Interview with Monika Wahi

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Monika Wahi is the author of Mastering SAS Programming for Data Warehousing, we got the chance to sit down with her and find out more about her experience of writing with Packt.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey…

Monika: I was thinking about it was ironic that SAS is necessary for big data analytics, but there was no good modern (post-internet) reference on how to make a SAS data warehouse. Every time I tried to teach others how to fix their SAS data warehouse, they were always surprised by what I said. I could never find any references to what I was talking about online to provide these learners. I felt frustrated – like I had to keep re-explaining the same thing, over and over. Just then, as if by magic, Karan Gupta from Packt contacted me inviting me to write a book on advanced SAS. I insisted that “advanced SAS” can’t be learned without a specific context, and argued that the context should be big data warehousing. After all, that is what SAS is all about – making big data warehouses! I guess I was pretty passionate. I convinced Karan who convinced the others at Packt, and the rest is history!

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

Monika: I am a disciplined writer, so I follow a schedule. I started in December 2019, and completed it on time, in October 2020.

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

Monika: When you write a book or create an online course, the publisher makes you fill out a pretty detailed outline. When I do that, I actually do a LOT of research. I get ideas together for actual examples, tables, and images I want to talk about in each chapter. I take a lot of notes. The process of me working with the publisher to develop the perfect outline (and for me to create extensive notes) actually took about six weeks. I spend a lot of time on this part because I know it sets the stage for a good writing process.

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

Monika: I did have a setback in my writing schedule, when George Floyd was killed. I am from Minneapolis and used to protest police killings at the same general location in the 1990s. I was very traumatized, even though I had moved to Boston. The images in the media and the following unrest were too hard to take in. I could not write for a month! But then I got my groove back, and finished the book.

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

Monika: My tip is to figure out your learning style, then seek out resources that help. Some people learn from books, while others do better with videos. Some learn by watching first, while others have to try something hands-on first. Find out the most efficient learning process for you, then seek out those resources. There is so much available online, and much of it is free!

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

Monika: I like to follow Data Science Central, and read highlights from their digest: https://www.datasciencecentral.com/

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

Monika: Yes, visit the following page: https://dethwench.com/blog/

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

Monika: SAS itself has a great blog where they give write out examples and give information about their software: https://blogs.sas.com/content/
Also, I encourage users to attend their local SAS User Groups: https://www.sas.com/en_us/connect/user-groups/find-a-group.html

How would you describe you author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Monika: I had written one book prior to Packt. The main difference with Packt is that there was a large team supporting me. In my previous book, I had reviewers and a great editor, but with Packt, there are people to provide all kinds of guidance: marketing support and advice, formatting help, and very careful copy editing. With Packt, I had a stronger feeling that there were no errors in the book, simply because so many people had read it and ensured its accuracy. That is a great feeling, so if you are thinking of authoring a book on technology for the first time, I am sure you will have a good beginner’s experience with Packt!

You can find Monika’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Mastering SAS Programming for Data Warehousing – Available on Amazon.com