image image 19th February 2021

A day in the life of a Data Engineer

Ever wondered what a day in the life of one of a Senior Data Engineer really looks like? We caught up with Shedder Mike to find out what an average day here at The Data Shed involves and how he’s settled into life working from home.

What does an average day look like?

I wake up around 7am and make a cup of coffee and catch up on the news and watch the NBA highlights from the previous night.

I start off the working day with a quick scan of HackerNews to try to stay in the know in regard to new tech and discussions around it. I then familiarise myself with the upcoming work for the day and head into back to back stand ups with the internal shed team first, and the larger NHS team following soon thereafter. If there are any incidents that took place over night that needs addressing I will usually hop on a call to help investigate.

I generally have free time until later in the day to actually do some development work, so the ‘productive’ part of my day normally is between 10 and 3. At which point, project meetings take place to outside stakeholders or team troubleshooting an issue may arise to help get work completed on time.

On Wednesdays the Shed’s senior team gives us an update on how the company is doing, new hires, and shout outs for great work on any of the projects that we are working on. I always find this meeting incredibly upbeat and look forward to seeing how all my colleagues are doing. Furthermore, we have an Open Mic on Wednesdays for others to drop in and dispense knowledge around a variety of subjects, which is more often than not, very interesting. They are certainly something that I look forward to attending.

Towards the tail end of the day the team typically reconvenes to check whether we are having any problems and we sometimes enjoy a hot or cold drink together while working through it as a way of wrapping up the day around 5pm.

Has COVID changed your daily work routine at all? If so, what was different before?

COVID has changed my daily work routine in the sense that I cannot see colleagues face to face and get up to check in on colleagues working on other projects, but I find myself much more productive working from home than working in the office.

I really enjoy working from home and hope that it is a continued option for those jobs that are able to. Having a day or two in the office is fine but I personally find that being at home is a more calm and suitable environment to my productivity. I appreciate others may feel differently. More importantly however, I believe that COVID – for as horrendous as it has been for many of us – has given certain parts of the economy the confidence to show that workers are still productive regardless of where they are working. The evidence from the last year of remote working hopefully will inspire the change the world requires to wean off fossil fuels and commuting to give us the best chance for the future in regards to protecting the environment and prolonging the worst of climate change.

Do you have any working from home tips to share?

Make sure you get up and move around throughout the day because it is very easy to get complacent and not move away from your screen for hours at a time. I would also enforce quiet hours on your devices work hours so that there is a healthy work life separation if you are in the same physical space.

How does your day finish?

I normally sign off around 5pm and wind down by calling my folks/family back home as they are just walking up to start their day. After dinner, I normally go for a walk around Leeds City Centre to get some fresh air and talk about my day with my wife.

Why do you love your role and being a part of the TDS team?

I enjoy working with interesting and intelligent colleagues on a project for a client that has been vital to fighting the pandemic. It is very rewarding seeing the data that we work with help lead to the development of vaccines and track how the NHS can plan and treat patients better across the UK.

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