands on some of that code and messing around and adding pictures and text areas to create a very awesome end result. When I got to college I thought about majoring in something else but Information Systems was calling and I allowed to be taken away by it like a child following the Pied Piper. Granted…nothing bad happens in the end. So, what exactly have I decided to do with my life? I’ve thought long and hard on this question and after three and a half grueling years of mulling over the question, I believe I have finally decided. Business Analyst.

By definition, business analysis is “the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.” Just like my favorite motto, a business analyst helps businesses help themselves. Now this may not sound like IT work but I promise it is. IT business analysts are becoming the hottest thing in the IT world right now. Money Magazine has rated IT business analyst one of the country’s top 12 jobs to pursue. According to Computer World, analysts want variety. This means they want multiple projects to work on rather than working on an exclusive program. It also means that there should be a variety of people that will be the end-users for the programs that are being created. In the end, analysts deliver perspective into what the business needs, wants, and can do.

analysisAccording to the figure, these are the steps of how to start and grow as a business analyst according to The Business Analysis Blog. They say that it is in fact harder than expected to become a good BA and to have that ability to mentor others that are where you are….well now. Shadowing a BA will help clarify any questions while on the job and to inspire your interest. Next, perform in the project you are currently working on. There’s nothing wrong with getting started right away . Next is to be a junior BA in a new project. It’s good to get those projects under your belt. The more projects you do, the more roles you take over and can understand for the next round of projects. Next, be the top business analyst for another project to challenge yourself. Finally, begin to mentor others as you move up to senior business analyst. Give people that spark that your mentor instilled in you.

Bridging the Gap has the five steps for becoming a Business Analyst.

  1. Learn about business analysis and confirm your career choice
  2. Identify your transferable skills and leverage points to develop your positioning
  3. Get tangible feedback by putting out feelers
  4. Approach your work with a BA mindset and strengthen your positioning
  5. Focus your efforts to find your first BA opportunity

Now that you have all the job skills or at least are ready to work on them, how do you get a job as a business analyst? Make sure your resume fits what you are looking for. When giving descriptions of activities completed while at work, mention anything related to BA that you have done. Network and dig deep as well to find those BA jobs that are available at other companies. It’s surprising to see what companies actually need business analysts. More tips can be found here.

Now, this may not be helpful information for your job but it is definitely helpful. It’s helpful to see that everyone needs to do their research on the career they want. It’s also important to see that there are many people in the community with ample information about anything that will lend a hand when needed. Just make sure you research, look in the right places, and decide on your career.

Picture Source: The Business Analysis Blog

What do you want to do for a career? Have you done plenty of research to have an idea where to start and if it’s right for you?

Blankets

I think to be personally involved with the community you don’t just look at them for help but you give to the community as well. You can give in big ways and small. For this article, it is small but it still can help. I made these blankets for my family for Christmas and am so glad I found the article on Custom Scrapbook Maker. It was an inexpensive and personal gift for my family. Joann fabric and craft store has inexpensive and very comfy fabric as well. I got a fantastic deal on their blizzard fleece. So this is me, sharing a great idea to the community. You can make them for people you know personally or make them and send them to an organization that gives clothes and blankets to those people in need!

 

blanketsFor an infant/toddler blanket – use 1 to 1 1/2 yards (for each side)  [I used a yard]
For a child blanket – use 1 3/4 yards (for each side)
For an adult – use 2 yards (for each side)

What you need:

  • The two pieces of fleece should be the same size. Pieces may be the same pattern (which is what I used), two different patterns, two plain colors or a pattern on one side and a plain color on the other.
  • Scissors or rotary cutter (will need cutting board for rotary cutter) Tape measure or ruler
  • A 4″ x 4″ piece and 1″ X 4″ of paper [I cut a piece from a cardboard box]

