Head of Business Analysis, DVT
“That’s the key to walking through the Wall… You have to first see it as not being a Wall, even though everyone you know still sees it as a Wall.”
― Kevin J. Shay
“Honestly, I do not even remember when my title changed to Head of Business Analysis,” says Edward Ngubane, who was promoted to this position with DVT in 2018. “Maybe it’s because I have been enjoying my job so much, and have been so focused on what I am passionate about, that I never made a mental note of the change,” he adds.
Having started his career as a mathematics teacher at a high school in Soweto, Edward has ignored walls – and indeed ceilings – in his persuit of both personal and professional fulfillment. His four years at DVT have been “amazing”. “DVT is a great platform for any professional to build their career and personal brand. I feel I have grown tenfold as a person and as a leader over the past four years, thanks to DVT.”
Six years into his career as a teacher, and in his second year of a Masters in Maths Education at Wits, Edward felt he was suffocating: “I felt the ceiling was way too low for me.” Although he loved being in the classroom very much, and feels that he is still a teacher at heart, he could not see himself spending the rest of his life as a teacher. He felt he had more to offer – and to contribute – in another profession.
When he resigned in 1998, colleagues, friends and family were aghast – most especially his school principal and his mother! They could not understand how he could throw away his professional training and his excellent work record. But Edward had ‘seen through the Wall’ and knew he was on the right track.
For a stipend that was literally half the salary he was getting as a teacher, he joined a learnership in software development at a company called Cephas (at that time) on behalf of Telkom. “I am glad I saw way beyond the salary cut, and forged ahead. After a year of learning how to code, we were lucky enough to be all absorbed by Telkom as junior developers.”
He embraced this opportunity and never looked back. While working as a junior developer, he completed his Masters in Maths Education (M.Ed), and immediately started another degree (B.Comm Information Systems).
Again he was told by colleagues at Telkom that he was crazy to start a junior degree from scratch, after having three degrees already, but Edward was already adept at ignoring such self-imposed boundaries.
The B.Comm (IS) took six years to complete (part-time) at Wits University. During this period, he continued as a developer at Telkom, but having been promoted four times, he was again rapidly approaching the ceiling once more.
In 2004 he moved to FNB to start a career as a junior business analyst; and then to Investec, BMW Financial Services and Wesbank. In 2010 he moved back to FNB as Product Development Manager/BA Manager to build a team of business analysts; and by 2015 had been promoted to Head of PMO, with Project Managers, Business Analysts and Test Analysts in his team.
Edward notched up his fifth degree with distinction in 2015 – an MBA from Wits, which is when he joined DVT as Practice Lead: Business Analysis, then as Practice Manager, and now as Head of Business Analysis. A sixth degree is currently underway – a PhD with Wits Business School, focusing on the use of Cloud Computing to develop and sustain SMMEs in South Africa.
His message to young adults entering the workplace or seeking employment is that there is no shortcut to success. “Setbacks and challenges will always be there, but determination and hard work; as well as a good work ethic, discipline and focus will help them overcome whatever challenges they have.”
His message to business in South Africa is that, with the unemployment rate at an all time high right now, it is imperative for businesses in South Africa to come up with innovative ways to re-skill their human capital and get the youth ready to embrace the new careers that 4IR is imposing on the ICT sector.
“I think we are missing one big thing – we are not collaborating enough to make the difference we need. We rely heavily on the government, and we all continue to work as individual small entities, instead of working together to deal with a myriad of challenges facing our communities.”
Apart from social challenges such as poverty, crime and unemployment, Edward adds that he is “saddened by the relationship we have with our environment, which is extremely poor”. He strongly believes that education is key to changing the mindset of our communities. “My biggest wish is to contribute, at some point, in using education as the tool to change how we, as South Africans, look at and treat the environment. We only have one space – this Earth!”
He feels that his values are strongly aligned with those of DVT, one of which is ‘Make an Impact’. “I believe in empowering my colleagues or team members through sharing knowledge, because our biggest asset as human beings lies in what we know and what we continue to learn.”
Edward’s desire to make an impact inspired him to recently qualify as a Leadership Coach. This certificate empowers him to coach MBA students and anyone in a leadership role. After an eight-month training programme, including practicals and a final exam at Wits Business School, he received an excellent result in December 2019.
Edward, the mathematics ‘teacher at heart’ adds: “The amount of satisfaction I get from expanding a colleague’s horizon by challenging them to think critically is priceless!”