psyEverything you need to know about being a data professional you can learn by watching ‘Gangnam Style’ by PSY.

With over a billion views on YouTube chances are you’ve seen it as well by now. Then again with over 7 billion people on the planet I suppose there is a better chance you haven’t seen it yet.

Of course that’s the data talking. If you are reading this blog post then you are likely part of the 1 billion that has seen the video already. If you haven’t, have a look now. Go ahead and watch it, I can wait.

Done? Good, let’s continue then.

Here is what PSY and that video can teach you about being a data professional.

1. When In Doubt Just Use Words No One Will Understand

Big Data. Business Analytics. Business Intelligence. Kafka. Hadoop. Columnar. ETL. Web scale. Flume. Geospatial. Map/Reduce. Sharding. Eventual consistency.

Just a whole bunch of buzzwords meant to entice you into thinking that the person speaking them has the faintest idea of what they all mean. When you find yourself in a meeting just reach back and use as many words as possible, even make up some new ones.

Give yourself bonus points if they rhyme, too.

PRO TIP: Don’t use fancy buzzwords when simple words will suffice. If you can’t explain it to someone as if they were an 8 year old, or a manager, then you don’t know it well enough. Use big words judiciously.

2. Invent Your Own Dance

If the dances currently available to you aren’t to your liking then go ahead and invent your own. Why dance like everyone else anyway?

Psy2The same goes for the tools you use every day. If the ones you are using are not getting the job done then go ahead and invent your own. It may take longer but the end result is typically something that is more stable, reliable, and something you know very very well.

It’s also likely to be something that breaks. When it breaks, you’ll be called to fix it, and fix it fast. Some folks consider that “job security”.

As an added bonus no one can ever tell you that you are doing the dance wrong if you are the one that invented it.

PRO TIP: Don’t make life harder for yourself. No need to reinvent the wheel each and every time you need to drive your car to the store.

3. Heeeeeeyyyyyy, Sexy Data!

Data is sexy. Everything about data is sexy. There’s the gathering, the filtering, the analysis of data. Data is everywhere too; a coffee shop, a playground, the sauna, the subway, a horse stable, even a bathroom stall (I’ve done some of my greatest work in the bathroom, usually the shower).

Data never stops either, it just keeps collecting as time goes by. When you see the right piece of data it will make you want to sing and dance.

PRO TIP: Data lasts longer than code, treat it well and with respect.

4. Be A One Hit Wonder

Data professionals have lots of options when it comes to working with data. Who needs so many choices? Just pick one platform and make sure everyone knows that your choice is what works best for any situation. No need to ever learn something new or adapt.

It doesn’t matter what the nail looks like, just use your solution as the hammer. If anyone disagrees with you refer to point number one above.

PRO TIP: Be prepared to increase your skill set over time. You should always want to leave the audience wanting more from you. If you do this part right then they are more likely to want to include and invite you to meetings, even if it is just to see you dance.

5. Dress For Success

If you want people to respect your authority then you need a tuxedo, bright blue preferred. If you don’t have one of those then a floaty shirt with short shorts will suffice. And sunglasses, especially for when it gets very windy outside. Don’t forget your shoes.

PRO TIP: It won’t kill you to wear a shirt with a collar every now and then.