Instructions

  • Take your two pieces of fleece. Put one piece on top of the other lining up the edges so they are even. (One side will be the front and the other side will be the back )
  • Trim off any selvage around the edges of your fleece. ( Cut as straight as possible, but remember, these blankets are forgiving!) [I used sharp scissors and it is okay if they aren’t completely edged with each other equally. One of the sides can be a little bit longer than the other.]
  • Find your 4″x4″ paper and lay it on the corner of your blanket. Then cut out the corner through both layers. Do this to all four corners.
  • Time to make the fringes. Cut 4 inches into both fleeces at 1″ wide. it is easiest to lay the tape measure or ruler across from the corner of the cut out from one corner to the other. The fringes don’t have to be exactly 1″, but keep them close to that.
  • Proceed to cut 1″ intervals on all four sides.
  • Starting on one side, start tying your knots (using one fringe from each fleece). Tie knots on every other fringe around the entire blanket. [If you pay attention, there is a way to choose which side of the fleece can go onto the top of the knot and then on the bottom. I think it’s cool to make them into a pattern. I only knotted it once for the grown-ups, but the children got double knots]
  • Turn the whole blanket over and tie the remaining fringes into knots until your blanket is finished. [I did all the knots at the same side instead of flipping the blanket over. It made it easier to not skip over any of the knots to be made]

Build a Website

They way I help the business world is through the use of Information Technology/Systems. This is what I will be talking about for the rest of the time with odd articles here and there about other business information.

A big question is, Do businesses need to have an online presence? This can be discussed at more length in Global Market. For now though, we will talk about the website dedicated to the business. Why should you make a website for your company? According to an article in Business Daily, there a company should have a website and if the site is more interactive there will be more visitors and customers.

While I agree with this, there are many different ways to make a presence online for your company. There are definitely businesses that are small enough that they don’t need an online presence. In my perspective, if your business is like this, get a Facebook like page. That way you can post your hours, contact information, new products, and any deals going on. I see this happen a lot for small town businesses that only have one shop and is owned locally. An example of this would be The Treasure Chest which is located in small town Salina, Utah.

For those that are big enough for a website, there are many tools available to make them. To begin with, there are many sites that host websites. My personal favorite is GoDaddy.com. It’s very inexpensive and subscriptions last a year. Once you get an account on GoDaddy, they ask if you want to download wordpress.org or any of the other tools they are linked to that help build your website. If you know internet programming as well, it gives you a boost. Some important languages would be HTML, JavaScript, ASP.NET, PHP, and Cascading Style Sheets. There are also other websites that have done the code already and you can add attributes easily without having to worry about messing something up in the code. Such websites would be Weebly.com or Wix.com.

The following are some tips to use when you are in the designing stage of your website:

  • Don’t have too many pictures to clutter the page(s)
  • Don’t have a lot of Flash items on your page as that will slow the page(s) down
  • Make sure your navigation is understandable, correct, and available
  • Make sure your color palette looks good. Don’t do something too bright, dark, or colors that just don’t go together.
  • Make sure your links and information are correct and up-to-date
  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Use a template if you aren’t confident about your color scheme or design

There many other tips to look at as well. Many of these are from personal experience and other websites like about.com and cyberindian.com.

If you want to sell items online, make sure that you have a decent look for your online store and that your shopping cart and third-party payment system is correctly working and secure. If your website is starting to boom and your traffic is decent, start thinking about investing in advertisers on your website and advertising on others. This brings more traffic and if you do it right, your business can get money for advertising other businesses and websites on your page. Finally, say you are a blogger and you make a webpage. Ask other bloggers to advertise this way as well. It’s a win-win situation.

Have you made a website before? Comment below to give any personal tips. If you haven’t, leave comments with any questions or comments.

Local Community Service

I have spent my years in college getting very acquainted with community service. I’ve found that it’s a passion of mine and no matter where I go or what I’m doing I plan to get involved with something. It’s my own type of saving grace. Sometimes it isn’t easy to find community service groups around the area though. So, here are some local groups that I have worked with or have heard of that are amazing and do great things!

Junior Achievement: This is an organization that is incredible! I first met Bill Heitman back in 2010 when Students in Free Enterprise UNR got involved with the organization. He’s done amazing work with Junior Achievement of Northern Nevada and he is a fantastic guy in general! I love the idea of being able to go into classrooms and speak with children about financial literacy in a way that they understand it and doesn’t bore them. There’s always an activity for them to do each week and it’s a great experience to interact with them. I’ve learned more about financial literacy that I know I’ve forgotten since my days in JA and learned how to interact better with the children. Of course, it’s not just for elementary students but for any grade until Senior (12th) year in high school. Junior Achievement is in all parts of the country and is always looking for volunteers and donors.

