I have a fascination for data. For the manipulation of data, the extraction of information and just the sheer thrill and challenge of grappling with data. Especially raw data. Looking back on my early studies, this is what I loved about chemistry. It wasn’t so much the chemistry itself (although being on the raw-edge of development is always exciting!), it was the process of obtaining and analysing large sets of data that I really enjoyed. It is no wonder that I ended up returning to studies and focusing on Information Systems.
Now, I am a DBA. Why? Because I believe I have an enormous amount to learn about managing data. I believe a lot of scientists have a throw-away mentality towards data and the analysis of data. Experiments should be repeatable, therefore data sets can often be reproduced. Experiments are also, by definition, experimental. So it isn’t surprising to observe scientists running ‘adhoc’ analysis routines and discarding the results or, simply writing them to file – never to be seen again. As a DBA I can appreciate the enormous challenge of managing and maintaining data. I can see a lot of potential for storing data in a model that makes it accessible, usable and potentially informative.
I am increasingly aware that data underpins almost every facet of our lives, both professional and recreational. The science of data is now truly ubiquitous, and almost exclusively multidisciplinary (forgive the pun). Science is no longer performed by scientists alone, it involves programmers, analysts and storage experts. I look back at my years studying and realise the two fields are not disjoint but in fact perfectly compatible. Am I still a scientist at heart? Almost definitely. But not a chemist anymore. I am a DBA, who has a passion for data manipulation and analysis. In the areas of data extraction, transformation and analysis I have a lot yet to learn but am increasingly excited in my growing awareness of this data-centric world we live in.