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Category: Learning

Detecting a Fraud: Power BI Edition

Brett Powell has an interesting post on determining a Power BI consultant’s chops:

This post discusses the forms, origins, and indications of fraud and misrepresentation in the context of Power BI consulting and contract engagements. The intent of this content is to help the reader determine whether a fraud or misrepresentation has occurred and identify characteristics that suggest the potential for a significant variance between expectations and deliverables.

Brett comes at this from the viewpoint of an expert sharing information on the types of things you should expect to see from a qualified consultant. Incidentally, this also works to give you an idea of the types of skills necessary to become a Power BI consultant so if that’s your goal, study this and you’ll be in a solid mindset—especially because this isn’t just a knowledge quiz.

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The Importance of SQL for Data-Related Jobs

Camila Henrique explains the importance of knowing SQL:

I wanted to talk about this because I see a lot of doubts and lack of direction from people who are either beginning now in IT land or thinking about switching careers. The short answer to “do I need to know SQL for a data job?” , is yes. In the next few paragraphs I explain why I think so.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the fancy programming languages and methodologies for projects that sometimes the basics… are just not there. I believe having a good foundation opens paths to other doors that you could not see before. And I’m certain that SQL is one hell of a foundation to have in the data land.

This is also a good time to slip in a reminder of Feasel’s Law.

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Categorizing Why Bugs Can Be Tricky

Julia Evans has a list:

Hello! I’m very slowly working on writing a zine about debugging, so I asked on Twitter the other day:

If you’ve run into a bug where it felt “impossible” to understand what was happening – what made it feel that way?

Of course, bugs always happen for logical reasons, but I’ve definitely run into bugs that felt like they might be impossible for me to understand (until I figured them out!)

I got about 400 responses, which I’ll try to summarize here. I’m not going to talk about how to deal with these various kinds of “impossible” bugs in this post, I’ll just try to classify them.

Click through for the major categories, as well as explanations and sub-categories. I think an interesting follow-up to this is to ask why we find ourselves in situations where we get these sorts of bugs and what (if anything) we can do to minimize or eliminate the likelihood of their appearance.

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The Enterprise Eats Software

Jessica Kerr explains why software from large firms is so often terrible:

Software is hard to get right. And every time we don’t, customers leave.

Appointment scheduling that sends a calendar invitation “Join the Zoom” without a link. Checkout screens that delete my credit card number when I change the shipping address. Complete Order that comes back with “Please try again later.” Items can’t all be shipped, can’t all be picked up, and this is a maze to figure out (also Lowe’s). A shopping cart that pops up a generic error modal when any single call to the server fails.

Read the whole thing. A lot of this sounds like an incentive alignment problem: each sub-group within a large firm optimizes for its own benefits, but the sum total of those choices leads to a sub-optimal result for the firm itself, as in the case of bad software driving customers to Amazon.

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Senior DBA Job Questions

Joey D’Antoni shares some sample job interview questions for hiring a senior DBA:

In my role as a consultant, it’s rare that I go on an interview anymore, though I occasionally get interviewed by a client, or interview potential DBAs for clients as part of my role. There are a number of these lists on the internet, but many of them are old and focus on trivia questions (there won’t be any questions on what’s clustered versus nonclustered index, but if you are interviewing for a senior role, you should know that anyway. I also like to focus on open ended questions, to gauge the depth of knowledge of the person I’m interviewing.

I will say that when hiring on the database engineer (i.e., development) side, the questions I love best aren’t trick questions; they’re experiential questions. For example, “Here is a common type of problem we need to solve. What would you do in this scenario?” And then we can dive in. As a quick example of one, “You’ve just taken over ownership of a database where most of the clustered index keys are uniqueidentifiers. Would you consider GUIDs a good clustered index candidate?” Then we can talk about yes or no, what makes for a good clustered index, and how you might go about changing it. Oh, and I’ll admit that my thought on this question has changed since Jeff Moden’s outstanding presentation on the topic.

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Learning the Basics of Kafka via Notebook

Francesco Tisiot shares a way to learn about the basics of Apache Kafka using Jupyter notebooks:

One of the best ways to learn a new technology is to try it within an assisted environment that anybody can replicate and get working within few minutes. Notebooks represent an excellence in this field by allowing people to share and use pre-built content which includes written descriptions, media and executable code in a single page.

This blog post aims to teach you the basics of Apache Kafka Producers and Consumers through building an interactive notebook in Python. If you want to browse a full ready-made solution instead, check out our dedicated github repository.

The classic tutorials tend to use a couple command prompts and the built-in producer and consumer shell scripts. I like this approach as a way of being able to review the code and results later as a refresher.

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Service Endpoints in Azure SQL Database

Mike Wood takes us through service endpoints in Azure:

In previous installments of my “Securing Azure SQL Database” series, I covered Azure SQL Database firewall rules and private endpoints—the first of which is a way to help reduce the public exposure of your database endpoint and the second being a means to remove all public access if necessary. Each option has unique benefits, and some scenarios might call for a mix of the two options.

In this blog post, I’ll cover a third option for securing Azure SQL Database—service endpoints. This option is similar to private endpoints in that you restrict public access and only grant access to the database through your Virtual Network (VNet).

Read on to learn more.

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Getting Good Feedback

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic explains how to get feedback:

We recently kicked off a new 10-week course, which has been really fun to develop, because it’s both longer than our typical workshops and spread out over a greater amount time. Combining these aspects means that we get to cover more topics related to data storytelling and go into greater depth on each. We kicked things off with a focus on feedback, due to the important role this will play throughout the course, and the critical role it plays in our skill development and efforts to communicate effectively with data in general.

There’s some good advice in here.

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