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My life in data engineering

I didn’t anticipate I would be working at Merkle. I had applied for a separate position through a recruiter, however, upon speaking to them, they suggested the data engineering role at Merkle. I’ll admit to knowing little about the company at the time, however I asked to be put forward for the role as, coming out of an MSc in Software Development, I was keen to get into data engineering and I liked the sound of the role. 

After getting off the phone I quickly started researching Merkle and while clearly a successful business, what stood out to me was their values. There was a clear emphasis on social responsibility and specifically diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI), with the seven DEI pillars program. So not only was the role interesting, but it sounded like a great place to work.

Thankfully the interview went well. I met my (at that point, future) line manager, discussed the role and Merkle overall in more detail. This all further reinforced the positives that I had found while researching the role and the company. I was therefore extremely pleased when I was offered the position! 

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I started just as COVID-19 restrictions were beginning to lift, and much of the team was still working from home. Therefore, all my inductions and team meetings have been online. I was a little worried about how this was all going to go, but I needn’t, as everyone has been wonderful and regularly keeps in contact, so I still feel part of the team. From the first day, everyone has made sure that I’ve felt welcomed and supported. One-to-ones were set up with each of the team members so that I could catch up with everyone. I was worried this might be a little awkward – meeting people that I’m sure are incredibly busy and I had never spoken to before. However, everyone was so lovely and friendly, and it was so interesting getting to know everyone and finding out a little about their prior experience. There are so many people from different career backgrounds in the team. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with everyone. 

Mine hasn’t been a traditional career path, and I’ve spent time in academia and research, before transitioning into information technology. A role in research is a constant learning process and was something that I always enjoyed about my work. One aspect that drew me to data engineering and Merkle is the prospects for learning, and this is definitely something I’ve already found. Technology, and in particular that used as in data engineering, changes and develops so quickly that it’s important to keep up to date.  

It was obvious from the beginning that the data engineering team at Merkle is often working on some of the most current technology to ensure that client needs are being met in the best way possible. This means that as part of the team, there’s opportunities to continually learn both formally and informally, and I already have the opportunity to study for a Microsoft certification.  

During the first couple of weeks in the role there was a lot of training to ensure that I understood Merkle’s policies and procedures. It was also really helpful to gain a better understanding of how the company is structured and how it works. Despite the volume of training, it was reassuring that I was given the time and space to complete everything, and I did not feel like I had to rush through.  

One aspect that was highlighted from the start was the emphasis that Merkle puts on data security and privacy. Not only is there Merkle’s private information, but it also handles employee’s personal details and sensitive client information. Ensuring data security is important not just from a legislative point of view but also an ethical and reputational stance. Being a multi-national company, there’s different legislation across different countries that needs to be followed, such as the GDPR in Europe and the equivalent Data Protection Act 2018 in the UK. I covered GDPR during my studies so understand how important this legislation is to ensure that all personal data is processed and stored correctly. Data security is also important from an ethical point of view as this can include the personal details of individuals, and Merkle ensures that all private information (such as personally identifiable information) is handled properly. It’s clear that Merkle takes this seriously. It’s also reassuring to know that there’s plenty of people and teams that can be turned to for advice and guidance, and is just one of the benefits to working within a large organisation.

I feel like the training and induction period has given me the knowledge and confidence to move forward with the role. It’s reassuring to know that there are resources available, along with dedicated people and teams that I can turn to whenever I’m in need of advice and guidance. As my training period comes to an end, I’m looking forward to the next steps and being able to contribute to the team. 

 

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