Banji Alo: Actionable insights on career success

Banji Alo is the Data and Information Systems Manager at Queensland Health* . He is also the Author of two bestselling books Before Graduation Day and The Migrants Career Guide.

In 2020, Banji received the Distinguished Talent Award from the Australian Government which provides a pathway for migrants to obtain permanent residency.

His journey as a migrant professional has been marked by resilience, perseverance, and a willingness to step outside his comfort zone and invest time and effort into getting what he wants. Outside of routine work, Banji provides actionable career advice to migrants and data analytics professionals. 

While I’m now deeply entrenched in the world of data analytics, I didn’t always imagine this career path for myself. When I was younger I tried to expose myself to as many experiences as possible. I didn’t know which skill I’d need or which job I might end up in. I believed in saying yes to challenges, even if I didn’t initially have the skills required. 

This is advice I give to young people starting out – say yes to everything and find resources and people to help you learn skills and build your portfolio of work.

This mindset led me to seek out new learning experiences, including attending free sessions on data analysis tools during breaks between classes and semesters at the University of Queensland (UQ).

I attended a number of sessions on different subjects but kept coming back to data analytics. One session was an introduction to  Python – I repeated that six or seven times until I fully grasped the basics. It wasn’t easy, but I was determined to understand how to use these tools effectively. I attended so often that I made friends with the lecturer and this friendship continues today. 

My persistence paid off when I secured an internship in Python. This was important to give me hands-on local work experience—something migrants seeking employment in Australia often lack. Taking an unpaid position gave me the opportunity to apply the knowledge I’d learned and was a useful skill to add to my resume for future job searches. 

The competition for jobs is very tight. Gone are the days when just getting a degree would be enough to open doors for you. Landing jobs without relying on traditional online application processes like SEEK was a game-changer for me. Instead, I leveraged LinkedIn for networking, reaching out to professionals in my field of interest. This approach not only helped me secure interviews but also fostered meaningful connections within the industry.

Banji Alo - actionable insights on career success

Is data analytics my passion? I’d say not. But I’m curious and I’ve become interested and comfortable with the craft I’ve learned. 

 

I’d suggest to young people starting out to get interested in something first, then build on it to see where it takes you. 

 

Now, let’s talk about my journey as an author. I didn’t formally set out to write a book – in fact, I didn’t enjoy writing much at all. I started by reading lots of books and articles about career development and found myself providing free career advice to friends. This eventually led me to explore writing. I started small, writing short articles on platforms like LinkedIn and Medium, summarising lessons from books on career development that I found valuable.

 

As I gained confidence in my writing abilities, I went back to the idea of writing a book. The habit of writing regular smaller blog articles gave me the momentum to tackle book writing. Once I started, I wrote that first book in three months then started on the next one. The process was challenging but immensely rewarding, leading to the publication of my bestselling books, “Before Graduation Day” and “The Migrants Career Guide.”

 

Advice I’d give to others wanting to do the same thing is to cultivate that habit of writing first. Start small, with blog articles, and use the feedback you get along the way to improve your writing. 

 

As a migrant starting your professional career in a new country, it’s essential to stay true to oneself and resist the pressure to conform to pressure from other people. Make sure you really understand what you want. Knowing your goals and aspirations is key to charting a successful career path. Don’t be swayed by well-meaning but often conflicting advice from others. Trust your instincts and pursue opportunities that align with your passions and values.

 

Fear of failure can often hold us back, but it’s important to embrace challenges and view them as opportunities for growth. Investing time and effort in honing your skills and building meaningful connections can ultimately lead to success, even in unfamiliar territories. Remember, with determination and a clear sense of purpose, anything is possible.

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Listen to the full interview here.

*the views expressed in this podcast and on his social media are his own.

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