Today we meet Dilli Sharma, and it was such an incredible honor to meet him and hear his story. Dilli is currently employed as a Medical Interpreter and does an incredible job identifying his transferable skills and capabilities, as well as articulate his goals and passions for the business analyst role.
Listen in to learn how Dilli:
- Switched directions from software developer to business analyst.
- Creates more momentum by journaling his goals and intentions every day (so do I!).
- Finds significant transferable skills in his role as medical interpreter.
- Practices business analysis techniques outside a traditional BA context to gain confidence.
For those who like to read instead of watch, here’s the full text of the video:
Laura Brandenburg: Hello! I am here today with Dilli Sharma. Hi, Dilli!
Dilli Sharma: Hello! Hi, Laura. Good to be with you here.
Laura Brandenburg: So good to be with you, too. Dilli and I were speaking a little bit before we jumped on our official recording, and he’s in Columbus, Ohio and has bought the book, How to Start a Business Analyst Career. He refers to that a lot and was also a participant in our BA Essentials Master Class.
You were talking a little bit about going down a path of being a software developer, and I know now you’re in a medical interpreter role. So, do you want to just take us back, where you’ve been over the last year or so in your career and what you were looking for when you found Bridging the Gap?
Dilli Sharma: Thank you for that question, Laura. Let me begin with that. I have been a medical interpreter for about three years now. My role as a medical interpreter has something to do with the business analyst role as a liaison where I work with doctors in hospitals, also, but with limited English language patients, who are not able to tell everything to the doctor. So, I am a middle person to convey messages between the patient and the doctor.
I see that it has a lot to do in a business analyst role, too. That’s where communication is central, and we really clarify what we hear, listen really actively, and that’s what I do. Now, although I am still a medical interpreter, video medical interpreter, I also was learning my SQL and becoming a developer and got started with a developer role for about six months or so. Working in that role I realized that I needed a little different kind of a role where I am a better fit.
So I thought about business analysis, and that’s when I started exploring more into. I happened to look around a lot of resources on business analysis, including YouTube where I found one of your videos. That really touched me. I started searching for more materials you had published, including the How to Start a Business Analyst Career book on Kindle version where I actually have it, and I really love that book.
I feel that I have learned a lot from that book and have gained some confidence that I can probably tell anybody that that’s the book to go if you’re looking for a business analyst role. I’m proud that you have written that book, and I am learning a lot. Thank you for this opportunity.
Laura Brandenburg: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. We were talking before, too, about how you had happened to find a video and that just connected with you. It was just really heartwarming the way you shared how that connection happened.
I record these videos all the time and our recorded one here, as well, that will connect with someone else and inspire someone else, too. So, I’m excited to share a bit more of your story. What’s driving you into a business analyst role? What would you like out of that career?
Dilli Sharma: Unknowingly, I had been doing…I realized that I had been doing a business analyst role in some way. I am communicating with people, I am presenting some information to a group of people, I am asking questions, I am listening, and I am either drawing or prototyping or sketching some pictures and then presenting that to the group, whether I am in a translator or healthcare interpreter role.
Now after I really went through your video, what caught my attention was here is a business analyst role that has a lot to do with the one I am doing right now. I feel with some skills developed and confidence, I think I can make myself a better person. Looks like it’s a better career and a more rewarding role, and I’d become more than what I am now.
I help organizations solve the problems. I’ll collaborate with them, listen to them, and then become a person that delivers a better value to organizations. That is driving and motivating me to learn more about business analysis. What I am strong at in my current role that will help me to at least get started with, but at the same time, there are a lot of things I really need to hone: skills and confidence and all of the things.
That master class, BA Essentials Master Class, is where I actually found you in that email periodically. I thought that was a good value and it was really worth it that I put just a little bit of money to see if how it would go. But I just realized that I haven’t found any courses as valuable as yours, to be very true to you. I’ve realized you are the person I need to follow, and I will definitely become successful. I know it will take time, but with practice and perseverance, I feel confident that if I follow successful people, a successful person, like you, I will definitely become successful someday.
That’s my firm belief, and with that faith, I got started with the BA Essentials Master Class. I’m confident I have learned a lot from there. I completed a workbook you provided and also qualified to get 12 credits, which I can apply to my ECBA certification. That’s one thing. What it made me from that point to now is more important.
I think I have become more with your course now. That’s how I feel about the course, and I recommend it to anybody who has great understanding of what this role is, what it does, whether it’s for me or not, and so on. It’s really clear that it can guide anyone, like me, and all of us.
