Tag Archives: Braviant

We are featured in buitinchicago!

Yesterday our tech team was featured in the buititchicago blog post All about impact: Why 6 Chicagoans left corporate life for startups. I am seconding everything what was said about our culture, and I love this picture of our team!

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Filed under Companies, publications and discussions, Workplace

What I am looking (and not looking) for

Since  I’ve been looking for  database developers and DBAs for quite some time now,  and since virtually everybody knows about this, people often ask me: what are you looking for? What skills and qualifications you are interested at? Who would be your ideal candidate?

Most of the time I reply: please read the job description. I know that all the career advisors tell you “apply even if you do not have some qualifications”, but as for my job postings, I actually need those qualifications which are listed as “required”, and I would really prefer the candidates, who have “is a plus” qualifications.

Also, there are definitely some big DON’Ts, which I wish I would never ever hear again during an interview:

  • when asked for the definition of the foreign key,  starting your answer from “when we need to join two tables”
  • when asked about normalization, starting from “for better performance”
  • when asked about schemas, saying that we use then for storage optimization

Today however, I was asked a different question: why you are saying that you are looking for skilled candidates, and at the same time you admit, that for anybody who will get hired there will be a long learning process? if a candidate does not know something, doesn’t it mean he does not have enough skills? Doesn’t it mean, (s)he is underqualified?

I thought for a while before I’ve responded. When I was first hired as a Postgres DBA, it was a senior position right away, although at that time I did not know any Postgres at all. But people who’ve hired me were confident that not only I can learn fast, but also that I can generalize my existing knowledge and skills and apply it in the new environment.

To build on this example, there are two pre-requisites for success: knowledge and the ability to apply it in the real-life circumstances.

I think, that a person who wants to succeed as a database developer or a DBA should possess a solid knowledge of the relational theory.  But it is not enough to memorize your Ullman or Jennifer Widom, you need to be able to connect this theory to the real-world problems. This is such an obvious thing, that I never thought I will need to write about it, but life proved me wrong :).

Same goes in the situation, when a candidate has a lot of experience with other database, not the one you need. Yes, different database systems may be different, and significantly different. Can somebody who is very skilled  Oracle DBA be qualified for a position of Postgres DBA? Yes, if this person knows how to separate generic knowledge from the systems specifics.

if you know how to read an execution plan in Oracle, and more importantly, why you need to be able to read it, you will have no problem reading execution plans in Postgres. If you used the system tables in Oracle to generate dynamic SQL,  you will know exactly what you want to look for in the Postgres catalog.  And if you know that queries can be optimized, it will help no matter what a specific DBMS is. And it won’t help, if the only thing you know is how to execute utilities.

… No idea, whether this blog post is optimistic or pessimistic, but… we are still hiring 🙂

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It has been two years!

Although LinkedIn has been announcing for a while that my work anniversary is coming, it is actually today. Two years ago my new life has started, and it is still new 🙂 I was thinking that I will write a huge post about these two years, and how productive they were. But then I thought, that in course of there two years each and single post in this blog was exactly about this: what cool things did I discover, how amazing my coworkers are,  how all my dreams have come true.

I do not have anything more to say except of these were amazing two year, and I am looking forward for at least… several years like that!

… and we are still hiring!

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February Chicago PUG – what the conversation was about

It’a almost time for our March PUG, and I never blogged about the February one, I guess now it’s as good as any other, especially because  the March PUG is just several days away, and as usual I hope to attract more people to our next event

As for the February PUG,  I really liked it, even though I managed to completely mess up and accidentally cancelled the meetup! I am still not used to the new Meetup editor. Nevertheless, perhaps it was even better, that I’ve made people to re-confirm their participation at the last minute.

I was presenting our most recent work –  a new framework for efficient communications between a database and a web application. My favorite topic; and I was super -excited to share our success. And I was very glad, that one of our application developers decided to stay for the PUG, because very soon all the questions merged into one big question: what did you do to make it happen? What did it take to change the developers mindset? How did we pull it all together?

And my coworker started to describe, how we did it. And I’ve realized, that I almost forgot about many obstacles, which we had overcome. How many things didn’t work from the very beginning. How many “extra miles” we had to walk in both directions.

Answering the comments on one of my previous posts on that topic: it’s just not so easy to write a “matrix” of decisions which would automatically replace the ORM. Most of the time it’s a customized development. If an app developer would always know that method A involves three joins on a database side, and method B pulls the attributes from the same table as  method C… then probably they won’t start using ORM from the very beginning. But the purpose of ORM is to hide these details!

It’s not easy to do things differently, Especially in a small startup. With all the deadlines, and with clear understanding that there is a potential slowdown in development. But we all tried to do the right thing – as a team. I give a credit to myself for coming up with a framework which at the end of the day is easy and convenient to use in the application. And I give even a bigger credit to the whole team for willingness to work through all the issues toward the best solution.

