“Don’t just build. Build with purpose to solve problems that will move a business forward.” Off the bat, RevGen Partners’ Senior Architect Andy Vold cuts right to the heart of every data initiative.
“Data needs to be integrated and aligned with the goals of an organization. Businesses constantly change, and therefore so should the direction of the data needs. There should be a data strategy in place to anticipate that.”
Andy has seen how technology and data can transform an entire industry. “I was working in the commercial printing industry prior to RevGen. Printing had been declining ever since the day I entered it, due to the rise of the internet. While working at my last print shop, I helped build reports on our management information system and was also working with variable printing and mailing materials. All of this was driven by databases.
“When I found myself unemployed in 2009 with only a few remaining print shops to work for in Denver, I decided to pursue a career path in database management because of this experience. I felt this would open some doors for me.”
Over a decade later, Andy remains excited by the potential of the field. “There are so many things happening, it’s hard to keep up with all of it. Lately, all of the cloud capabilities have been the most exciting. The speed at which things can happen now and the ability to downsize or upsize the computing power and storage — it just makes things so much easier.”
Projections have the cloud computing market hitting over $1.6 trillion by 2030, with much of that market size driven by companies shifting their existing infrastructure towards cloud-based or hybrid models. Of course, change on this scale is not without its problems. Cybersecurity and an increased focus on data privacy has made navigating the world of the cloud difficult for many businesses.
RevGen has seen this growth affect our clients as well. With so many options available, many organizations aren’t sure where the business value lies for them.
“My experience is in architecting and building custom databases, ETL jobs, and reports to help solve a business problem or give the business insight into their data. To build these systems, we first have to understand the client’s problem, or the goal they have for using this data. Only then can we move on to finding and reviewing available data, architecting a solution, and implementing it.”
No matter what the goal of a data initiative is, for Andy it always comes back to one thing: listening to a client’s needs. “[The key to success] is understanding the problem. Understanding and driving good requirements.”
And of course, one aspect anyone who has worked with data can relate to: “You have to document your code and decisions, for others — and yourself.”
“I think technologies will just keep coming,” he continues, “that make it easier and faster to deliver better data and experiences. I think cloud will stick around for a while and providers will just keep refining and adding features that assist delivery and quality.”
With the rapid change in the industry, Andy knows first-hand how difficult it can be to start a career in data architecture. His advice? Remember your basics.
“Learn the core concepts. There are so many different technologies these days, but really, they are all being used to accomplish very similar concepts and patterns.”
Once again, he stresses the need to listen. “Also, be very open to understanding the problem or business use case. In my opinion, you will always build a better product if you understand what it is doing.”
Andy Vold is a Senior Architect and RevGen data enthusiast who knows exactly how important a solid strategic foundation is to building more complex data and analytics solutions.
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