Vancouver Career Spotlight is an interview-style blog series that features the amazing professionals that live and work in the Greater Vancouver area. Our vision is to showcase the many career opportunities that exist in Vancouver and provide inspiration to the future generation of workers and career changers.
Phil Cawdery is the Manager, Robotic Process Automation, at Coast Capital Savings in Vancouver. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Victoria and is a Certified Agile ScrumMaster (CSM).
Why did you choose this career path?
After completing my undergraduate degree at UBC, I spent time exploring career options through night classes at BCIT. I took a Microsoft Access course as a prerequisite for a certification program I was considering and was surprised that data management could be so interesting! By completing this course, I realized I wanted to pursue a career where I would work with both people and technology. Business technology became a logical career path for me. Throughout my career, I have enjoyed being on the forefront of technology transformation that allows teams to focus on higher value, more engaging work to better serve customers.
What are your main responsibilities?
I lead and coach a group of software developers who specialize in process automation. I facilitate and support their work through project management using Agile methodology where development work is planned in two week development cycles.
I act as an internal consultant, engaging business units across the organization to increase awareness of our automation capabilities and to find opportunities to automate lower value tasks so our teams can focus on better serving our members.
I work with vendors and keep on top of trends in the automation space so my team and the organization stay ahead of the technology curve to provide relevant, more advanced automation solutions.
What are the opportunities for career growth and advancement?
Business technology and process automation will continue to grow as more organizations become aware of the benefits and invest in these areas. Some typical entry-level business technology roles include business analyst, systems analyst and project coordinator. As business technology teams continue to become more commonplace, there will be an increased demand for middle managers who can effectively work with both developers and business leaders to develop solutions. More senior level positions in the business technology space include Director of Business Transformation and C-suite positions such as Chief Operating Office (COO), Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
What kind of person would like a career in Business Technology?
A person who would thrive in business technology enjoys working as part of a team to solve complex challenges through technology implementation. Developing analytical and people skillsets is imperative to be successful in this field. Valuing and embracing life-long learning to stay on top of the latest technology trends is critical to remain relevant in this field as technology rapidly evolves every year.
What is a common misconception people have about this career?
A common misconception is that business technology is removing people from the equation to serve customers. The reality is that business technology allows knowledge workers to focus on higher value, more engaging work that involves creativity, judgement and empathy that cannot be replicated by software solutions.
What school subjects would a person in this career typically excel in?
If you find computer science and business management courses engaging, then a career in business technology will likely be a good fit for you as you will need to be skilled at working with both people and technology.
What type of education would you typically need to work in Business Technology?
An undergraduate degree in business and/or computer science will position you to start your career in this field after graduation. As the demand for someone who can work with both business leaders and technology workers has risen greatly over the last 10 years, many universities now offer a number of blended business technology degrees worth pursuing as well.
What are the best programs to get this education?
Both UBC and SFU have excellent commerce programs with business technology management options that are well respected and recognized by organizations across Canada and the United States. Both universities also have combined Business and Computer Science degree programs highly valued by organizations.
What types of organizations would typically hire a Business Technology Manager?
Almost every industry and organization is touched by business technology and process automation. Major industries that were early adopters include financial services, telecommunication and professional services/consulting firms.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing this career path?
Your network is your net worth. Spend 80% of your effort in your job search reaching out to people in the industry and setting up informational interviews to build your network. Find relevant university clubs and organizations to join and be actively involved in while completing your degree. Identify two to three areas of interest and learn as much as you can about them. This will allow you to specialize and also keep options open for different roles when you are first starting your career.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Business technology is a career where you will be involved in engaging work that has a big impact for organizations and their customers. In addition to making an impact and contributing to the success of organizations, you will be well compensated for your work. There are many opportunities in this field to make career changes or transitions as you gain more expertise.
Connect with Phil through his website: www.philcawdery.com.
I hope you enjoyed this Career Spotlight interview about the business technology career track. Below are additional resources if you’re interested in researching this career further. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you’re interested in seeing if this career is right for you, send us a message here, and let’s help you find a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and goals.
More information about Business Technology Management in BC:
WorkBC – Information systems analysts and consultants (earnings, workforce statistics, related careers, etc.)
Education Programs (in the Greater Vancouver area):
University of British Columbia | Simon Fraser University
Note: Not all post-secondary schools and training institutions are listed. To find a school in your area, you can use EducationPlannerBC.