An Interview With Aina Alive | Secrets To Thrive In Career
Amidst the raging competition, boiling job market and, countless individuals fighting for the same spot, anchoring ourselves into the professional field has become a tough nut to crack.
Aina Alive, founder of Bee Agile Tutoring, Youth Career Consultant, Mentor, and Creator says, "Things have changed now. Unlike today, the job market was not a hot ground of competition a few years back. Now, individuals must stand out to fit into the head-spinning pace and dynamism of the markets."
Aina had pivoted more than five times in her career and soon realized how identifying ideal skills and leveraging them the right way was a major challenge for individuals. With a mission to bridge this gap, her boutique company, Bee Agile Tutoring, helps professionals to break into the Tech industry by going code-free and instilling skills for a scrum master role. The company has helped countless professionals transition into best-performing leaders and discover the ways to thrive that no school, professional courses, or certifications talk about.
We recently caught up with her for an interview to know more about her professional approaches, coaching and her company's aim. And, here's how it went.
1) We learnt that pivoting your career led to various discoveries in your professional life. How did you leverage those discoveries to become a coach?
Yes, I had five significant pivots through my career and learned something new about myself every time. But, unfortunately, I didn't have much freedom to understand what I liked and wanted to do when I was at school, so my work life turned into my self-discovery journey.
I started my career adventure as an electrical engineer. I've got my first master's degree in this field and enjoyed my role, but on the other hand, I had too many responsibilities at such a young age. I was just a fresh grad, 21-22 years old naïve girl. Also, being detail-oriented wasn't one of my natural skills, so this job was too stressful for me because I constantly feared missing a dot on a drawing that would mean a completely different wire joint.
A couple of years later, I became a Project Manager. There were pros and cons about that position too. I loved working with projects, but I didn't like being above my team and manage people.
So, I pivoted again and became a language instructor. Here, I loved the teaching part, but I missed working on projects.
Eventually, I decided to try something new again and moved to The Maldives, where I worked at reception. There I learned how to communicate with different types of people, react to unexpected circumstances, and deal with lots of stress. Unfortunately, neither of my previous jobs satisfied me completely. I wanted to find a solution that combines all positive features from all of my past jobs.
It appeared that this solution was Agile - a mindset and methodology for IT projects. IT always attracted me, but I thought I needed to learn to code first and graduate from the university, which meant I needed to dedicate another five years of my life to this field. When I was introduced to the Agile Coaching position, my heart stopped for a moment because this was how my dream job looked like. So, I became a Scrum Master first, completed an MBA in technology and eventually became an Agile Coach.
I'm also a very active person, do a lot of speaking activities and volunteer in many non-profit organizations. People started coming to me with questions about Agile and asked my recommendations. That was when I started feeling that I was in the right place now and bringing lots of value to people and organizations I coach.
2) How would you describe your and Bee Agile Tutoring's aim?
At the same time, I founded a company and called it Bee Agile Tutoring. Here, my team and I help people get a 6 fig job in Tech by going code-free, which means we created courses and workshops to arm future Tech Leaders with the right mindset, tools, and techniques.
Even though we can't make a Leader out of everyone, however, if the candidate has natural leadership skills and the right mindset, they still need to polish them and learn, for example, how to facilitate discussions, lead their team through conflicts or write user stories.
As I mentioned earlier, I didn't consider IT seriously because I thought I needed coding skills and a special degree. My goal is to show people that IT is not just coding.
At Bee Agile, we prepare people for one of the three main leadership roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner and Project Manager.
My teaching methods are based on engaging illustrations and a fun and collaborative atmosphere where people learn from each other and understand that there are no right or wrong techniques. My goal is to help our students to grow from classic managers into Servant Leaders and teach them how to see human potential and enable it rather than dictating their own solutions.
3) What are few things that individuals in Tech find difficult in their industry?
It is challenging to bring the IT and Business sides of organizations to a common ground. They speak different languages and don't understand each other.
Business always demands predictability and sets up unrealistic expectations, whereas the IT group cannot explain or sometimes even doesn't feel empowered to talk to the business side. As a result, neither parties are satisfied.
Another challenge for individuals in Tech is unclarity on business requirements to the projects and products
And the last significant challenge is always bureaucracy and confused processes. It is easy to set up clear processes when we have a startup of up to 50 people, but dealing with large enterprises with different departments in different countries and timezones makes constantly updating and improving processes a big challenge.
4) How does a typical career consultation session looks like with you?
I have a timeslot for 30 minutes to identify what my client wants from their pivoting into Tech and, more importantly, what personal qualities and skills this person has. For example, sometimes people come to me and ask about a Scrum Master role because they heard somewhere that it is easy to get into Tech this way. However, talking to them, I see that becoming a Scrum Master is the least suitable role for them out of three main leadership roles: Product Owner, Project Manager and a Scrum Master.
Then I ask them how they want to progress in a couple of years, whether they are career-driven or prefer to be quiet team members.
After that, I explain these three main roles to them, show potential career paths, and guide them to choose the scenario they believe suits them the most. Many change their minds at this point since they didn't know much about the differences in these three roles and the opportunities they might have by choosing one career path or another.
After that, I introduce them to the training and workshops Bee Agile Tutoring provides in the nearest future, and some people book training right away; the others take time to think.
5) What are a few myths that you'd want to debunk through your role as a coach?
The first myth is that the Coach is not a Consultant and doesn't provide the best solution. The Coach is a guide who leads YOU to find the answer. The Coach is not a hero. The Coach guides and enable heroes. Yoda from Star Wars is an excellent example of an Agile Coach.
Next, a Coach is not here to judge you or evaluate your or your organization's performance. Instead, their role is to lead you from the disaster you are in right now to an easily manageable organization or help you find out what you need to improve if your situation is not as bad and you work on improvement continuously.
The last myth I want to address is the coach doesn't have to know about IT or business in detail. The high level is enough because their role is to lead experts to get the best ideas out of their minds and enable and grow junior team members.