Back to School

It’s been a long time since I’ve been a full time student, but it looks like I’m going to be again.  I haven’t had much luck in finding a new job since getting laid off at the end of January, one of the hazards of working at a company that used a programming language that isn’t used by anyone else in the area I guess.

In my searches for a new career, I noticed that there seems to be a high demand for Business Intelligence Analysts.  While this may initially sound like an oxymoron, I decided to look into it a little more.  It seems to be a fancy new term for a Database Analyst. You do some work in maintaining databases and some work in extracting information from the databases and doing reporting on the information.  I’m sure there is a little more to it than that, but that’s the short version.

I found out that SAIT offers a Fast Track program called “Business Intelligence: Data Analysis & Reporting” which starts on May 9th.  Normally you are supposed to apply for it 6 to 8 weeks ahead of time, I started the process with about 4 weeks before the beginning.  I fired off an email to make sure there was still room in the program, got an answer back the next day saying there was, emailed in a resume and called to make an appointment with the Program Coordinator.  I got an appointment for early the following week and fired off a letter of intent explaining my background and how I thought the program would help me with my career goals.  I then arranged for my educational transcripts to get sent to SAIT, which can all be done on-line now, which was handy.

The interview went well and I was accepted into the program, so then it was time for the next step, which was sending in some initial information to the SIP (Skills Investment Program) department at SAIT to arrange so I could get EI Benefits while taking the courses, otherwise it would be extremely difficult financially to do the program.  That was on Wednesday April 13th.  I also found and spent about half a day filling out a couple more forms that would be needed once the SIP Dept responded to my initial application.

On the Friday the 15th I got a letter saying that the fees for the program ($9500) were due on April 9th (!), so I called the Registars Dept and explained my situation and got that extended to April 25th.  I got answer back from the SIP dept on Tues April 19th, fired off the “Skills Investment Career Research Package” and “Job Search Record” documents that I had prepared earlier, along with a copy of my resume.  A couple more emails back and forth that day and looks like I will be able to get my EI benefits while taking the program as well as getting a substantial portion of the tuition covered as well. 

I’ve got a meeting with the SIP Coordinator for 10:00 tomorrow morning, presumably to do the final paperwork and get the actual numbers, then hopefully I can finish up the registration process and be ready to dive into the course.

I will also still be finishing up my .NET Development Certificate of Achievement, the fourth course finishes up next week and the last course, “.NET Development with ASP,NET” runs from May 03 to Jun 21.  The Buisness Intelligence course runs Monday – Friday from 8:30 to 4:30 from May 9 to August 26, the .NET course is Tues and Thurs from 6:00 to 8:50, which will make for some long days in May and June, but I discussed it with the Program Coordinator and she also felt that it was best to finish the .NET program now rather than waiting to take the last course.  Some of the material will overlap and with my background the first few weeks of the Buisness Intelligence program shouldn’t have too much of an extra workload so I should be okay.

It will be interesting to see how it goes and I’ll try and post some updates, assuming I have any sort of free time for blogging 🙂

One Comment

  1. Sorry my reply seems odd considering you did this program over four years ago. But I am considering applying for this program. I would very much like to hook a career in data analysis and business intelligence. I have a Master’s degree (in an unrelated subject), but experience as a Business Analyst.

    Would you recommend the program? Does it provide you a leg up for finding a job? Is the job market restricted to the Calgary area or southern Alberta?

    Any feedback, pointers, or words of advice you can give me would be much appreciated.

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