Interview with Madina Saitakhmetova

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Madina Saitakhmetova is the author of ETL with Azure Cookbook, we got the chance to sit down with her and find out more about her experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What was your motivation for writing this book?

Madina: I was enjoying my work with Azure and BIML so much that I felt the need to share some of the things I learned and that made my work neat and efficient. I wanted to help readers apply methods that have made a big difference in my work, and help them see how easy it is to start using BIML and Azure.

Q: How long did it take you to write the book?

Madina: Around four months.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Madina: Even though I knew the technology I was writing about, I had to do a lot of research before writing. I wanted to refresh the knowledge in my head in order to make it palatable for the reader and find best examples for the recipes. In my experience, research was taking more time than the real writing.

Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Madina: I see a great potential in Azure and Databricks, and in the future I see how it will allow for even more customization, automation, and control. Azure is very user-friendly, has a lot of coverage in various developer forums and communities, and it has good and responsive support – this is why I believe it will continue to be embraced by increasingly wider developer community.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Madina: This was the first time that I had to write voluminous texts, and I painfully lacked time because of pandemic, young children at home and the job – all happening at the same time. My partner helped me very much by taking the children on the weekend for long walks and letting me concentrate on my writing. So, I have Pavel Tarassov to thank for making it possible to finish this book! It was very important for to have many hours just to myself and to the book to be able to produce anything meaningful. Writing one hour a day just never worked for me. It took one hour just to start my brain engine and set it into right direction.

Q: How do you see these technologies benefiting society in the long run?

Madina: I see how data analytics is becoming more widespread and what great value it brings to our society. It is helping us learn more about ourselves and our world through numbers and data. Using Azure facilitates the growth of data consumption and I see how doing development in Azure requires less and less effort, development tasks will be accomplished faster and have a higher quality and thus many more projects will be able to come to fruition propelling our society to a wider digital coverage.

Q: What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Madina: As I was introduced to the vast expanse of the IT knowledge at the beginning of my career, I remember being petrified by the sheer volume of information that I had to learn and digest. With time, I realized that I needed to learn to filter out meaningful information from the noise to save a lot of time. Time is the most valuable resource and has to be spent wisely. Invest it in the learning activity with the highest efficiency.

  • Find influencers that you want to follow. Usually, they pre-digest and pre-filter a lot of new information and help you get to the point faster. They are an intellectual shortcut to what is important.
  • Understand fundamentals. If the foundation is strong, it is easy to build knowledge on top of it.
  • Practice. Only practicing what you learned will cement the knowledge and lead to deeper understanding.

Q. How do you keep up-to-date on your tech?

Madina: It is important for me to have an interest in the subject, so it usually starts as a research into a problem, trying to find a better solution, or doing a proof of concept. I learn from concrete real life problems – when trying to see how can they be solved differently, in a more efficient, fast, cheap and elegant way.

To get updated in any news in tech, I like to listen to these guys chat in their tech podcast: https://www.kneedeepintech.com/

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Madina: Yes, here: http://aedna-blog.blogspot.com/

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Madina: Cathrine Wilhelmsen’s blog is specializing on both subjects that were covered in the book : ADF and BIML. I love her presentation of both subjects in a clear and concise manner: https://www.cathrinewilhelmsen.net/

I follow Rayis Imayev’s blog for it seems like he often covers same topics that interest me and that I am trying to find a solution to: http://datanrg.blogspot.com/?m=1

Roelant Vos has a great blog that I like to read as well as he has a very detailed explanation for complex concepts: http://roelantvos.com/blog/

You can find Madina’s books on Amazon by clicking on the cover image:

ETL with Azure Cookbook – Available on Amazon.com