Before I joined Pythian, I had the fortune of having a lot of good jobs across various industries. My favorite jobs were the ones that were fast paced and required me to ramp up my skills on the fly while learning new technology. My least favorite jobs were the ones where my skills were not used and the challenges were few and far between. When I joined Pythian I hadn’t realized I found my first great job.
In April 2012, I joined Pythian’s Professional Consulting Group (PCG). The members of PCG represented some of the world’s leading data experts, but the name did not adequately represent the skills of the members. Members of PCG were experts in many complementary technologies and many, if not all, were quickly becoming experts in emerging technologies such as Big Data. Because of this, the Professional Consulting Group became the Advanced Technology Consulting Group (ATCG).
As a member of ATCG, my main responsibility is to deliver consulting services to our customers either on site or remotely. Examples of some of the work we might do include: troubleshooting performance problems, migrating databases into Exadata, setting up replication with Oracle GoldenGate, and data integration with numerous sources using Oracle Data Integrator. While all of the items I mentioned deal with Oracle technologies, ATCG also has members who specialize in Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL.
The services we provide to our customers do not stop at traditional database services, ATCG also delivers Big Data services using Hadoop. Examples of some of the Hadoop work I have been involved with include: installing and configuring Cloudera Hadoop, securing Hadoop with Kerberos, and troubleshooting performance. As you can see, ATCG has the opportunity to gain valuable experience across a broad range of technologies.
All of our projects begin with a call with the potential customer. Members of ATCG serve as a technical resource on the call. It is our responsibility to understand the customer’s issue and estimate the effort required to perform the work. Sometimes this can be challenging because the customer might not have a technical resource on their side who can articulately convey the issue. Even if there is a technical resource on the customer’s side, we have to be mindful to not alienate others on the call, so it is vitally important that we are able to convey our message in way everybody on the call can understand.
You might be thinking “I am not a salesperson!” and “I have never used some of these technologies.” You would not be alone. ATCG are not sales people, we simply assist Sales by providing our technical knowledge on a call. Imagine that you are speaking with your boss or customer about a problem or issue – It really is no different. Dealing with new technology is little different at Pythian from your current job; If you don’t understand something, you can talk to a few coworkers or research on the net at your current job. At Pythian we can reach out to 200+ coworkers and find quite a few who have experience with the technology in question. We can search our internal technical documents, which are quite vast as they detail all of the work we have done, and as a last resort we can search the net. At Pythian, you are never alone and you are never without resources.
There are times when we might not have a project to work on, a.k.a. downtime. During our downtime, we can build our knowledge of technologies that we have interest in or that we may need a refresher for. We can practice our new found knowledge assisting other teams. We can help build the Pythian knowledge base by posting blogs and contributing to our internal documentation.
The work in ATCG is very challenging and you are always learning something new, whether it is a new technology or a new way of thinking about a particular topic. Being bored or pigeonholed is not a problem in ATCG; we are involved in some of toughest problems and work with the latest technologies. And when we are not, we are in control of our workday so we can pursue interests in new and emerging database technologies.
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