Data Engineering

I’ve been teaching a course on database management systems for about six years now. We cover relational theory, SQL, normalization, MySQL, data modeling, Python, Jupyter, Docker, and PySpark. It’s a great class, and a lot of my students find their way into wonderful careers because of the skills they pick up.

Personally and professionally, I’ve always focused on the low-level, the technical. Even when I write code, I’m more fascinated by the syntax and nuances of the language than by the frameworks and toolkits that enable useful features. My interest in data science follows the same pattern: I focus most on the data scraping, the data management, the code and performance issues.

But this video of David McCandless inspired me! What a beautiful display of data and information. This is how data science can be used to drive decisions and spur us to action.

Beyond beauty, David’s presentation focuses on the context of data and the meaning behind the shapes and numbers. He provides useful comparisons, and rightly calls out the media for almost completely failing to do so.

How much is a billion dollars? What does it mean that a volcano spewed tons of CO2 into the atmosphere? Context and comparison can provide answers and motivate appropriate responses. When the news consumer has an understand of quantities and relationships, the news itself takes on a whole new, deeper meaning.

Data dashboards like and tableau allow the to assemble widgets into live presentations that change as new data comes in. Graphical libraries like D3 let the user create beautiful visualizations of data.

Data is coming to life!

Hire a Senior Developer

Well, folks, this isn’t the post I wanted to be writing.

My employer, Nyla Technology Solutions, is laying off me and two of my coworkers. I am now job-hunting with immediate effect, so to speak.

As a senior software developer, I bring over 25 years of experience in software development and nearly 15 years of experience in teaching graduate and undergraduate-level computer science courses at the university level. I love code, and I love to talk code.

I work and live in southern Virginia, but I am open to remote work with some travel.

Please find me on LinkedIn if you have any interest or if you just want to connect.

And wish me luck!

P.S. I’m attaching more links for the interested head-hunter.

See that pretty resume? My work history and education boiled down to one page, complete with infographics! Connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at I’ll be happy to provide one for interested recruiters.

I’m active on StackOverflow and HackerRank as well. If I experience any down time between jobs, I’ll start creating some open-source projects on GitHub and posting the tutorials here. 😄

— Mike J (from VA)