Six sigma training

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    Almost twenty years ago I left the corporate IT world (COBOL programmer/Systems Analyst) to work as a naturalist/ecologist. I think I’ve gotten that out of my system and I’m ready to come back inside and go back to work as business/systems analyst. The problem is that, yes, my skills are more than a little out of date.

    A friend of mine, who has been involved with Six Sigma for a number of years, first at GE and now at Baker Hughes, suggested I look into getting a Six Sigma black belt.

    I enjoy analyzing processes through the frame work of a methodology, and the statistics are the same ones I’ve used as an ecologist, so I don’t anticipate any problems getting mastering the material or getting certified as a Black Belt.

    What I am wondering is that will the Black Belt be enough to get back in the door without a lot of additional retraining? It seems that most people that do this training are already entrenched in their careers and are looking for a leg up, rather than starting from over from scratch.

    So any advice or input would be greatly appreciated.




    Roger: As with any skill set, more won’t do you any harm. However, six sigma is generally a skill set bolted on to another core skill (industrial engineering, finance, purchasing, etc.) that supercharges the core capabilities. While yes it is true that having a six sigma skill set should be sufficient to enter into an environment where there are issues to be solved, and you can be effective, the reality is that most employers are going to look for an individual that has a core skill in the area where they want to address problems. Unfortunately for you, IT and programming in particular, has been a laggard generally in applying six sigma methods.

    If you choose to pursue, I’d recommend finding a non-profit to work at where you can complete some projects and develop a portfolio and record of success. Most are very happy for the help, and helping to make them more effective has a double effect.

    Good luck.

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