The benefits of cloud technology are clear: shared responsibility with cloud providers, greater business agility and flexibility, cost efficient operating models, improved security, increased operational resilience, better end-user experiences, and faster time to market. Deriving these benefits requires the right skills and knowledge. Our Cloud Tech Practice Lead – Stephen White – spoke with one of his newest practice members for an update on their journey into Cloud Tech.

So, how did you get involved with Snowflake?

I chose to study Snowflake because it’s an emerging technology that is becoming popular with clients. I initially studied the first Snowflake “badge” and took it took off from there. In my previous role I was a Snowflake user for about three years. I was involved in developing ETL Code to provide data for the execution of attribution models and worked on a couple of projects migrating code suites from SAS and Hive to Snowflake. I have code development experience in SAS and MS SQL Server and have worked with a lot of other data technologies, including Teradata and Oracle.

Great, so how was it actually using Snowflake?

Having solid experience of SQL coding in other technologies I found it straightforward working with data in Snowflake through Snowsight, with only some minor differences compared to other SQL based technologies. However, when working on code migration, I always find ways to replicate functionality and the Snowflake documentation in this regard is particularly good. I think If you are going into a role where you are essentially a user interrogating the data in SQL through the UI – and have sound SQL coding experience – you can hit the ground running with a basic knowledge of Snowflake architecture (virtual warehouses, roles/privileges, etc).

Was this your first “Cloud” technology?

Yes, I suppose it was! When I started using Snowflake I had very little Cloud experience; I felt that it wasn’t at the top of my list for the role I was doing (writing SQL code against data already provided in Snowflake). I think that if someone is perhaps performing a domain DBA role, a more thorough understanding of the Cloud-specific domain would be needed. At BDP, we cover that discipline too, so we always have consultants to engage with in that area.

It is a relatively new technology in a new area, Cloud, what was your experience of that?

In the migration projects I worked on I developed UDFs and UFTs. I initially found it quite challenging, learning to develop these from the Snowflake documentation alone, but was very impressed with the excellent level of support I got when I opened support cases with Snowflake.   

That’s good to hear! It’s important for new technologies to “stay in touch” with the users!

Yes. I’ve never been hands-on in a role where I’ve been designing or managing Snowflake environments or building production ETL / ELT pipelines, but from what I’ve seen people don’t tend to rely on the metadata Snowflake generates or use Snowflake’s scheduling / orchestration functionality; they build / use their own solutions.   

So what next for you and Snowflake?

I’m in the process of studying for SnowPro Core certification! At BDP we have developed our own Udemy learning paths for Snowflake at both introductory and certification levels, so they are proving invaluable. We have an ever-growing number of BDP consultants who are professionally certified in Snowflake – the value of our Learning Paths has been proved many times over. As part of those paths, I’ve completed the Snowflake badges and the Masterclass on UDEMY and am currently working though the exam prep course. I would definitely recommend doing the first badge (‘Hands-On Essential Data Warehouse’) then going straight into the Masterclass. And, as always, keep using Snowflake to ensure your skill levels are ready and relevant for the real world!


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