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Problem Solvers

Peers hack family reunions, decide databases aren’t evil, and use cloud as an accelerator.

By Blair Campbell

July/August 2019

Niels de Bruijn

Niels de Bruijn

Ratingen, Germany

Company/URL: Managing Technology AG

Job title: Business unit manager

Length of time using Oracle products: 18 years

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What interesting challenge have you solved with Oracle solutions? My wife’s family has a reunion every three years, and it always gave me a headache to try to understand the relationships of the relatives. So I obtained a 200-page Word document containing all information about the family in an unstructured way. Of course, this was a perfect fit for Oracle Application Express [Oracle APEX], so I built a web app in four hours, using the hosted Oracle APEX environment on apex.oracle.com, and started to manually enter the data of relatives who lived up to 350 years ago. The result is a nice graphical representation—you can test it out yourself here.

How are you using social media in your work these days? The social apps I use most are Twitter, Slack, and WhatsApp. The hashtag #orclapex on Twitter is especially great, as many Oracle APEX developers are actively using it in their tweets.

What’s your go-to Oracle reference book? Jürgen Sieben’s great book about Oracle APEX, Oracle APEX: Das umfassende Handbuch für Entwickler [Rheinwerk Computing, 2017]—but it’s available only in German. In addition to books, I always go through all the slides from Oracle APEX conferences to keep myself up to date. It also helps that all content from the German Oracle user group [DOAG] can be downloaded freely.

 

Marco Mischke

Marco Mischke

Dresden, Germany

Company/URL: Robotron

Job title: Group lead, database projects

Oracle credentials: Oracle Performance Tuning Expert (Oracle Database 11g), Oracle Real Application Clusters Certified Expert (Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Database 12c)

Length of time using Oracle products: 20 years

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How did you get started in IT? As a teenager, I started machine-programming my old Commodore 64 and learned how computers work at a low level. That led to my study of IT at the Professional Academy in Dresden, and after finishing my studies, I got a job as a DBA at Infineon Technologies AG. My colleagues and I were responsible for roughly 100 production databases running 24/7. Up to that point, I thought databases were evil—I blamed them for performance issues that I was having during the software development stage and later when going live. But I quickly learned that it was my fault for not implementing things properly. I often look back on that experience when I talk to young developers—I can understand them and help them figure out what might be the best approach to solving their problems.

What technology has most changed your life? Mobile computing. It makes work much easier when you’re not bound to an office, but it can be very addictive. You must really force yourself not to use your mobile device constantly for social connection. When I was a child growing up here in Dresden and there were no computers at all, “social connection” meant meeting up in the wild, and there was no stress if you weren’t at home and didn’t answer a phone call.

You’ve taken Oracle University [OU] classes in the past. What led you to do this? I needed a foundation upon which to build my knowledge of Oracle Database. The most useful OU class was Oracle Database Administration I + II. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

 

Francesco Tisiot

Francesco Tisiot

Verona, Italy

Company/URL: Rittman Mead

Job title: Business intelligence technology lead

Length of time using Oracle products: 11 years

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What advice do you have about getting into web development? Be passionate about learning new things. This is a fast-changing world: The paradigms you know today will be different in six months or a year. Studying and experimenting with how various components can work together is what adds some spice to your day-to-day job. And while you learn, try to share what you’re learning. You’ll help other people in the same situation, and you’ll start creating your public profile.

How are you using cloud computing in your work these days? Cloud is pervasive now in everybody’s life. It provides services that used to take weeks or months in seconds or minutes. From a personal point of view, I use cloud as an enabler, allowing me to quickly study new features, integration options, and tools. From a professional/client point of view, it’s both an accelerator and a focus-keeper. It gives the ability to create proofs of concept or full projects on timelines that were unimaginable before and, at the same time, removes almost all the pain related to “keeping systems alive,” which was burning team resources and focus.

What’s the next big thing driving change in your industry? I would say it’s artificial intelligence embedded in analytics. AI and machine learning used to be niche features that only data scientists could handle properly. Analytical platforms such as Oracle Analytics Cloud are now embedding AI in the traditional workflow, democratizing data science, and thus enabling business analysts to gain data- scientist-level insights into the data with the same visual toolset they’ve been using on a daily basis.