Dapo Ladeji is an IT Manager with a proven track record and 20+ years experience in identifying and implementing IM&T based solutions to business processes in the oil and gas industry. He is an innovative IT professional able to manage large projects and lead high performing technical teams. He is a facilitator of IT and operational improvements across organizations. His specialties include Business Analysis, Project & Program Management, PMP, PRINCE2, MSP (Managing Successful Program), IT Governance with COBIT certifications, IT Service Management with ITILv3 expert certification, Change Management with the APMG Change Manager Practitioner certification.

Sec+ Training – Resources (InfoSec)

You joined Shell Exploration & Production in 1997. That’s a long road in IT, from being a Systems Analyst/Programmer to Project Manager for Windows NT Server integration. Tell us about that necessary forward step.

I was just doing things I enjoy doing and I still am. Opportunities tend to come your way when you love your job and just apply yourself to it.

While in school, you studied Chemical Engineering. Then you took a detour to Information Science at your Masters level. What informed this decision?

I was introduced to using computers to process information as part of my chemical engineering studies. I loved these courses and I decided to explore further studies in information science when the opportunity came for me to do my masters.

To be able to lead a high performing team of information technology team, what key considerations should one have, especially if such a person is a budding entrepreneur, needing to balance IT skill with business skill.

If you are a budding entrepreneur, the first thing you have to do is ‘keep your eye on the ball.’ Be clear on what the things that your clients are going to be or are already paying for. You might probably need to do a course on management. An MBA is a good idea because with this kind of courses, you learn the importance of analyzing your competition, analyzing the industry, know how to protect and market intellectual property and such like. Then we are in an age of technology where what counts is innovation. You need to eventually get a niche skill and market that. Then when others latch on to it, you move on to another innovation. Apple is a good idea of this.

In the past decade we have seen people like Bill Gates transcend from core IT skills to business skills. And in more recent times we have seen IT experts combining Business Analysis and Project Management. What do you think is responsible for this?

If you do not have business skills, you would not be able to make enough money from your techy IT skills. You need to know what your customers want and charge them appropriately for that. If you do not make enough money, you will eventually go out of business. That is why you need to know about management, intellectual property and such like. Also project management is about doing projects right while business analysis is about identifying what exactly is the right project to do. You can be doing the wrong project in the right way which at the end of the day, after spending so much money and other resources, you do not get enough value out of the project because it was the wrong thing to have done. This is why you need both business analysis and project management. Project management starts after business analysis is finished.

When it comes to meeting the challenges of your part of the IT world, what hard and soft skills are required?

Hard skills – you need to have a working knowledge of contemporary IT trends and how to take advantage of the trends for the benefit of your organization.

Soft skills – you need to be able to relate with people well and bring out the best in them. You need to be able to articulate your ideas clearly and develop win-win proposals. Then you need to be able to influence and motivate people in line with these proposals.

You’ve been working in the IT space for the better part of the internet boom. What are some of the major trends in the industry now compared to the status quo when you first got started?

Mobile devices. There were no such things as tablets and even mobile phones when I first started working. Now the laptop, mobile phone and tablet are ‘converging’. I have a tablet that can do pretty much all that my laptop can do. This has changed the game entirely for the technology field.

What sort of advice would you give a college or university student interested in getting into the IT field after graduating?

Get hard certifications in modern trends. Certifications in things like Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, etc. depending on your area of interest. Then have a passion and ‘push the envelope’ in that area of interest. Getting the relevant certifications are a necessary first step.

What advice would you give to someone who looks up to you as a mentor, if for instance, such a person is out of job and frustrated by having job offers not up to his expectation in salary?

The important thing is not to be idle. It is important to find something you can do at the moment and keep doing that. But be on the lookout for more opportunities. Sooner than later, the fact that you are doing something will connect you to better opportunities.

In your spare time, what sorts of hobbies or special interests do you enjoy?

Travelling/driving and watching detective shows.