Monday, May 25, 2009


One of my regular gigs is for, a site for youth to check out to read about different career paths and industry trends. It provides me a chance to interview and write about people involved in everything from computer programming to hiking trail maintenance. It's also fun writing for a younger audience. Below are excerpts from a couple of articles I did for them.

[From an article about BMX freestyle:]

Born as an offshoot of traditional BMX—which stands for bicycle motocross and involves riders racing each other around a dirt track—BMX freestyle involves doing tricks on a BMX bike.

Not only does it look super cool, but it feels great to practice tricks enough that you get them “dialed,” as they say in the BMX scene. It’s good exercise, fresh air and gives you a great feeling of satisfaction!

Canadian rider Jeff Favelle isn’t a pro, but he has the same passion for the sport that pros do. He’s been riding, on and off, for “the better part of 20 years.” He’s recently re-discovered his bike, and is riding harder—and better—than ever. For him, it’s a hobby that will never go away. So what does he get out of it?

“Exercise, stress relief, fun, camaraderie and a sense of progression,” he says. “And it’s fun to visualize stuff and work towards it, like any other goals in life.”

Favelle, who responds with a resounding “definitely!” when asked if people should get into BMX freestyle as a hobby, also points out that there are career paths in BMX freestyle, and not always doing the actual riding.

“Like anything in life, you can take this sport to the extreme and become a professional,” he says. “Many try, and very few actually succeed—much like other organized, more traditional sports. But the process involved, the training, the exercise, the discipline, and the mental toughness acquired is all worth it and rewarding, even if the end result is not a full factory sponsorship and being paid to ride.”

Brian Tunney is a professional BMX freestyle rider in New Jersey who also manages to work in the industry, being the Managing Editor of Dig BMX, a cool BMX freestyle magazine.

“Personally, it’s changed my life,” he says of riding. “I’ve been around the world. I’ve learned that anything is possible and I’ll never back down from a challenge. I could go on for days about what I get out of BMX, but on the whole, it’s helped me to understand life a lot more than I ever thought possible. Plus, it gets me to the Bodega everyday for a 99-cent Arizona iced tea.”

[From an article about business analysts:]

If you want to become a private eye but can’t quite get into that line of work, perhaps you’ll find your calling with a jump over to the realm of suits and ties. Business analysts are the detectives of the business world. They solve business problems for companies.

“A business analyst does something different every day,” says British Columbia-based business analyst Darryl Karleen. “It’s a job that combines investigation and detective-like work. Rather than solving a murder case like on CSI, I try to understand and solve business problems. Sometimes this involves changing the way some people do their jobs so that that they can do it faster or more efficiently. Other times, our solution includes the installation and setup of new computer programs to help the people do their jobs faster or better.”

A business analyst needs to have an analytical mind and to be patient and thorough. They also need to be able to understand a variety of graphs, charts and internal documents so having good comprehension skills is also important.

Dave Bieg is the chief operating officer of the International Institute of Business Analysts. He says getting a bachelor’s degree is a start on the road to becoming a business analyst. But as with many careers, getting more education is generally a good thing!

Kathleen Barret, president of the International Institute of Business Analysis, adds that while there is no specific educational requirement, business analysts do need to have certain skills.

“Business analysts should have a good understanding of how business works and IT [information technology] concepts,” she says. “Business analysts must be analytical and not intimidated by ambiguity. It is their job to clarify ambiguity.”

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