A data geek's list of things he's thankful for...

With Thanksgiving upon us folks here in the states tomorrow, I thought I'd list out a few of the data related things I'm thankful for:

My team: Enterprise Data Operations Team
Both my direct reports and the rest of the team here at my shop are fantastic. My company's website lists my immediate team's credentials as follows: "Managing data from more than 2,000 sources and creating reports essential for business decision requires laser-focused attention to detail, commitment to data quality and unwavering dedication to data privacy. Our enterprise data operations team represents more than 85 years of data management excellence, with in-depth knowledge in a variety of database systems across various industries. This training and experience enables our team to integrate data from various sources into a centralized database of record, ensuring that clients’ data is accurate and accessible when they need it the most."

My "online friends"
New to me this year is the relationship I've made with some kindred spirits in the online "data world". I've found following these folks on Twitter and reading their blogs has changed the way I work. Finding inspiration from folks who are working on very similar problems perhaps even brought back some of the fun for me into this crazy niche world of data I find myself in each day.

My "going against my inner introvert self"
I've really made an attempt in the last year or so to branch out socially and I'm very thankful for it. More details are:
  • I'm thankful for the #DataQuality and #DataGovernance tags on Twitter.
  • I'm thankful for keeping touch with my professional friends on LinkedIn and personal friends on Facebook (as well as the ability to separate the two).
  • I'm thankful I was able to attend both a DataFlux training class and the DataFlux Ideas conference in 2009.

    My "technology stack"
  • I'm very thankful and lucky with my primary organization's (and my primary contracting organization's) technology stack. I've been working on Oracle/Linux for a long time now and knowing the ins and outs of the technology has been extremely helpful.
  • I'm extremely thankful of the data quality tool we're using (DataFlux) and have been very impressed with the tool since we purchased it over a year ago now.
  • I'm very thankful and happy with this silly little open source ETL tool called Kettle (Pentaho's Data Integrator).
  • I still find myself dumping data down to MS Excel more often then I care to admit but I have to admit that I am thankful for the ability to do so. At the end of the day as long as I don't share these files with anyone I might as well use it for what it's good at.
  • I'm thankful the ability to whip up a quick website using PHP.
  • I'm thankful for Perl and regular expressions (well, the few things I know).
  • I'm thankful for sites like askTom, because even when you think you know what you need there are days when your humbled by folks like Tom who make you feel like your a newbie.
  • I'm thankful for FireFox which has made all our lives better by getting us out of the IE funk we were in for so long.
  • I'm thankful for ERWin - even though I'm using such an old version.
  • I'm thankful for VPN's - without which I'd be stuck in the office every single day and night (very sad but true).
  • I'm thankful for CygWin - makes my life easier when running Windoz
  • I'm thankful for a new mindmapping tool I started using this year, XMind, I'd recommend trying it out (free!).
  • I'm thankful for bit.ly - silly but I love it.
  • I'm thankful for version control - if your not using something for this for your work your crazy.
  • I'm thankful for my text editor (an old version of InterDev from Microsoft)
  • I'm thankful for StumbleUpon - it's the best way to procrastinate.

    Second to last I'm thankful for this silly little blog. It's fun posting things of interest out here, seeing "what sticks" and how I may have helped or intrigued other folks.

    Lastly of course I'm thankful for a great family, my health and the health of my wonderful family.

    Until next time...Rich
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