Bicycle mechanic, yes, they actually exist!
Find them very useful myself!
Data mining is a growing business, no doubt about that.
Couple of points though…
There are vast amounts of data being produced at the moment. Vast amounts. So theres lots of work.
However, a lot of the work being done is automated (and therefore shoddy) so you’ll end up being a software specialist rather than actually data mining.
Data is data true, but you have to know the data youre dealing with.
For example you can run a query on shopping database and another on a movement database and what you get is more data.
Unless you can understand what the data means youre just another producer of data. You need a good grounding in a particular area to understand the input and output data.
Data mining is evil.
You will be dissecting the lives and habits of people; perhaps discovering things they dont know about themselves.
You may be making predictions about things, statistically speaking.
On the whole, I’ll make this prediction about the industry.
Within 20 years a data miner will be hauled up for/ implicated in/ charged with facilitating, crimes against humanity.
Some faceless geek with a pony tail will crunch numbers and facilitate a genocide. He probably wont know hes doing it but he’ll be the key to it all.
You read it here first.
Useless anecdote – I visited the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona, where the (ex-)planet Pluto was discovered. The original observatory building housing the Alvin Clark 24-inch refractor was built by two local bicycle mechanics. It’s a bit of a higgledy piggledy construction (as is the telescope itself – its lens cap is a frying pan donated by Lowell’s missus). But it has stood the test of time in spite of a few glitches such as the dome’s rotation mechanism delivering electric shocks to the operators, freezing solid, and getting the odd punctured tyre. Still goes to show that bicycle mechanics are masters of the universe.
Hold on a sec now, the Tullamore observatory was built by Mrs. YM’s dad and a mate complete with rotating hood and adjustable telescope mount. He was fitter, the mate a cabinet maker. It’s not just dem 'mericans who can improvise!
Any day now we’ll have a clear night…
I read an article recently about a data miner (a statistician I guess) who was analyzing data to detect patterns of genocide in order to establish clear records and distinguish between “random” deaths among civilians and deliberate targeting of certain groups. He was presenting evidence in The Hague on the Bosnian/Serbian conflict, if I recall correctly.
I can’t find it now, but I think it was in The Atlantic, or in Foreign Policy, or something along those lines.
I didn’t know Tullamore had an observatory, let alone a long-established astronomical society. Must pay a visit one of these days! If the pictures I dug up on the web are the right ones, the observatory looks about the same scale as the “Wexford Observatory” I’m currently building. Unfortunately I have the DIY skills of a coffin maker’s customer. Fortunately, it’s possible to buy the whole thing pretty much prefabricated these days.
You can make a living out of IT working normal hours. However, you will never progress very far. To do that you need to be a jack of all trades (not all of them technology related), and spend a lot of time on informal study which you will have to find the time and money for yourself. Even then you may turn out not to be very good. At the pure design and coding end of things, and even at analysis and architecture levels, I’ve never seen much correlation between formal education and competence. Some people get it, some don’t, and the very best of those who do are orders of magnitudes more productive than those who don’t. The most successful are those who have a passion for solving complex problems, regardless of the tools and technologies involved. No disrespect, but those who imagine they can learn a few gimmicks and then settle back to a comfortably paid 37 hour week tend to be pretty average at best. That said, life is not all about work, nor should it be, so cut your cloth to suit yourself.
Re: web development, you will not pick enough to be a web developer on a fetac course. I know, I’ve dealt with a few who have come out of some fetac courses. However if you really get into coding, you will quite pick up things yourself. 90% of what I do in my jobs I learn during collage, just no in collage if you get my meaning.
Being a programmer is also more vocational than people outside the field realise. And there is a huge curve with differences between great coders, good coders, ok coders, and dangerous ones. If you are good enough, and enjoy it enjoy, you can easily get into the zone and lose track of time. There has been times I’ve started on a problem and only realised the time when the sun started to brighten my room (I code part-time outside of my FT job)
Re: on-call, depending on the company it may be a requirement. Some companies are worse than others and if the on-call is bad, or you had a bad week, it can really affect things. Try doing 80,90,100 hour weeks or getting stuck in the hourly updates throughout the night and see how you make out. Price is accordingly, and remember that even if you are on-call but not getting called, it still has an effect.
