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How Do You Make Your Career Truly International?

Good question, seeing as there's a general perception that Nigerians based in Nigeria are largely incompetent and can't cut it in the developed world.

My thinking is, outside the people in the medical and scientific fields, there is a genuine opportunity for business professionals to internationalize their careers. Nowadays it is either giant corporations (Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, Ericsson) or behemoth professional bodies (GSM Association, CIMA, ACCA, IIBA, PMI, etc) who are standardizing the corporate industry. Now certifications like Six Sigma, SOX, CFA, PMP appear to be far more valuable than a couple of masters degrees. Now you can easily get international jobs, plus even increase your local worth, if you can somehow prove certification and/or experience with any of the systems and processes midwifed by those organizations. So many people are even doing it. In Nigeria Ericsson is busting a lot of engineers out of the carriers and converting them to 'hired guns', contractors who work anywhere in the world, from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, for mouth watering fees (sometimes up to a thousand Euros a day).

My recommendation? To make your career truly international, it's a lot easier if you fall into any of these fields: finance, IT, engineering technology & applications (though this is debatable), operations and project management, business analysis and management. For these fields, irrespective of the nature of the organization where you work, you can still do something about moving your career ahead. So go for it, find a way to internationalize yourself by getting certified by a global body, and start to find out how to sell yourself in your field. It's the era of the mobile worker who may spend 8 weeks in Afghanistan and 12 in lagos, and get paid in those 8 weeks what some people get paid in 3 years, even in developed countries!

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House, Im an Accounting student in my final year, ive been in Love in IT for a very long time, i initially wanted to study IT related course but i had No orientation i was supposed to be in science class then. I dont want to practice as an Accountant cos the passion is not there so intend changing my career path to IT, Hope its not too late. I came across the BCS british computer society, one of their programmes ManagementInformationSystems/Business Analyst soothe me, do you suggest i go for it and what is the Job prospects for that course here in Nigeria? Or wat other professional exam do u suggest.

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@poaster. Do u know how an Hr person can b international. What do u know about PHR/GPHR from human resource cetificate institute (HRCI).

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@ Ajenlekoko pls advise me on this: am seriously in planning my masters degree to be in Instrumentation Engineering and would want to know the opportunities open for me after my studies. I also want to know weather I can work in Telecom industry and in what capacity. Pls reply.

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@poaster. Do u know how an Hr person can b international. What do u know about PHR/GPHR from human resource cetificate institute (HRCI).

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Non padre problem! Every line of ur missive made sense! :-) dats d good thing bout an Ajalenko post! The guy's name mite be Seyi, Just graded frm C I S i think! Dunno oh!

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Sorry about the length. I'm not exactly known for cliche, sadly.

I don't know the guy's name. Someone told me the guy was one of the recently graduated CU students. Will try to find out tho.

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Nice LONG reply. Thanks. And what's d guy's name? Might know him.

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Well. . . it's not really about investment I would say. Usually you do things like that for the experience and possible exposure. No be everything you go fit leverage, and that kind of thing is not what I was referring to in the OP.

What kind of investment are we talking about, in any case? What's the internship about, and where is it located? Are you paying your way there?

Yes and no I would say.

I can't remember which post it was, that I made some comments regarding the international job pool. These Filipinos and Indians don't necessarily have much better schools than ours, or smarter candidates, and neither do developed markets rely solely on their indigenous labour force anymore. For companies like, say, Cisco, to increase their market share and maintain leadership in their respective markets, they use certification on their own standards as a yardstick and a tool for ensuring the preponderance of their products in the market. If there are enough people that know how to fix it, people will buy it.

Some certifications are good enough to get you the international exposure. It's a matter of supply and demand, really. It's not really about world class company per se, but what you yourself can put on the table. Now I'm not in any way a Finance person, but I'm sure that if you were to hit the CFA track, for example, and ace all the exams, even here in Nigeria, some of the top companies will still hear what you have to say.

What I am saying is that many of us Nigerian professionals in Nigeria are very slow and reluctant to upskill ourselves in our various fields of endeavour. Sometimes it's caused by plain ignorance, as most of us don't even know what goes beyond our 9-5 anyways. People who work in Procurement in Nigeria see themselves as purchasing officers or clerks, rather than procurement or sourcing professionals. New tools and concepts in supply chain are alien to most, who see procurement as a job they just work for the monthly wage.

