Category Archives: Companies

My first year at Braviant

Yesterday was my first anniversary at  Braviant Holdings. That was not an easy year. There was a lot of hard work. Lots of days and nights when I was not sure where I will be able to accomplish what I want and what I believe is needed to be accomplished.

But now, when I look back and think about what have happened over this year, I can only say: Wow!

Building of the new Data Mart from scratch, completely replacing the new system, using new techniques for combining multiple external sources. Keeping up with new challenges. Helping to build new framework for our data analytics. Starting as a sixth employee in the company and the only tech person and now being a part of a tech team within the company which quadrupled it’s size in one year.

And most importantly – delivering high- quality database solutions. The thing  which makes me really happy is that through this whole year I never had to compromise my technical values, that I was given a freedom and responsibility to do what I believe is right, and to be accountable for results. It’s the best thing one can imagine – to see how your works makes your company to perform better – every day.

And the last, but not the least – always feeling good being around my co-workers, smart, intelligent, helping, compassionate and dedicated. I love the culture of continuos learning, which exists at our workplace, love the fact that everybody wants to know what other groups are doing, and how their work impacts others. Granted its’ much easier to accomplish when the company is small, but I really hope we’ll continue this way.

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That’s about us!

I know that many people have already reposted this article, but I didn’t! Mostly because these past three weeks I was preoccupied by my family issues…

Anyway – Here is an article about Braviant Chicago office. And it’s very true, that we’ve hired the best and brightest! My dear co-workers, no matter how much I can be upset with you changing your requirements twice a day – you are indeed the best and the brightest, and I am honored to work with all of you!

 

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Help wanted!

Since I’ve realized, that our job postings on LinkedIn are not current, I am posting here 3 positions which I personally is most interested to fill. All these people we’ll work very closely with me (for those of you, for whom that’s a plus :))

App Developer

https://www.ziprecruiter.com/jobs/braviant-holdings-20cade2c/senior-software-engineer-b3bc31b7

Database developer

https://www.ziprecruiter.com/jobs/braviant-holdings-20cade2c/database-developer-0c2cf16a

System analyst

https://www.ziprecruiter.com/jobs/braviant-holdings-20cade2c/senior-systems-analyst-ff992fdc

There are matching junior positions for each senior position:)

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A major accomplishment

It’s almost the end of the year. And it sounds like the most improbable day to write something about work, especially voluntarily.  But I’ve being really busy working  for the past several weeks (and months, to that matter).

But now I have something really exciting to report. And that “something” happened on Wednesday last week. On that day we stopped the automated emailing of reports from the old datawarehouse. Which of cause means, that we have all needed reports set up to run and email results from the new datawarehouse, which I have being building for the past seven months.

On one hand it seems like it took too long – the data was there and available for a while. But it always takes lots of time to convince people, who are used to the old ways, that they need to switch to the new system, the the new system is better, more accurate, etc. Besides,as it almost always happens, on the day that we’ve announced that “the old reports will be discontinued”,  the whole bunch of reports never converted to the new system emerged out of nowhere…

We were able to convert all these reports, to validate their results with business, and to shut down the automated reporting as planned.  And that means a lot for me, because it’s a very practical result of all my work since I’ve joined Braviant.  I do not have any illusions regrading this “sunset”, I know that there may be still multiple cases of “I need to see this old report” and such. And even after all user access to the old system will be disabled, we’ll need to archive the data for auditing purposes. But in any case I consider the current status as a major accomplishment, and a very material result of my work.

Of cause I won’t be able to accomplish that task without my wonderful co-workers, and since we are a small company, the input of each individual made a huge impact on the successful achievement of that goal.  I am in a very good place now, in all possible meanings of this word 🙂

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My experience with Xplenty

… what I liked, and why I’ve opted not to use their services.

When I first started at Braviant, and just in a couple weeks have realized that I will need to build a new data mart, the question was: how I can do it having four different external data sources?  Not to mention, having no IT and no app developers.

At first my plan was to use foreign data wrappers – the are FDW for all of the data source types I needed: SQL Server, MySQL, .csv files and Postgres itself. So everything seemed easy, except of… well, except of RDS does not support any of the FDW, aside of Postgres one.

I’ve started to look for alternatives, and several people pointed me to the Xplenty – and I decided to give it a try. I almost feel bad choosing at the end not to go with their solution, because these folks had spent enormous time discussing my needs and trying their best to accommodate my wants.  And I believe that for many organizations it might indeed be a very sensible solution.

Who and when should consider using Xplenty?

  • Organizations which do not have or have very small IT department with not enough expertise in data integration
  • The number of tables to be integrated is small (or reasonably small)
  • The speed and/or frequency of data refresh/pull is not a big concern
  • There is none or very little special data processing

One of the definitely positive things about Xplenty is their customer service, they actually get back to you, they talk to you, they are really focused on resolving your problems. They would give you a sandbox instance to try everything for a week, and you can perform as many data pulls during this trial as you want. They will help you to debug your scheduled jobs.  Another great thing is that you do not really need to know anything about these external systems, except of the connection details. all the meta-information will be extracted, and processed, and the data will be presented to you.

So why we ended up not using their services? Well, because as it often happens, the things which are good for some customers are not good to other. We needed to map in total over 300 tables, and this was completely manual process. Besides, it turned out that some column names in our external data sources where there keywords in Postgres, so they required special coding – yes, Xplenty supports this option, but again, it is a manual process.

There were several other things which also had to be decoded manually, for example, integer 0/1 was force-converted to boolean, but the biggest problem was a speed of refresh. Again, if you have just a handful of tables which should be refreshed a couple times a day, there is no problem at all. But if you have 300 tables which has to be refreshed every hour or so, and each table takes at least a minute to refresh… you’ve got the idea.

To summarize: there are lots of cases when Xplenty will be the fastest in terms of delivery and the easiest solution; it didn’t work for us, but on the other hand I do not think any out-of-the-box solution will work for us – we ended up with the custom development.

 

 

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And the most interesting part – we are hiring!

For those of you who is following me (and my company) on LinkedIn, this is probably no news – we are hiring, and we are hiring for many different positions.

But this one is the one I am most interested in. Wo what’s between the lines: I need to have a peer on the application side. A senior person with whom I can discuss our development strategy and specific technical solutions, with whom I will be able to have productive discussions.

And yes, I know I want too much, but may be… 🙂

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What I was doing for the past month, and why I was so busy

I’ve just looked at my stats and realized, that I haven’t being posting anything for an entire month (till yesterday :))! In my defense – I didn’t have a single day off for the past 3 weeks, so this weekend was the first time since the beginning of June when I’ve started to get back to normal, back to life. More or less:)

I’ve spent the whole month of June building a new Data Warehouse for my company. I had a pretty good idea what I want to build, but the timing was really-really tight. I know – not only theoretically, but from my experience, that no matter how carefully you plan, there will be unplanned things which will slow you down, and that basically you need to plan for unplanned 🙂 – but it’s always hard. Especially when you know exactly, what you want to do, and you feel really frustrated when you are limited by the speed with which you can type, and by the time it takes to recompile a function or to execute a query.

That was the first time in my professional career, that I had to build the whole system from scratch, and to build it exactly the way I wanted. Ironically (or, may be not!) it was also the first time I had to sacrifice the “purity” to “what business needs”. No, do not take me wrong, actually, the at the end the business needs things to be done right, but I always hated when I was told: we need to build this thing fast now, and later we will optimize – make it right, etc. I used to always scream, that “later” will never happen, and now I made a conscious decision myself to do exactly that! And I do not regret, because now it’s me who has to control, that “later” will actually happen.

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