  • Address: 1005 Terminal Way Reno, NV.
  • Phone Number: 775-323-8084

Food Bank: The Food Bank has always been the go-to place for community service. They are lucky to have so many people willing to volunteer to help with delivering, storing, and handing out the food they receive and give out. I’ve worked with them in high school and in college with Students in Free Enterprise and Delta Sigma Pi. They always seem to have something going on and definitely take large groups that are looking to get in some hours or looking to give a helping hand.

  • Address: 550 Italy Drive, McCarren, NV.
  • Phone Number: 775-331-3663

SPCA and Nevada Humane Society: They are always up for adoption programs and any volunteer help at location or any of the events they hold. Definitely make sure to check out if they have any events going on in the local area.

  • Address: (SPCA) 4950 Spectrum Way Reno, NV. (NHS) 2825 Longley Ln. Reno, NV.
  • Phone Number: (SPCA) 775-324-7773 (NHS) 775-856-2000

Children’s Cabinet: There are many families that are looking for support in the community. The Children’s Cabinet offers services and resources to help children and their families. They accept donations of food and clothing and support to the organization. Currently, I’m working closely with them through Enactus and they are a fantastic organization to work with.

  • Address: 1090 South Rock Blvd. Reno, NV.
  • Phone Number: 775-856-6200

Enactus: Of course, I’m going to talk about Enactus! If you are interested and are a student at UNR or TMCC, check out the organization Enactus (was Students in Free Enterprise). This is a world-wide organization that is looking to make a change in the world. We help people so they can help themselves later on with the skills and support we give to them. While a business organization, it is so much more and it’s really a lifestyle. I could truly talk about this organization for ever. Enactus stands for Entrepreneurial • Action • Us.

Circle K: This is another big group on campus that can be found on many other campuses. They do some great work and are always looking for more. While I haven’t personally been involved with Circle K, I know many people that have been and come out with some great experiences and have changed from it all. Just like Enactus, they are in to change the world and Circle K is doing that.

While this is not even close to all of the community service organizations in the Reno-Sparks area, it is at least a start. Every single one has had a hand with bettering the community and continues to do so each and every day.

Comment below with any other community service organizations you know of in the Reno-Sparks area.

Why I Do What I Do

As noted, I’m a student at UNR in Information Systems. Why does that qualify me to be able to speak about helping businesses to get a step up to support themselves? Well…here are a few things.

To kick it off, I grew up in Reno for the majority of my life. When I was two, my family moved from one of the tiniest towns in Central Utah to open a local video store. Video Maniacs boomed for years and more stores were opened. Local business became part of my family’s niche. After the video stores, my dad tried his hand in wine selling, back to the video stores, and now owns a local CPA office. I’ve grown up watching him and helping at the stores and office as they grew into profitable and positive assets for the community. Here sparked my interest and positive views for local businesses in the community.

In college, I joined a group formerly known as Students in Free Enterprise (now Enactus), brought to UNR by Jordon Blackford. I learned how to spin community service into a part of business. We helped people be able to help themselves after we finished teaching. It was a reward to see people thrive after helping that makes everything worth it! My love for community service grew into something that was part of my daily life because of this. I’ve been able to help a community that began to suffer from lack of traffic, helped elementary students learn about financial literacy, and raise 5,000 cans of food to be donated to the Children’s Cabinet. Community service has become a new obsession of mine now and “helping people help themselves” has become the mantra of how I want to give back to the community. This is why I decided to focus my career goals as a business analyst.

When I joined the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, I held a position as social chair one semester then was webmaster with Eric Soderberg. We spent the semester changing the website around, growing it, utilizing our social media more heavily, and brought more advertising out. This was my first hands on experience with IT work for a group. It showed that I do believe I have what it takes to be in the IT field and those around me gave the support to further my belief.

