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Jamie Thomson

This is the blog of Jamie Thomson, a data mangler in London working for Dunnhumby

New Year, new beginnings

2014 was a year of great change in my personal life and 2015 has begun with a significant change in my work life, I have decided to end my 5-year sojourn into the world of freelancing by taking up a permanent role at Dunnhumby. This is a significant move for me and I wanted to explain why I’d done it (a number of folks have been asking) and to note the implications.

As I alluded above 2014 was a very turbulent year and one that I am glad to put behind me. My experiences in that year have caused me to re-evaluate my priorities in life and I have have taken the decision to “go permie” because it means I can spend more time with my daughters, Bonnie and Nicki; Dunnhumby’s office is not a long commute which means I can be home by 1730 every night – anyone who works in and around London will tell you that that is virtually unheard of and for me it more than justifies losing the obvious benefits of being a freelancer.

Working at Dunnhumby is a great move for me too. For 15 years I’ve built a career in the ETL/Data Integration space where the systems I worked on were all about deriving value from data yet were secondary to the client’s core business. At Dunnhumby data integration is their business and that excites me, I’m going to be Lead Developer on a core system that feeds data to some of the world’s largest retailers (with a little research you can probably guess one of them) so there is a tangible opportunity to contribute to the bottom line. Moreover, its refreshing to go into a meeting where everyone is already talking your language, when shifting, aggregating and managing data is what the company does you invariably find that everyone you speak to has more than a passing appreciation of what you do – that’s a welcome change for me. Can you name another company where someone in HR knows what ETL stands for?

There will be opportunities to push our solution into the cloud and anyone knows me in a work capacity knows that that is an area that excites me. My first aim is to instil my beliefs about continuous integration, unit testing, failing fast, on-demand provisioning and other associated buzzwords into my new team and then lead them on a journey to a truly world class solution. Check back in a few years to see how I did!

One negative aspect of the new role is that my 15 year association with SQL Server has reached a hiatus. The system I’m working on is built on Hadoop, there’s no SQL Server in sight and that saddens me. I’ve loved every minute of my involvement with SQL Server and have met some wonderful people on that journey, some of whom have become very close friends. On the positive side my SQL Server experience is not going to go to waste as I’ll still be writing SQL day-in, day-out (on Hive and Impala) and the principles that I stand by when I build ETL solutions apply equally in a none-SQL Server landscape. I’m looking forward to learning more about the other half live.

Blogging about SQL Server and associated interests has been an intrinsic part of my life for the last ten years and in many ways has come to define who I am, I wonder now how it will continue. I admit that my desire to blog has waned somewhat since the heady days of 2006 and 2007 when I was averaging almost one blog post every two days but I’m hoping I still have that spark that persuades me to commit my learnings in writing from time to time. I’ll also keep answering questions on the SSDT forum as I’m still a massive fan of that toolset and believe that its differentiating value to SQL Server hasn’t been realised as it should.

Not much else to say on this subject really. See you on the other side. Or on Twitter, you can’t keep me quiet on there.


Published Tuesday, January 6, 2015 9:58 PM by jamiet

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Tim Toennies said:

I will be very interested in hearing about your transition to this new role.  I have a background in SQL Server & SSIS and need to ramp up on the exact technologies you are facing so I'm eager to hear about what works well and doesn't.

Good luck in your new endeavor.

January 6, 2015 4:55 PM

RichB said:

re the commute - I know the feeling.  Binned a 2 hour each way for a 10 minutes door to door... pay cut for it stung, but the sheer free time makes up for it, as does not shelling out to southwest trains!  Bath time every night with the little one etc.  Magic.

January 7, 2015 4:18 AM

Mike Henderson said:

Good luck.

When I first started working on a BI team, everyone around me hated SSIS. I didn't get that. I found your blog reassuring, if for no other reason, because there was someone else thinking on my level.

January 7, 2015 7:55 AM

Alejandro Mesa said:

Best wishes in your new position, Jamie!

January 7, 2015 9:32 AM

Joshbooker said:

Good Luck Jamie!  Thanks for your hard work and sharing. This blog continues to be a great resource for SSIS & SSDT - you're contributions to the community will be sorely missed.  Thank you for what you've done!

PS.. For those of us who are sticking with MSFT, could you post a list of SSIS & SSDT experts that you follow?

Cheers and best wishes!

January 7, 2015 9:57 AM

andyleonard said:

Hi Jamie,

  First, thank you for teaching me so much about data integration, SSIS, and SQL Server. You, Adam Machanic, and Matt Masson have taught me more than anyone else about this field we love. A few times, I've discovered something "new" about SSIS and even blogged about it, only to learn you blogged about the same functionality months (or years!) earlier.

  I am (selfishly) saddened to read your interest and engagement may be shifting. :(

  Second, I wish you well in this new endeavor. As a Dad, I identify with career-impacting decisions in the best interests of family. Kudos to you for making this courageous decision. I believe your daughters will benefit from having their Dad around more. They're beautiful, by the way - they obviously take after their mother! ;)

  Third, I would like to make an appointment now for us to meet during the second week of September 2015. I will be in London then and I missed not being able to connect with you last September. I still owe you several pints!

  I know you will do well in whatever you do, sir. I see you've already posted since this message; I sincerely hope you continue to share in this forum.


January 7, 2015 12:14 PM

Davide Mauri said:

All the best Jamie!!!!!!

January 7, 2015 12:21 PM

Iyas said:

Brave (which is not a foreign concept to you) and makes perfect sense (...).

I'm sure you'll be as big a success in Hadoop as you were in MSFT SS, and I look forward to reading up about it - I'd like  to know a lot more about it than I do, and given your usual thoroughness and quest for detailed knowledge, I'm sure if you choose to post about it, your blog will be an authority resource at some point in the not too distant.

Good luck mate.

January 7, 2015 1:46 PM

KKline said:

Despite how awesome and cool we think our work is, being a great dad is our most important job. And our most meaningful and lasting contribution to the world. I'm glad to know that you're putting first things first. Too many of us shortchange ourselves without knowing it.

I'll miss your insights data integration, SSIS, and SQL Server, Jamie. But I hope to learn new insights from you about Hive and Impala! You've been a bulwark of the SQL Server community. And you deserve praise for your great community spirit, helpfulness, and instruction. I feel like that's who you are - and the you'll be doing similar good things for this new areas of endeavor.

Now, I'm going to have to find out more about Dunnhumby!


January 8, 2015 11:53 AM

mjswart said:

Congratulations on your new adventure Jamie. I wish you luck.

January 14, 2015 3:40 PM

jamiet said:

Thanks for all the kind thoughts folks, I'm genuinely touched, particularly by what Iyas, Andy & Kevin had to say.

Andy, 2nd week of September, its a date!

January 23, 2015 10:48 AM

B4PJS said:

Really not sure how I missed this but this is a great loss for the SSIS community but a gain for the Hive and Impala community. Hope to meet up for beers at some point soon.


July 1, 2015 10:43 AM

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