SQL Love — created with wordart.com

I recently read a great article by the esteemed @craigkerstiens describing why he feels SQL is such a valuable skill for developers. This topic really resonated with me. It lined up well with notes I’d already started sketching out for a similar article about developing a love for data.

The more I fleshed out my topic, however, the more I realized that many of my points and examples seemed to be centering around SQL. Reading Craig’s article convinced me to redirect my focus and talk more about why I personally have such an affinity for SQL.

In short, Craig makes…


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We all face them, eventually. Maybe it’s a boss, a coworker, a customer, or even a relative. They’re just difficult people. Thorny, short-tempered, moody, negative…pick your adjective.

I know I face them. In my capacity as a software engineer for a startup company, I get to interact with all sorts of personalities and meet people across the nation in a broad range of roles such as analysts, programmers, physicians, hospital administrators, and c-level executives. What a privilege it is to meet so many amazing people — even though mostly in a virtual capacity — and to get a tiny glimpse…


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Confession and Resolution

My approach used to be total procrastination, and I would wait until the end of a project (if at all) to address documentation. By the end of any decent-sized project, I felt overwhelmed going back to the start of what I had built in order to document it well.

I even found that my mediocre documentation attempts were failing at times simply because I had lost touch with the evolutionary subject matter understanding I had developed over the course of the project. This evolutionary knowledge is really, really important to capture, because it represents the ingredients for accurate documentation.

In…


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You’ve probably heard this saying before, in one form or another:

“Being early is being on time. Being on time is being late.”

This is how I live my life. I simply cannot stand to be late for anything. For some it can seem extreme. After all, why show up early if there is a published “start time”.

I get it.

I have to admit that punctuality is never something I struggled with. I’m not sure why, honestly. Perhaps it’s because when I was a kid I was always curious and never wanted to miss out on anything. …


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Task tedium.

This is what I call my daily battle with a seemingly insurmountable list of tasks. I feel it captures the state in which I constantly find myself. Facing a pile of to-dos that only grows and never seems to shrink.

And it truly is a battle. How to manage them, how to organize them, and (most difficult) how to prioritize them.

From the strategic and complex to the tactical and mundane. My list has them all. Much like naming things in software engineering is hard, I feel that task management is one of those hard things in life.

Task management…


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Have you ever needed to seed a database with random, yet realistic, data for the purposes of testing, demonstration, or training? It’s a very common requirement, and one I have faced many times.

It doesn’t take long in the development timeline before someone needs to test with “real” data. Since my role in past projects has almost exclusively been oriented around the data tier of whatever solution was being created, this responsibility rested primarily on my shoulders.

Where did I turn? Naturally, to the programming language I knew best: SQL.

It’s pretty amazing — no, fascinating — what you can…


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This article was first written in 2009 during my time as a consultant for a boutique data and analytics firm located in the DFW Metroplex area. Originally titled, “OLAP Friendly OLTP Design: Planning Ahead For The Inevitable Data Warehouse”, the points were simply that data has inherent value, you’re collecting it in a database for a reason, and eventually someone will either love you or hate you when they are tasked with extracting it from this database you’re designing, so do it well.

When I dug up this article recently, I thought it was interesting to see how things really…


How to use gaps in understanding as an opportunity to educate.

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Tell me if you’ve been here before. You’re in a meeting or on a conference call, and you’re in the groove. You’re deep into the weeds, talking details about the matter at hand with your colleagues. You’re actually making progress.

Then it happens.

It suddenly becomes immediately clear that not everyone is on the same page. You thought they were right there with you, and perhaps they were…up to a point. Then comes a question that makes it obvious you lost them a while back. Ugh.

Don’t get frustrated! You have just uncovered a gap in understanding that needs to…


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If you’re reading this, chances are something about the title tugged on your conscience.

How many times do we go through the day ignoring the strangers that pass us by. How many times do we merely tolerate the people in our lives who aren’t strangers? I get it, people can be very difficult.

“Life would be easy if it weren’t for all the other people.”

Well said, whoever it was that said that. It’s true that dealing with people is one of the most challenging aspects of life. …


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It’s hard to believe that 2018 is coming to a close, and I’m reflecting back over all that we have accomplished this year as a company. From my vantage point at Graphium Health, I can see so many great accomplishments this past year. Given my area of primary responsibility, I feel it’s only fitting to highlight the large scale infrastructure migration we completed in November as my personal favorite among 2018 feats. …

Matthew Oldham

Passionate about data and technology and using both to solve problems in unique and innovative ways | Lover of good writing | VP Engineering at Graphium Health

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