Kalyani Satpathy has been immersed in the tech space for more than a decade. From receiving her bachelor’s in computer science from SRM University (Chennai, India) to developer and software roles focused on Salesforce at various companies, Kalyani is well-versed in all things technical.
A move to the U.S. in 2019 with her husband allowed Kalyani to continue her Salesforce systems analyst work—this time at Capgemini in New York. A year later, she moved to the Bay Area and started the same type of work, only this time at Slalom.
During this time, she began to yearn for more in order to advance in her career. While she worked on many client projects in her role, Kalyani desired a broader perspective of the business at large.
“Being on the technical side of things,” Kalyani explains, “I wanted to build on that knowledge and educate myself further. I knew if I wanted to grow in my company, I needed to expand my skills.”
Kalyani was interested in quite a few business-related opportunities within her company. It wasn’t a question of if she could do it, it was of when. Her only roadblock was the lack of a business-centered education.
So she took the next step to make it happen—registering for our Business Analysis Certificate Program. Just one year later, she has new clients, new projects and a new type of workload.
What were you looking to achieve in this certificate?
When I came to the Bay Area for work, I was more often interacting face-to-face with stakeholders. I wanted to be more confident in these business meetings. It was important to me that I knew what I was talking about and never misspoke. I take pride in my work and want to use the correct terminology, present well and speak properly.
I knew the first step would be educating myself. I had a feeling that learning from UC Berkeley Extension would help me gain the skills needed in the workplace.
Which courses were your favorite?
I took a total of five courses, all in the online format:
- Business Analysis Fundamentals
- Business Analysis Planning and Methods
- Requirements Identification and Management
- Business Solution Development and Delivery
- Business Solution Evaluation and Validation
I enjoyed all of the courses but especially Business Analysis Fundamentals. It was difficult because it was my first class, but after some time I got the hang of it and was able to grasp all of the content.
It was an interesting experience going from only understanding technology to learning the ins and outs of business.
What was your experience learning in the online format?
It allowed me to have a unique learning experience that worked perfectly for me. I was a lot more independent. This worked out great for my personal situation as I was working a full-time job. I didn’t have much free time to attend classes in person, so I appreciated the ability to self-study and learn on my own.
The instructors were always readily available if I had any questions. I appreciated receiving a lot of feedback from them and hearing their thoughts on my work.
How did these courses fit in with your professional goals?
Taking these courses gave a good impression on my current and previous companies. It showed my commitment to the work that I do and that I am continuing to better myself. I was even given a shout-out on a work call that I had completed this certificate! They recognized my hard work and good grades.
Overall, this was a big accomplishment. It is now known at my work that I am knowledgeable about both the technical and business side of the company. I have a lot more opportunities to work on different projects. Completing the certificate was worth it!
Why do you think other students should take these courses?
These courses give you an experience further than just the assignments and readings.
They give you the opportunity to understand real-world business techniques from experienced instructors while learning how to work and present to clients. You learn new perspectives of business while gaining confidence in managing stakeholders. You can take into your job all the projects you work on, regardless of where you work.
"If you want to change your role, switch careers or even just further your education in business, this program is the perfect option. No education is ever wasted!"
Outside of classwork, what are your favorite things to do?
I am more of a homebody, so during the pandemic it has been nice to relax at home and explore new things. I love cooking and trying new recipes. I have been learning to make non-Indian dishes such as Italian food, burgers and pizzas.
I also love to read. I have enjoyed reading up on various topics such as business, of course!
How have you taken what you’ve learned in the certificate to your systems analyst position at Slalom?
Before participating in the Business Analysis certificate, I was working solely on the technical side of the company, focusing on its Salesforce system. I built out sites, coded and did programming. After obtaining new business skills, my role has changed significantly.
I continue to work on technical projects but centered on business-related tasks. I now work on the administrative side of Salesforce while conducting workshops and prototyping. I have taken so many different areas of the certificate into my job. But the most important thing I learned was understanding and learning about the stakeholders. Of course, I regularly use the Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed (RACI) matrix when managing a project.
I am now able to see the big picture of a project. I help clients from beginning to end, which helps me do my job better. Not to mention that after completing the business courses, I now have four new clients! With my increased capacity, I have so many new work opportunities.
What advice do you have for future Business Analysis students?
Initially it feels like you may not be able to do it, but down the line the program will get easier. The more you learn, the more confidence you will have. You will learn to love studying new skills that are beneficial in the workplace.
I would also advise students to interact as much as you need with your instructors. Do not hesitate to ask questions and receive feedback. You will learn so many new things that you never thought about before!
What does earning this certificate mean for you personally and professionally?
Personally, it feels great. As an older student, many people my age have finished their education. But there is no "wrong" age to continue learning more. Professionally, my colleagues are very impressed. Initially, I was nervous about asking for new tasks and positions, but I knew I was ready to take them on.
Participating in this certificate has made not only me happy, but others as well. My family is very proud and it is clear my company is, too. I was able to complete it all on my own without anyone’s help, so it made it all very rewarding.