A Big (Data) Change

So it has been rather quiet on this blog and there’s a good reason for that. I like to blog mostly about interesting (technical) stuff I found out. At work I haven’t done many technical things. I talked about technical things, I had meetings about technical things, I read documents about technical things and even wrote documents about technical things. But I didn’t find out much technical stuff. I didn’t have time for technical things at work.

And I noticed that when I played with Oracle 12c in my spare time, and lateron Hadoop and Python, I missed the satisfaction of finding things out and getting things to work. You know, Linux, Oracle, Hadoop and Python work without the need of several meetings to convince it. Or sometimes it doesn’t of course.

I thank Rabobank for giving me the chance to become Product Verantwoordelijke (I think the English term is Tech Lead). I’ve learned many things, and one of them is, that I miss the job satisfaction I had in most of my carreer.

So what to do next? I decided to visit a Dutch IT company that for years had the greatest customer satisfaction, to find out if their company suited me. But they thought my portfolio was a bit one sided. Mainly Oracle and little programming experience. I told my ambition to work with Big Data. They asked what I had done myself to learn about that. That got me thinking.

Then at Rabobank things started to stir. A bit reorganization was coming up. Rumors of large amounts of people to be fired. Now as a very experienced Oracle DBA I would not have been very impressed. But as a tech lead, I had my doubts. Lots of managers were fired too. I decided I didn’t want to wait for things to happen to me.

If I wanted to work with Big Data, I thought, why not learn about it via Coursera.org? I had already followed a course on Cryptography there and one on the Science of the Solar System (the last one obviously for hobby). Coursera now has many courses on Big Data, Machine Learning and lots of other stuff in that area. A collegue told me about the Big Data specialization a while back. It seemed the place to go.

So I started with the University of California in San Diego’s “Hadoop Platform and Application Framework” and “Big Data Analytics”. I had a lot of fun with these 5 week courses. It’s great to learn new stuff. Especially without having to ask anyone for permission, money or time off to follow these courses (certificates for these courses are now €80 a piece).

But I had some problems with the Python programming assignments. And Python is rather popular in Big Data, so next step: An Introduction to Interactive Python Programming (Part 1) by Rice University. This is a fun course in which you learn Python by programming games. Immediately I loved this language. I even started programming my favorite game Kerbal Space Program with it. Automated rocket to orbit for the win!

So now I felt prepared for a Machine Learning course. By now I discovered class-central.com, a site where people rate online courses. I found out that Stanford Univerity’s Machine Learning course was much better rated than the one in the Big Data specialization. It also is 11 weeks long. I decided to do it. It was a tough course. Math was back in my life in full force. The first three weeks I worked 10 hours a week to finish my quizes and programming assignments. Also, no Python involved. Machine Learning is a very interesting new field with many applications and I’m happy to understand those basics now.

Meanwhile I visited a couple of companies, but they wanted me to do mainly Oracle work (for now). But by now, I was dead set to become a data engineer. But would anyone take that risk with me? Strangely as it sounds with 19 years of IT experience behind the belt, when you start in a new field, you’re basically a newbee again. Hard to find jobs for you. So, would my dream win, or would reality kick in?

Fortunately, there was one company that thought differently: Open Circle Solutions in Eindhoven. They understood where I was coming from and where I wanted to go. Also, they only work with open source software. They not only want to use it, but also improve it.

So no Oracle. I have worked for 19 years with Oracle products. After all I’m a specialist in Oracle database performance and security and know it’s gritty details. I’m going to miss some aspects of working with Oracle products and the community, but I’m sure working with big data and the people involved will be fun as well. There’s a lot of new stuff to learn.

There is only one big question to solve: what to do with the name of this blog when I’m no longer working with Oracle :). Shall I start a new one?

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About Marcel-Jan Krijgsman

Ever since I started working with Oracle, I had an interest in Oracle database performance tuning. This led, eventually, to a four day training I made and gave for customers of Transfer Solutions. Since 2012 I work for Rabobank Nederland. A few years ago I also became interested in Oracle database security. All technology aside, it is my experience that security usually plays out on a political level. I'm a Oracle certified professional for the 8i, 9i, 10g and 11g databases and Oracle Database 11g Performance Tuning Certified Expert.
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One Response to A Big (Data) Change

  1. tyhco says:

    for me its very impressive that i have many of similitudes Oracle work (15 years), then interested in BigData and Machine Learning … the same courses 🙂 … Cryptography, Intro to Interactive Programming with Python, Machine Learning … and now working with Hadoop …

    Best Regards in your new journey

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