I’m facing this problem myself. I am trying to find out what makes me tick and do that without worrying (fearing!) too much about the future. Ideally I want to live near a beach and go surfing as frequently as possible while supporting a pretty minimalist lifestyle!
Anyone any good suggestions?
Erm, ever the tv series Hung? That might work.
If you are IT.ish… I would go cloud/datacentre, pref with switches or strong analysis… my 2c… avoid languages
If not…maybe buy a pub that sells €3 pints?
Not sure what you mean by “go cloud/datacentre” but in my experience, physical switch counts are going down dramatically in many data centres due to virtualisation and the need for a specialist network admin to manage them all is greatly reduced. Often it is left to the system admin to maintain the virtual switching infrastructure, something that is really intuitive to do using VMware vSphere for example. Just as in my field, a competent sysadmin can probably adequately look after a small < 50GB database, especially one that was configured by a DBA and has no complicated High Availability requirements. Sysadmins are often the “jack-of-all-trades” of the IT world. Required to know a little bit of everything (although some of them are masters of quite a few as well). It’s also sometimes a good area to start if you’re not sure in what area you want to specialise (if at all) and you don’t fancy the developer route.
There is still huge demand for specialist network roles such as infrastructure architects, security specialists and so forth. But it will take quite a lot of time and effort to build up to such a level of expertise, while the OP has stated they are looking for something with more regular hours.
Thanks for the replies, guys. Plenty to think about. I’m not going to stress myself about it too much and hopefully things will become clearer as my studies progress.
I was self-employed in a completely unrelated and non-technical field. There’s a few engineers in my class, and they seem to find it as difficult as I do. It’s basically an month course that you come out of with the same HETAC award as a 4-year undergrad. I’m sure the positives and negatives in that are fairly evident. However, the only courses that are still open are in UL - starting in Sept, and you’d need to apply asap. I’m not sure if the government will supply funding for a second or subsequent round, or if it’s just a one off - but I’d suspect the latter.
An excellent thread - very interesting to read people different perspectives on working to live and living to work and how much you need to enjoy your job.
I went through the stage a while ago of questioning what I really wanted to do, the balance between enjoying work and being comfortable - I’m young enough at 30 to be thinking like that I guess. Anyway I started a physical therapy course part time but realised pretty quickly if I wanted to be ‘good’ and make it pay i’d have to go back full time and do physio. I really amn’t in a position to do that and there would be little chance of a job anyway unless I emigrate.
Anyway meanwhile back in the real world I’ve been offered a partnership in the accountancy practice I trained in and still work in (small place - about 10 staff - currently a sole practitioner). It’s a great opportunity - job security for life, a good income but concerns obviously include ‘ground hog day’ syndrome and getting enough input.
Partnership is really the top aim I guess while still in practice so I guess if I don’t go ahead with it im looking at industry or doing something entirely different.
It feels like a massive decision - one that’s not easily reversible. Any wise comments from fellow pinsters? (Anybody been though this?)
I did a bit of self indulgence a few years ago to pursue something Id wanted to for many years. I hated hated hated the life that it entailed and went back to the old firm after a year or so’s absence. I was lucky that they took me back.
Now, a few years later, I see that I needed the year away. I got shite out of my system and realised how good I had it. I got the perspective I needed and realised how lucky I was.
As for groundhog day feelings, yes, I get that from time to time as like you, I work in an office. But in the main I see the positives as far more outweighing the negatives.
If I was in your position, I’d definitely slog away at it for a couple of years, saving or investing my money instead of splashing out on a lavish lifestyle. Once I felt financially secure enough, I’d make a big break and do whatever I really wanted to do with my life.
If you’re interested in other cultures and issues like social injustice and poverty, you could look for an accounts job in an organisation like Trocaire, Concern, Oxfam etc. Or if you don’t have too many family commitments at the moment you could throw caution to the wind and go and work in a developing country where your skills could be really useful and get that great feeling that you’re making a difference! (I did this in my mid twenties for 4 years and it was the most amazing, educational, life-expanding experience ever!)
Personally if I were to start again I would be a landlord.
Didn’t that Rich Dad Poor Dad guy say don’t go to college, don’t get a job?
Make your money make money while you sleep!