Laura Brandenburg: Well, thank you for that. One of the things I would love to hear more about is you mentioned completing the workbook. The workbook is asking you to complete the 8-step business analysis process. What did you use as your project, as your example?
Dilli Sharma: One of the important things I have actually used, especially, is the process of flow diagrams. One important thing that I learned is although I work as a medical interpreter, there is a process in that work that I perform: what I do in the beginning and then how I handle the call, who is on the other end of my phone or video, and then how I manage the flow of the conversation. Now in that process, I think there is a whole process there.
What I saw was from one point to another point, you move forward, you listen to, you actually communicate, and then you convey that message to someone else, even in my healthcare interpreter role. When I compare that with the business analysis role, I found about the same process. Being a liaison who works in the middle in a project team and helps communicate, I started sketching a workflow diagram first and then connected myself. “These are some of the people I am working with, the roles. This is where it begins here. The next step is here and then it goes to this next stage. What task am I doing particularly? What is the project all about?” I will understand in that process flow and figure out what I can anticipate after that stage.
This is actually…I think we visualize ourselves into that process and digging from one point and then go all the way through every stage of that process to the end. When I drew that sketch, I usually , based on the book that you wrote, I just tried a trial with Visio and found really, really helpful to play with those different shapes, BPMN and UML, pictures and in those different shapes, including a diamond and a circle, small circles to begin and then end that process with. Between there, there are diamond shapes where you make important decisions whether you move forward with that or go back—yes/no kind of things.
That helped me move further into the process and, in some way, developed my analysis. “Here is where I begin, and here is where it might end, but it can also have the other route to go the next stage. That’s how I did it. One practice I did that was actually with the hiring process of any new hires up where it begins initially, and then where the interview text lists. In this entire process, I was able to draw that. I saw myself in my current role, what I do.
Using that work flowcharting process I was able to picture myself. “I am beginning here, and I am moving into that stage. Now here is where I analyze that process. This is the outcome of what I am doing. Here are the people I’m working with.” Ultimately what I delivered at the end…was there any value I delivered? In a nutshell, I was able to draw that and saw myself from one end to the other in that process.
Business analysis process also has the same process to follow. Using that Lucid chart, and you also mentioned Balsamiq where I could also practice wireframing and mock-ups.
I am on sub-commission with those two, and the practice of those things is generally putting a scenario, imagining about it and then drawing those different things in different places. That has increased effectiveness of the analysis process in me, and I think I’m learning that in my everyday life, whether I go shopping or a restaurant. There’s a process, there’s a line, there’s a queue. You start at one point and then you go to the other point. Then however you started visualizing…everywhere in life situations, there’s a process.
Laura Brandenburg: Business analysis is everywhere.
Dilli Sharma: Exactly.
Laura Brandenburg: That’s awesome. You mentioned using all the tools and some of the process flows. Have you been able to use that in your medical interpreter work and gain exposure for a wireframe or a workflow diagram that you created?
Dilli Sharma: Not yet. I have not been able to do that yet. I have contacted a business analyst in my company, and he mostly works remote. He’s in Texas, actually. I have been able to find…both of them work remote. I have not been…I usually email him and then get connected, but I’d told him about, “Here I am looking to see you, trying to work and help you in several ways.
I am learning business analysis now and then I know some of the things, so I could help you either taking notes by your side while you present, or I would be able to help you with some kind of material variables where I would be able to maybe try to create some scenarios, some use cases—how it begins and where the end flows, the basic flow, what happens when there is error, a lot of different routes and situations.
I have been practicing those things, and I have also practiced using the mortgage process application,–how it moves from one estate to the other. If it doesn’t get…if the application doesn’t get, or the approved, it should, again, go back to. But, Laura, I have not been able to present those things to my current work. I have been able to map that process, the flow chart of that process, with my current role only.
Laura Brandenburg: That actually is the perfect place to start. What I love about what you just shared is that you started right where you’re at mapping out your current role, almost as a project, too, because the BA Essentials goes through the 8-step process. So it’s almost like each patient or case you take on is a project that you applied the BA process to.
Dilli Sharma: Right.
Laura Brandenburg: You have, right from the beginning our talk today, internalized so much of what a business analyst does and speak with a lot of confidence about how what you do relates to business analysis. I think that’s just such a great place to start from. When you talked about you growing as a person, that’s what I can reflect back to you. It’s how you’ve seen the connecting the dots, and you’re starting right where you’re at.
Dilli Sharma: Right. Thank you. That’s what I’m doing right now, Laura. There’s a long way to go, but I’m more excited about this role.
Laura Brandenburg: You’ve got to start somewhere, right?
Dilli Sharma: Exactly.