My fellow chicagoans! If by now you feel sorry you missed the February PUG – please consider coming to the March PUG upcoming Wednesday!  Johnathan Katz from Crunchy Data  will be presenting the talk “An Introduction to Using PostgreSQL with Docker & Kubernetes”. We expect another “bridging the gap” event 🙂

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One more database position at Braviant Holdings

We have one more opening! And we want to fill this one ASAP. Here is a position description (and a place to apply): Postgres DBA at Braviant

A person in this position will be reporting to me, helping me to build the state of the art system, using the most cutting-edge technologies, and last but not least – will be able to learn the best practices of the trade from me. The position description is more DBA-like style, and that’s what I need most at the moment, but if a person in this position will show interest in more database development work, the opportunities are endless.

More exciting things to do, than anybody can imagine, but I desperately need at least one more pair of hands!

 

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The second rejected paper

****Reposting because the previous version didn’t get  shared on LinkedIn****

Object-relational impedance mismatch is by far my favorite research topic, mostly due to the fact that it has a very practical implementation. I would make even stronger statement: the most rewarding optimization is the one when you can reduce the number of SQL statements executed when a web page is rendered and all of a sudden it is loaded 50 times faster (and I mean actually 50 times, not figuratively speaking!).  It always looks like a magic – and I haven’d done anything!

This been said, the ORMs are my worst enemies, and I am always looking for opportunities to promote the better ways of communication between a database and an applications. Most of the time the human factor appears to be more important than the technological challenges, so I always think about these projects as battles.

At Braviant however, first time in my professional career I had nobody to fight about this issue – the app developers were completely on board with my approach since day one. Which allowed us to develop something really cool, and to optimize the interaction between databases and application to the point of absolute perfection. SO, when my husband suggested we’d write a short paper about this project, I had no doubt it will be accepted – because two of my previous papers on the same subject were accepted to the very serious conferences.

Life proved me wrong :), I am not going to name the conference and the workshop, but I have to make some comments about the reviews, so that the level of my frustration can be understood.

One of the reviewers asked: why we think that the number of round trips defines the response time of the web application. Another reviewer asked, whether we tried to use Mongo DB :))). And why we think that (de) serialization of the JSON takes negligible time. And why we think Hibernate is worse.

I think the only valid objection was, that the topic of the paper is not relevant to the workshop topic.  And the latter might explain the whole story.

Several years ago, when I started to attend the database conferences again, after fifteen years of absence, I made an observation that a significant number of the attendees never saw the real applications, and never had deal with performance problems, Fortunately, I’ve also met and got to know some really outstanding researches, whom I admire and feel honored to be aquatinted with, so… I am sure I will find the right place to showcase our work.

And may be it’s time to get back to my old “HDAT” workshop idea,,,

And for my fellow Chicagoans: I will be presenting this work this Tuesday, Feb 13 at the Chicago PUG meetup!

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The second rejected paper: the ORIM again

Object-relational impedance mismatch is by far my favorite research topic, mostly due to the fact that it has a very practical implementation. I would make even stronger statement: the most rewarding optimization is the one when you can reduce the number of SQL statements executed when a web page is rendered and all of a sudden it is loaded 50 times faster (and I mean actually 50 times, not figuratively speaking!).  It always looks like a magic – and I haven’d done anything!

This been said, the ORMs are my worst enemies, and I am always looking for opportunities to promote the better ways of communication between a database and an applications. Most of the time the human factor appears to be more important than the technological challenges, so I always think about these projects as battles.

At Braviant however, first time in my professional career I had nobody to fight about this issue – the app developers were completely on board with my approach since day one. Which allowed us to develop something really cool, and to optimize the interaction between databases and application to the point of absolute perfection. SO, when my husband suggested we’d write a short paper about this project, I had no doubt it will be accepted – because two of my previous papers on the same subject were accepted to the very serious conferences.

Life proved me wrong :), I am not going to name the conference and the workshop, but I have to make some comments about the reviews, so that the level of my frustration can be understood.

One of the reviewers asked: why we think that the number of round trips defines the response time of the web application. Another reviewer asked, whether we tried to use Mongo DB :))). And why we think that (de) serialization of the JSON takes negligible time. And why we think Hibernate is worse.

I think the only valid objection was, that the topic of the paper is not relevant to the workshop topic.  And the latter might explain the whole story.

Several years ago, when I started to attend the database conferences again, after fifteen years of absence, I made an observation that a significant number of the attendees never saw the real applications, and never had deal with performance problems, Fortunately, I’ve also met and got to know some really outstanding researches, whom I admire and feel honored to be aquatinted with, so… I am sure I will find the right place to showcase our work.

And may be it’s time to get back to my old “HDAT” workshop idea,,,

And for my fellow Chicagoans: I will be presenting this work this Tuesday, Feb 13 at the Chicago PUG meetup!

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Filed under research