Finally, over the summer of 2012, I worked for REI Drilling. I worked in the IT department with Jon Spade to help develop and remodel their newly designed websites. I also helped create PowerPoint presentations for a conference later in the year. My experience of working in the IT field with an actual company began my path of working for businesses. Their support was amazing and it allowed me to learn to ask what they needed for me to do. Next, I worked for Industrial Properties of Nevada over the last semester. Here I actually set the foundation of working with a company and analyzing what they needed to grow and flourish. I began instruction on databasing, social media, and basic computer knowledge. This internship gave me the experience to know what exactly it is like to do what I want to do.

So, from the experience and things I’ve learned inside and outside the classroom, I believe I’m capable of what I’m doing. Businesses everywhere need the stable ground to thrive and flourish so I’m here to help.  While this may seem like more of an expanded version of my about me, it’s not just that. It’s a vow that I will know what I’m doing now and later in life and I have the proof from past experiences to prove it. These experiences have helped me to help myself.

Do you have a part of your life that you are strongly dedicated to? Also, check out the links on the post. The organizations and people are superb! 

A Family At Last

I have always been a family person. My family is very close knit and loves to do things with one another. We’re also a very creative bunch as well. When I turned 17 (four years ago), I was added to another family, bringing in another group of people to add to those I grew up with. No, I did not get married. I found the family that put me up for adoption. After this, family became even more important to me.

PicMonkey Collage

Adoptive family (L), Birth Family (R)

Growing up, I always was one of those people that fantasized about what my birth family was like. I was influenced a lot by what I was watching or what I was daydreaming about for that week or month. For example, I definitely had moments of belief that I was a family member of the Halliwell family from CharmedI had also dreams of going on shows like The Maury Show where they did all the work for me. Later, I found out that the same ideas had gone through the mind of my older brother.

If you look around, there are many ways of finding information about the family that put a child up for adoption. There are shows like The Moury Show, Oprah, The Tyra Banks Show, THE Locator etc. If the family went through an adoption agency and they decided to allow to be found later on, the agency will keep the file for reference later. Lately, a large burst of innovation has cropped up. People have been using social media, like Facebook, posting pictures with the information that they know about their birth parents. One example would be Jenessa Simons who found her birth mother shortly after placing the photo as her profile picture and sharing it out. After the discover, she changed her profile to help others that were put up for adoption to find their families as well or even help those that placed their child up for adoption. There are also like pages on Facebook such as Help Me Find My Birth Parents. On this note, please be careful what you post as it can lead to identity thieves using this information or people scamming on a moment that you’ve probably been waiting for since the day you were told you were adopted.

Whether it be online, through a television show, or an agency, the community can always be a source of finding what you are looking for. In my case and in many others, it is the search of the family that I’ve been waiting for to meet for years. [Don’t get me wrong, I love my family that I’ve grown up with than no other.] Don’t be afraid to ask for help with the things you want. There’s always someone that’s a part of the community that can be a source of help. This is the biggest way that the community has helped me.

How have you found the community helpful when in search of something? Looking for your family now as well? Comment below.

A Heart in Business

For those that have read my blog before today, you can probably deduct that I am once again changing around my blog as I have done multiple times since I began blogging. For those that are just starting to read now, welcome! Hopefully this shall be the last and final time that I completely change around my blog as I have finally be driven in the right direction of what exactly I want to do with this blog.

My love for community service has grown and evolved over the years. Now, it includes community service in the business world and in my personal life. Most people view community service as helping in soup kitchens, cleaning up trash, etc. but I view it in a different light. Through my experience I have learned that community service is also about helping businesses be self-sufficient and help the local economy. Community service is also about being a part of the local community. I have meshed these two together to create my brand that I believe embodies what my message about my beliefs is.

Now you may be asking, What exactly is her purpose for this blog now? This blog is a mix of personal posts to add to the local melting pot and professional posts that can potentially help businesses that are local or attempting growth or are looking to be self-sustaining with help in the IT department. The blog shall be laid out in different categories such as professional posts or personal posts. You may click on the category you want to view on the left hand side. There will also be times when I post a set of professional series on a certain topic that seems to be of interest to my readers.