Sometimes we're affected by the intimidation of the older hands in the profession, who like to employ profligiacy and territorialism to keep the young and upcoming at bay, since they don't want to be exposed as the mediocres they are. That happens in almost every first-generation institution in Nigeria, banks and oil companies.

Sometimes we feel that these certifications are not in demand, i.e. we wait for a 'pull' by the market, rather than 'pushing' the market. Nigerians seem to be great at passive followership, and don't necessarily try to challenge the current paradigm. Then people get frustrated and confused after working the same job for a couple of years. They don't get better at the job cos they don't have any new skills to bring on board.

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to hear about a 19 year old chap from Covenant University here in Naija who has just become the youngest CCIE in Africa. This is a certification that a lot of my friends are always sounding like it's almost impossible to pass. You can't tell me that this chap will not go places whether in Nigeria or elsewhere. And what kind of experience would a university student have? I also recently saw a YouTube stream of a 12 year old Russian boy making a presentation on JQuery at the JavaOne conference. Contrary to what people would want to say, I wouldn't call these guys geniuses, just bright exposed children.

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But to get such skills as to distinguish ur self amongst whities, you must av gained SOLID exposure in a: 1. World class coy. 2. One dat is ready to invest in overseas training for their staff. Now if Ericsson is such a coy. I'd be glad to work dere! Even if they pay me a startin of 80K for a fresh EE grad, I know for sure dat schlum. is another such coy. Does anyone know any other such coy? Several companies use Six sigma in lagos. NBC is a definite example. Peace.

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I really can't say. What were you doing during the internship? and why HR? Maybe I don't quite follow you there.

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I also would like to seek ur opinion, would a 3 months intership with UN attract human Resource ppl in Nigeria companies?

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Ajanlekoko. I see your point now, u meant fixed term contracts. U're quite correct, will be well paid if u can stand ur ground against the foreign experts. I really happy to hear guys like you are there out clearing the path for the hardworking and ambitious ones behind.

U have really done well for yourself.

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Was offered about 650 Euros a day for an African gig (for one of the Orange ops) last year, but I declined.

The money is net of taxes and other expenses. They were offering accomodation, tickets, and a $50 a day feeding allowance.

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Thank you very very much. I will research and get to work on your suggestions. It might take some time but I will get back to you with any feedback. I know this will be useful to anyone who is reading this and needs similar suggestions.

Thanks again. All the best.

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Start from the IIBA's CBAP certification. IIBA is the International Institute of Business Analysis. Canadian-based, I think.

Check out their website on http://www.theiiba.org. Although they have a rigid 7,500 hours or 5 years business analysis experience, I imagine they would have some sort of track you can use to start the upskilling process.

I'm also considering writing the CBAP examination this year. So you are in good company.

I would also recommend that you start looking at BPM as well. You can learn about some of the BPM methodologies like Six Sigma and LEAN Six Sigma. Those ones are basically courses that you attend to get certified. Although I don't know of any organization using Six Sigma in Nigeria, but it's still a good one for international look and feel on your CVs.

Hope this helped somewhat.

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Hello, Mr Ajanlekoko. I always appreciate the foresight and hind sight of your great ideas and contributions. You do not waste words yet you more often than not hit the point. Its nice to have you on Nairaland. Thank you.

Please I need your honest and comprehensive advice. How do I make myself international as a systems analyst/IT business analyst? I have no qualifications yet though I am thinking of British Computer Society Business Analysis Diploma, an audit certification and a good business course to understand the rudiments of business.

As you know, I have got to understand how the business world works before determining the business rules for a new application meant to solve business problems. Do you think I am on the right track? I have an IT background (did BSc Computer Science).

What are the common career paths/training paths for IT business analysts both in Nigerian and internationally. How long does it take? (I am ready to wait for my time). What are the major and minor obstacles as you may have seen? My goal is to have international expertise.

Please help. Thanks.

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@AjanleKoko.In Nigeria Ericsson is busting a lot of engineers out of the carriers and converting them to 'hired guns', contractors who work anywhere in the world, from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, for mouth watering fees (sometimes up to a thousand Euros a day).

Haba!, Nigerians earning that much?

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