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“So, you want to be a Technologist?”

7 March 2017 | Zackie Sweddin | About a 3 minute read
Tags: Business Analyst, microservices, millenials, product analyst, technology


“So, you want to be a Technologist?” was never a question I was ever asked nor did I ever think I would aspire to be one. According to Nielsen, being a millennial means “technology is essentially baked into [my] DNA”. While there is metaphorical truth to this I pride myself in the fact that as well as being an end user of technology I’m also directly involved in creating and augmenting technology on a daily basis. It’s my job and I love it. I sometime ask myself how got to this fortunate position of enjoying what I do for a living. I would like to think that part of answer lays in fortunate events when I was growing up, while the rest is almost certainly the result of the digital economy and innovation.

As part of joining AND Digital we are asked to choose an ANDtitle. An ANDtitle reflects someone’s passion. It’s something unique and special about the individual. When I was asked what my ANDtitle is I almost instantly knew what it was going to be. The following blog is how I became to be, Zackie Sweddin, Product Analyst AND Aspiring Technologist.

It all started when I was kid. I would love taking things apart that had mechanised components or flashing lights such as dynamos and LEDs. In the 1990s my parents bought me a Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3 from a car boot sale. Even then it was clearly dated technology, but it was fun. In the early 2000s my parents bought our first family PC –  I quickly got to grips with the hardware and software aspects including modifications, overclocking and gaming – lots and lots of gaming.

Naturally I went on to study Information Systems Management at Brunel University. “Why not computer science?” I hear you ask. I had the option to change directions in my second year but I felt the business end of technology played into my strong points.

Fast forward to the current day and technology is booming once again, albeit different to the boom of the 1990s. Research by Vox indicates the primary differences are fewer IPOs and more private investment funding the current boom. It’s therefore a safer environment for technology companies to grow. Technology companies are choosing to go IPO once the business and technology has matured, leaving less room for risk. Technology companies that are getting it right and achieving product market fit are experiencing tremendous growth. The reason? Millennials.

Goldman Sachs have us millennials down as ‘digital natives’ consuming online TV, video games and social media at a far higher rate than Generation X and Baby Boomers. We are reluctant buyers and prefer to share instead, from our taxis to our homes. We are propping up the gig economy. At least 90% of all Millennials surveyed said they prefer to shop online.

As a Millennial working in a fast-paced tech environment, I am constantly challenged to think entrepreneurially about how I can solve problem or improve a particular experience for my fellow Millennials. In this instance I’m referring to AND Digital’s client, an international online retailer. As a pure play e-commerce business, they live and breathe technology. The organisation essentially runs on multiple microservices, some public and some private. As a Business Analyst I’m expected to know fundamentally how these services interact with each other and exploit commercial opportunities as well as internal capabilities in order to deliver tangible value back to the client. It requires a lot of thinking outside the box – and by that I mean not being constrained by bureaucracy or current circumstances. Over time I’ve come to realise that if an idea is good enough and is proposed in the right way it will get the attention it deserves.

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This is perhaps why I’ve chosen to work for AND Digital. We’re encouraged to always think big and not limit ourselves to what is achievable in the here and now. This way of thinking certainly plays into my strengths. I’ve always been technology-savvy and curious. It all made sense there and then, I am an Aspiring Technologist. A product of the era I grew up in and my current environment.

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