Based on my experience in startups

Western Scene — Depicting the famous “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

I’m 36 and been working exclusively with startup and small companies for my 18 year tech career so far.

First off, startups are chaotic, hard work, occasional long days and nights, full of mistakes, highs and lows fraught with problems…. but I wouldn’t change it for the world. They’re definitely not for everyone, if you want a 9–5 and a stable job, then perhaps startup world isn’t for you. One thing startups don’t lack is passion, passion from the top down, passion from leadership bleeds into the employees.

I’ve gone through several roles in…

What are the benefits to becoming AWS certified?

AWS Certified

Professional Development

It started to become apparent to me that all of my current knowledge had come from being self taught and on the job learning, but now was not actively learning anything new. So I started to look into opportunities for learning which is where I found out about AWS certification. As of writing this there are currently 11 live certifications on AWS available (soon to be 12 once the new exam is released in April 2020).

As I went down the initial path of AWS certification I started to realize how much…

Having moved out of the city and buying a new home came with great advantages of quieter neighbourhood and more house for your money, it also came with the disadvantage of needing to commute downtown. With my wife getting a new job also out of downtown meant sharing a car was no longer viable, so onto the bus it was for me and what came with that was 1.5 hours a day of travel….

Work Commute

Initially the commute seemed ok, I’d throw on a Netflix show or something to occupy my mind. I don’t typically watch a lot of shows but…


BigQuery is a massively scalable columnar data warehouse solution provided by Google, their on-demand costing is based on a $5 per TB of data scanned. With many additional perks from public data sets to machine learning queries, this article is intended to focus on the cost saving approaches I have personally applied and implemented over the years in BigQuery.

This writeup is based on Standard SQL and with the on-demand pricing model but does have an explanation on the flat-rate option too for customers worried about unpredictable pricing.

1) Partitioning

As of writing this article BigQuery supports three main methods of partitioning…

Data visualization is key to exploring your data or telling a story, it can take many forms and picking the right visual for the right story or data type is critical. Below I’ve outlined some of the simple charting and data types and is hopefully helpful for understanding the different uses and an introduction into data visualization.

When visualizing data it is useful to keep the following 3 key areas in mind

Tell a Story

Make sure you are telling a story, your visualization should have a purpose and be clear to the end user what story you are telling. There should be…

Having worked in many different working environments ranging from the office, home and coffee shops over the last 18 years in both full time and freelance roles. The below are various ways over the years I have identified how to be most productive and avoid distractions, while you can implement them when you’re wanting to be most productive you can also try and implement them generally, after all who doesn’t want to use their time the most efficiently?

You will never totally remove distractions, but understanding where distractions are coming from, acknowledging them and learning to reduce them is the…

Below are some areas I have seen be issues over the years or items that have been implemented as proactive measures or just general best practice to ensure that security is as tight as it can be. Never think that a security breach will never happen to you, if you’re not security focused you’re an easy target and it will be more likely to eventually happen to you if it hasn’t already.

Average cost of a data breach $3.92 Million

Ponemon Institute

Be Mindful of Phishing

This article outlines at a high level how to visualize geolocation data (using latitude and longitude coordinates) In this example we’ll combine a few different services across two cloud providers (Google and AWS) ranging from Google Maps API, Google BigQuery, AWS S3 for Hosting the data source and then finally for the visualization this can be hosted anywhere but in this example I have used AWS S3 bucket for web hosting. …

In this article I’ll go over the high-level principles of CI/CD and touch on some specific tools and services within AWS, but the key here is not the tool or platform used but the advantage and importance of CI/CD.


  • Speed up deployment and ability to deploy often, fix bugs and add new features
  • Automation with no manual mistakes, once a commit is made, fully automated through the pipeline
  • Working software by automating test and deployment process to reduce errors
  • Reduce Costs as you don’t have to spend time debugging problems, rolling back releases or manually interacting with the deployment process

The easiest way to sum up serverless is that it’s a solution where you don’t have to worry about the servers running behind your application or architecture and as far as you’re concerned there are no servers, thus “serverless”. This allows you the benefit of being able to focus on functionality to the end user and not have to focus on the complexities of what goes into the decisions of the infrastructure build and considerations.

Firstly serverless isn’t an option for every situation, however for brand new projects without any previous dependancies then serverless is definitely worth reviewing. It also…

Rob Larter

Writing about tech, data and analytics along with my personal growth and constant pursuit of betterment in a startup world

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