Edwin Yong was unsure about returning to school but found his work experience to be a significant advantage in the classroom.
Photo by Greg Ehlers.
For Edwin Yong, the path to becoming a business analyst wasn’t always clear. “I started in a retail environment,” he explains, “and I actually went to film school in my early twenties.” It wasn’t until he began working for BC Safety Authority (BCSA) that his future came into focus.
His work with BCSA—a self-funded organization that oversees the installation and operation of technical systems and equipment—began behind the front desk, and over time, evolved into that of a gas fitting exam invigilator. Most recently, he was promoted to client care supervisor. Each step of the way, Edwin learned more about the organization’s work: “I became an expert in my field and I understood the process from start to finish.”
His expertise was soon recognized. “People kept pulling me into meetings because I was the subject-matter expert,” Edwin recalls. “We had business analysts within our organization who were enlisting my help... when I noticed what they were doing, I thought, ‘I have all this knowledge. I could do that.’”
To achieve his new goal, he knew he needed to return to school. After researching several different programs, he chose SFU Continuing Studies’ Business Analysis Certificate.
Once again, his path wasn’t always clear. “I have the experience, but to be honest I just wasn’t sure if I was smart enough,” he says. “I’m 35 and my schooling wasn’t very vast when I was growing up; therefore, I was lacking that confidence.”
But Edwin soon discovered that his capacity to learn far exceeded what he had originally thought. “I felt like I could utilize all my work experience and understand what my teachers were teaching more because I could actually apply it.”
“I felt like I could utilize all my work experience and understand what my teachers were teaching more because I could actually apply it.”
Photo by Greg Ehlers.
For example, Edwin often used the concepts and themes learned in his Business Analysis: Team Dynamics and Leadership class at work. “That was really important to me because being a supervisor, I need to understand where people are coming from and what motivates them,” he says. “You will always have these light bulb moments because you are applying everything you’re learning. I found it much easier to understand concepts and relate them to my work.”
Edwin now feels well prepared to join BCSA’s business analysis team. “It was good to think about my next step and where I can move to within my organization,” he says. “You have to do things like this to set yourself up for success.”
More about Edwin
Do you have a favourite thing you like to do in your spare time?
Hanging out with friends, socializing, dinners.
Favourite place you’ve travelled to?
Japan. The culture is so different and the people are so nice, I really enjoy it there.
Interesting fact that someone may not know about you?
I’m a good dancer. I don’t say that out loud often, but I’m a good dancer.
Do you have a favourite movie or TV show?
Stranger Things and anything X-Men or Marvel.
Do you have a role model or someone you look up to in your field?
One of my best friends, Jen. She’s a project manager and comes from a similar retail background as me. I asked her a lot of questions when I was going through the program and she’s really successful right now. I look up to all my friends and I’m very appreciative of them. You have to surround yourself with people who can pull you up.