How Université de Sherbrooke Prepares Graduates by Embracing Cloud Technologies

Guest blog-post by Damien Van Steenberge, Managing Partner at Codex Consulting.

Damien Van Steenberge, a BI and analyst enthusiast, wanted to give back to the data community. Currently practicing at Codex Consulting, which focuses on leveraging data through cloud technologies through data engineering practices, Damien offers his knowledge to graduate students that are in the midst of a career transition in BI, or are in the industry and eager to enhance their skills.

The challenge - BI is not easy to explain!

As data is becoming the new oil I have seen more and more interest from the market to better manage data. I have been lucky to work in the Business Intelligence field for the last 10+ years. Passionate about my job, I wanted to give back to the community and knew that sharing my experiences would be a great way to do it. So I decided that teaching BI is how I would give back. 

I was introduced to the University of Sherbrooke (UdS) and its program for graduate students, all of them already working and most wanting to make a career switch in the BI field or heavily involved with BI and wanting to know more. Well this is not an easy task. How can you teach ETL principles to students having a variety of different backgrounds (finance, IT, marketing)? Push... pull... staging... DDLs... aggregations... joins... throughput... SCD2... These basic ETL concepts can be explained but students really understand them by getting their hands dirty. 

Thanks to the Academics program of Matillion and Snowflake, we are able to cover the data warehousing concepts HANDS ON by building a modern data warehouse, step by step with modern and intuitive tools. In a matter of a couple of classes, most students who had never created a table were able to connect to sources, do simple transformations and data cleansing and create a star schema! What an achievement! What was a vague concept to them now became reality... A reality that they could touch and feel...What an excitement it is to see SCD2 in action or see data lineage in a pipeline! 

Key Take-aways

Here are some key learnings from the experience:

  • Zero footprint for the UdS. No admin is needed to manage the platforms. It just works.
  • Zero footprint for students. Snowflake/Matillion works on any computer with no installation required.
  • Students are happy to work with best of breed Cloud BI tools they have heard about offering them a clear differentiator on the job market.
  • Students are happy to apply concepts and best practices that are otherwise difficult to integrate without practice.
  • Ability to show integration technologies otherwise no possible

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About Universite de Sherbrooke

Hosting over 32,000 students, Université de Sherbrooke is a French-speaking public research university in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada . Offering the opportunity to benefit from an academic organization that is recognizable and valued globally, they utilized the Matillion Academy in the Business Intelligence (BI) graduate program. 

About Codex Consulting

Codex Consulting, based in Montreal Canada, provides expertise on leveraging the data through cloud technologies using the best data engineering practices. Possessing significant knowledge of BI practices across different industries and data platforms.

Damien Van Steenberge, Codex Consultant, Université de Sherbrooke