Data Engineer Ron van Weverwijk about his Work
What does it mean to be a Data Engineer? Ron van Weverwijk describes his role and where he is currently working on as a Data Engineer at GoDataDriven.
In love with Graph Databases
Data Engineer Ron van Weverwijk still remembers the exact moment he fell in love with graph databases six years ago. Now he is an expert on the topic, organizing Neo4j meetups and helping his colleagues at GoDataDriven whenever they have a graph database-related question.
In the twelve years that I’ve worked in IT, I’ve had an inside look into the production of potatoes, banking and investments, and everything in between. That’s what I like about consultancy; you get to see a lot of different clients and organizations. You learn something new with every project, something you can bring to your next client and discuss with your colleagues.
Six years ago I started working with graph databases at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. I fell in love with them instantly. Up until then, I had worked with tables for back-end data storage, but those relational databases never worked in the way I wanted.
With a graph database, it’s easy to create structure in a complex data landscape. For instance, Google uses graph technology for ranking search results. It calculates which page should be on top of the results based on linkage structures. Graph technology uses a lot of computing power, so at first, it was only available for big companies like Google. Nowadays, it’s a lot cheaper, and so most organizations can afford it.
You can make a graph database out of every situation. The first thing you need is a whiteboard. I use the Neo4j graph platform for building graph databases. I also work with the company to teach courses on using it, and I organize Neo4j meetups as well.
I don’t like courses that rely mostly on slides. Instead, I let the participants talk about what they’re doing and why they need the graph. By the end of the day, they’ve made their own.
A few years ago, I worked with a client on a confidential project that used a lot of data from different sources. Several project leaders from that organization followed my course on Neo4j and recently asked me back to help them implement their ideas.
When you’re working on-site with a client, you eventually collect a few puzzles. Every few weeks, everyone comes to the GoDataDriven office to work on their external projects here.
These days are the best, because discussing a problem with my colleagues always provides new insight, and eventually helps me solve it.
For instance, I’m currently making a Kafka cluster in Kubernetes. Building and configuring the network is the most challenging part for me. Fortunately, I have a few colleagues who have done it before, so I discussed it with them. They guided me in the right direction and helped me get the cluster up and running.
I always thought that I’d wanted to work as a freelancer after working here. But every time I work together with my colleagues, or at every knowledge sharing session, I learn so incredibly much. That doesn’t happen when you work on your own. I can’t imagine leaving GoDataDriven anytime soon.
An expert on Graph Databases, organizing Neo4j meetups and helping his colleagues at GoDataDriven whenever they have a graph database-related question.