I have been an software engineer and manager for many years in high tech, originally with Bell-Northern Research back in Canada, then with Cisco when I moved to the San Francisco bay area from Ottawa, Canada during the exciting times in Silicon Valley before the bubble burst in 2000-2001.
My passion for data started slowly but grew steadily as I worked to understand what the issues were with the software, hardware, services and processes related to the products that I or my team were working on. I started by becoming an expert with Excel, then learning Visual Basic to create elaborate macros to manipulate the data, and created spreadsheets and linked spreadsheets of 10s of MBs and pushing the envelope of Excel's capability back in the day when it could not even handle 1MB of data.
Then I moved to Tableau when I took over the management of a business intelligence team looking for ways to 1) handle larger amounts of data, 2) quickly gain insights into a given area with improved visualization and data processing, and 3) communicate or share these insights so that the leaders could understand what the data meant and would be willing to take or support the required action. In this BI management role is when I gained my interest in Data Science. I realized I needed better methods for analyzing, visualizing, and communicating the data so that the resulting data-based message was meaningful and thought provoking.
Although data analysis was only part of the engineering and operations jobs I have had over the years, it was the most rewarding and exciting part of the jobs. So when I was laid off in 2014, I had the opportunity to give some focused thought about what did I wanted to do next. It was not long before I was applying for data science programs and starting to get myself ready to pursue a master's degree in Data Science, while also looking for my next professional endeavor.
I'm very fortunate to be living this dream at Berkeley's School of Information and I look forward to meeting and working with many of you in the coming months and years.