Laura Brandenburg: I think a lot of people feel like the whole world has to change, and then you get dropped into an official role. But really, often it’s just this incremental step; one step at a time. You’re definitely on the right track. What’s next for you?
Dilli Sharma: Some of the things I am doing currently, I think somewhere in your book you had mentioned some of the little tasks and activities you should be doing now so that you associated with somebody, either a business analyst or business analyst similar role.
I started going to BA local chapter meetings here in Columbus, and I happened to find some recruiters and also some other SCRUM Master presenting some presentations. “Here is what we are doing as SCRUM master or business analyst in our company. Here are some openings in our company, specifically for roles like…”
There are HR people, there are recruiters answering questions for people who want to enter into business analyst roles or who have already been doing business analyst roles but still feel that there is something missing or they feel that they are not good enough or something like that. One thing is every month there is one local chapter meeting, and I have started going there.
Another thing is, based on the project, I am just trying to create different projects on my own based on use cases and creating some wireframes. I know they don’t look good in the beginning, but as I keep practicing more and more, I start feeling better. “This should be a better one. I need to go around this and then maybe that will present itself better.”
I practice at home. I usually do those things in my journal. Before I sleep in the evening, I usually write down what I need to accomplish the next day, what should be my important tasks for the next day, which chapter of the Business Analyst book that you wrote has to be internalized, or what are some of the tasks at the end of the book that you have given that you can do. You start feeling like you are a business analyst already.
Keep doing what you are doing, get better every day, do important tasks, gain your confidence. Don’t think that there is a perfect business analyst, but get started with something and get better at it. Now that’s the mindset I have started internalizing. Sometimes I give some kind of self-talk when I go on a walk in the morning. “I am a business analyst.” I am visualizing myself that I am a professional business analyst, and I am good, I am confident. I know doing these things…so kind of visualizing that I am already there. That is what I’m doing, giving some kind of self-talks to myself because I cannot accept that. I mean, really.
Laura Brandenburg: Yes. So we were talking about journals—how I live by my journal, and I write my goals every morning. What am I going to do to move forward towards my goals, and also what am I grateful for? Those are three things I journal about every day. It does. It’s what keeps you moving, keeps you going ahead, so I love that.
Anything else you’d like to share to somebody who might be considering one of our programs?
Dilli Sharma: Definitely, Laura. It’s definitely a very valuable program. Whatever you offer from Bridging the Gap or whatever you publish on that website, I think are all value-based. I just feel personally that anybody who is walking in my shoes now, looking into a business analyst role, finds a really quality program in there and really good instructors who can point out, “Here is where you can get better,” or, “Here is something you can write better,” or, “Here is an area you need to improve on.” I think it’s those little things that compound and make you a business analyst.
You have already mentioned those things in the book, as well as in the website. Now, there is The Business Analyst Blueprint® course that you are offering now. I have already seen a value in that, and I have also seen a lot of testimonials who are speaking on themselves, how they took that course and then they got started in a business analyst career.
They are doing good in their job, in their very first job. Now, that means a lot to me, and I think, to anyone who is in my shoes right now. So I definitely recommend this course to anyone, including the Business Analysis Essentials master class that I took. They are valuable programs. I honestly tell that have you put in a lot of effort, real thoughts into that, and you want people like us to succeed. In that perspective, those courses are programmed. I have been influenced by your program.
So, hopefully to anyone who will start the program…I am confident about the programs that you offer and see great values in that. I don’t know if there are any other courses outside there, but your courses are really for people who are looking for values and success. That’s all I can tell.
Laura Brandenburg: Thank you so much. Thank you so, so much. I’m really excited to see where you go and in your career. I think you’ve got all the pieces in place and are doing all the right things. It’s just a snowball. So, thank you. It’s been an honor to speak with you today.
Dilli Sharma: Thank you. Thank you, Laura, so much. I think I cannot say more, but you are a great educator. When I look back to my own school life, there are certain teachers who have influenced me more than any other teachers, and I believe you are one of them.
Laura Brandenburg: Thank you.
Dilli Sharma: That’s where I see you, and I really salute you for what you are doing. I remember Zig Zigler’s statement: “If you help enough of the people to get what they want in life, then you will get everything you want in your life.” I think it’s very in line with what you are doing. There’s not any other career where you find that fulfillment. I really love this.
Laura Brandenburg: Yeah. It’s a great motto for the BA role. We help others get what they want, so it’s a great philosophy that makes you really a BA. So, welcome, Dilli.
Dilli Sharma: Thank you so much.
Laura Brandenburg: Thank you so much.
Dilli Sharma: Appreciate it.