Book Review : Data MOdeling Made Simple


After almost 10 years I left my job at Microsoft in January 2015. I told myself that I should use the time between jobs to update myself on list of topics. Reading the books was something I had missed (being self critical “ignored”) over last few years. I had made new year resolution to get back in reading again so pulled out stock of books collected in last few years but never looked into them thoroughly. Read few books in last 2 months and really enjoying them.

Finished reading one such book this week “Data Modeling Made Simple: A Practical Guide for Business and IT Professionals, 2nd Edition”

http://www.isbnsearch.org/isbn/9780977140060

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Brief context before talk about the book and experience,

  • I started career as Technical Co-coordinator where core job was to Collect (papers), Process (in Excel), Analyze (data analysis) and Report (emails) Training Feedback.
  • I was involved setting up Intranet at Synergetics and upgrading company website from HTML to ASP. It was more of Information Management but it had lot of data to be collected, processed and published (content for publishing on intranet & website, course schedules to be published etc.)
  • During my technical support days as Microsoft, I used to get cases from customers. Cases where they are configuring SharePoint, deploying solutions connecting data sources. And since SharePoint is heavily dependent on SQL databases I was always around them because of troubleshooting.
  • I also conceptualized and setup dashboard on SharePoint connecting back to SSRS.

In summary last 14 years of IT I was always involved in data discussions. Most of my career boosting events have achievements around data driven output delivered by me to the business.

Though I knew basic SQL, I was still thinking that I don’t know much about the data modeling. Whenever and whatever little I did, was on the fly with some logic for the end goal in mind. For the majority of situations my solutions did what it supposed to do and helped during the course.

Now looking back after reading the book, I feel I could have done even better if had read this book earlier. Never mind there is always an opportunity to implement your learning into work. In fact, there is question in the Chapter 16 “How do I keep my modeling skills sharp?” And Steve answered, “Look for every opportunity to model or participate in the analysis and modeling process, even outside the traditional roles of a data modeler”

I am short of words to explain my happiness about rediscovering (something I knew little, interested in building more on it) with such clarity now.

To make it specific here is what I like about the book,

  • Simplicity – Section Break ups, topic flow and examples are very simple to follow & understand. I approached like novice but I was able to recollect situations I have been into as the examples with simple to grasp.
  • Articulation – The analogy to understand data model with basic human instinct of “wayfinding” and excellent concept visualization through example of camera features to understand data model.

So anyone interested in learning or enhancing Data Modeling, I strongly recommend reading this for sure.

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