Tag Archives: data modeling

Stunned and In Denial

No, I’m not talking about the election, or how handgun silencers are being de-regulated under the Hearing Protection Act (what’s next, rape is ok, under the Blue Balls Elimination Initiative?).

My entire JOB, Data Modeling, which ten of us do, along with two other jobs (about 100 people total) is being eliminated at ‘Large Southern Retailer’, where I work. Or will work for the next 19 days, anyway. We’ve been invited to take a severance package (which they have not detailed to us yet, though no one has called it “generous”), or we can apply for one of several other jobs, none of which we are trained in, qualified for, nor remotely interested in. And this is all happening by 30 January.

I’ve been a Data Modeler for 13 years. I’m pretty good at it, I understand it, and its role in the life cycle of big corporate data. Unfortunately, it’s the only thing I know how to do. I don’t speak Java. I don’t agile. And I sure as hell don’t pair-anything. (Keep your damned hands off my keyboard.)  

My boss was walked out yesterday morning by HR; no warning, no explanation, and no time for goodbye. And it wasn’t until about 4 hours later that anyone said ANYTHING to us about what was going to happen to us, and STILL, a day later, no one has said anything to us about our boss. Class act, huh? 

Anyway…whine whine whine. At least I have my health!  ðŸ˜‰

Bad Data

Not me, actual DATA in databases.

Is it just me or is there a distinct lack of common sense within the software development community? I’m being requested to create a table that holds shipping data for a major retailer. For the shipment weight column, they want the datatype (the size of the data) to be a decimal of size 21,4 – which looks like this:


That field will hold a maximum of 99 QUADRILLION POUNDS. For one shipment. Can someone tell me what sort of truck, ship, plane or railroad car can hold 99 quadrillion lbs? THINK PEOPLE, THINK. This is GIBBERISH. You have BAD DATA. Do some research, find out where it came from and get rid of it. Don’t just let it propagate around the enterprise!

I recently had the same thing happen with an hourly rate for repair service. A size of 17,4 they wanted. So they think they will need to accommodate a repairman who’s going to charge someone $9,999,999,999,999.9999 (nine TRILLION dollars) PER HOUR for a repair. PER HOUR. Actually, I didn’t question that one, because honestly, repairs ARE expensive!

So in response to today’s NaBloPoMoPro, What do you hope people remember about you after you’re gone?, I would like people to remember that I had at least a BIT of common sense. It seems to be rare these days.



Featured image credit: http://www.zdnet.com

What On Earth Is Data Modeling?

Thanks for the prompt that produced this post must go to Grasping For Words, who wanted to know what “data modeling” is. I’ve only been doing it for 11 years, so I’m not sure I can answer fully, but I’ll give it a shot.

Let’s say you are a bookstore, and you want a database to keep track of inventory, sales, customers, orders, etc. everything about your business.

You’ll have information about all the books you sell in your store, and you might want to include information about their authors, too. But you wouldn’t want to repeat everything about an author for each of his books – space costs money, don’t waste it. So your data modeler is going to put your book-data in one place, and your author-data in another, and build a connection point so you can know THIS author wrote THESE books, and THIS book was written by THIS author.

Data modeling ( aka data architecture) is making the decisions about which data goes where, and how it should relate to all your other data. The key goals are to use your space most efficiently, and relate things properly so you can get to them and use them as quickly as possible.

That’s pretty simplistic, but basically that’s what it is. Of course, it’s very rare that you get to start from scratch like that and decide things yourself. Most of the time you’re making tweaks on something that was done badly, a long time ago. 🙂

And what I REALLY do all day is argue with the software developers who can’t or won’t see that MY WAY IS RIGHT AND THEIR WAY IS KLUDGY AND STUPID AND WRONG AND WILL LEAD TO REWORK FOR ALL OF US. Sigh.

I hope that answered your question, Melayne… and don’t let me scare you, I.T. is FUN!!!