I’ve been working for Wolfram Research for ten years now, which is amazing even to me. I don’t do anything exciting; I started out helping send mass emails, then started to write database queries to pull lists for the mass emails, and now I do database reporting work for various departments. Along the way I taught myself Perl and SQL (Oracle, MySQL, and SQL Server) to make my job easier. One thing I didn’t learn in all this time was the one thing you’d expect: Mathematica, our flagship product.
That changed recently. A couple weeks ago I took an online class — M101: A First Course in Mathematica — in order to start learning how to use Mathematica in my reporting duties. Mathematica isn’t just a giant fancy calculator, it has tons of features that allow it to process, analyze, and represent data. Naturally since most people are going to be doing more numeric things with it, this introductory course focused more on that and less on what I’d be doing, but it was still way cool; the program is amazing.
I was going to start poking around with using Mathematica to do data analysis and visualization Pretty Soon Now, but first there were some high-priority projects I needed to get out of the way. On Wednesday I made a prototype report in the Data Warehouse for one of those projects, and was almost immediately told afterwards that they’d prefer for this to be done…you guessed it, in Mathematica.
Oh, and can we see a prototype next week?
So I’ve got something I’ll be working on this weekend…
I’m not complaining, though. On the contrary, this is kind of exactly the way I like to learn something. I don’t do much with “Hello, world” and imaginary pet store databases, but give me a problem with a defined scope and a few examples and I’m ready to go. It’s kind of exciting!