Making a Data-Driven Decision

We make decisions all the time. Most are simple – diet or regular, paper or plastic, beach or mountains. But some decisions are complicated – and not because of the choice – but because of all the things you choose against when you make that choice. And in fact, the more choices we have, the…

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A Writer’s Toolkit

Even in a technical role, communication is paramount. If you don’t read widely and communicate well, your progression suffers. And one of the primary modes of communication is writing. I’ve written several books, articles and blogs (see “Publications” on this page), but it isn’t just writing books that requires clear communication skills. You should learn to write well for something as trivial…

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The Data Science Laboratory Series is Complete

I wrote a series of articles on creating a Data Science Laboratory over on Simple-Talk – you can find the complete list of articles below. The series covers installing various software tools and packages on a Virtual Machine running the Windows operating system. I think there’s no substitute for installing, configuring and experimenting with various…

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Using Outlook Tasks for a Performance Review

At Microsoft, we have a performance review twice a year to ensure we’re on track towards meeting the goals that we set up at the beginning of the year with our manager. I’ve been a manager multiple times in my career, so I’ve been on both sides of the table during this review. The results…

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Have a mentor, be a mentor

 The word “Mentor” actually comes from Greek literature – it’s a character from “The Odyssey”. He advised Odysseus and Telemachus, and the word seems to derive from a term meaning “intent, purpose, spirit, passion”. We often think of a mentor in the business sense – but some folks I’ve talked with aren’t sure what a…

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Staying Current on Technology for your Organization

As a Technical Professional, your company, firm, group or organization looks to you for guidance on their technical systems. You’re expected to apply the best technology solutions that you can to a given business or science problem or opportunity. That can be quite difficult to do. If you are in a vertical knowledge role, expected…

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Buck Woody is Changing Jobs

Recently I read an article (http://lifehacker.com/is-it-bad-to-stay-at-one-company-for-very-long-1295782130) that stated that if you are at the same company for more than a few years, it will harm your career. I don’t agree – consider any successful CEO, musician, or master-level craftsperson – those people may have been doing the same thing for decades. They certainly haven’t damaged their…

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Link List: Becoming a Data Professional

Whenever I present at a conference, I try and make sure to include references to the topics I discuss in the session. That means you either need a lot of handouts, or I need to wait for you to take lots of notes. While note-taking is essential, writing out web links (especially long ones) is…

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How Does the Cloud Change a Developer’s Job?

I’ve recently posted a blog on how cloud computing would change the Systems Architect’s role in an organization, another on how the cloud changes a Database Administrator’s job, and the last post dealt with the Systems Administrator. In this post I’ll cover the changes facing the Software Developer when using the cloud. The software developer…

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How Does the Cloud Change a Systems Administrator’s Job?

I recently posted a blog entry on how cloud computing would change the Systems Architect’s role in an organization, and another on how the cloud changes a database administrator’s job. This time I’ll cover a few of the changes the cloud brings for the Systems Administrator. The systems administrator shares some similarity with the database…

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