This is a blog about work, data, and working with data.
I’m czep and I’m Old AF. Older than approximately 71% of all people currently alive on Earth. That’s at least 5.2 billion young people using curse words and generally making a mess of my lawn. By the time you read this I will be older still. Hopefully this trend will continue for a long time. Demographers can only match up historical birth and death rates with 99% accuracy. I figure that gives me a 1% shot at immortality.
Thus far my career has spanned four Presidential administrations and six generations of high school students.
I am a Programmer/Analyst
Director of Research
Director of Engineering
Business Intelligence Engineer
Director of Analytics
My first real job title out of college was “Programmer/Analyst”. I always found this to be much more accurate than Developer or Engineer because it highlights the fact that analysis is as equally important when writing computer programs as the actual programming. I worked on an Informix database using the ACE Report Writer, PERL (it was all caps back then), and csh on HP-UX. I worked in the IS department (Information Systems) of a software company that made mainframe connectivity software. Terminal emulators. This was when big data meant reel-to-reel tape. Not everyone had an email address. I often shipped data to customers in the mail, on floppy disks spanned using PKZIP. The first website I ever created dates from this period and it is partially immortalized at the Wayback Machine: philjrhigh.
In 1996 I started graduate school in Sociology and it was the best time of my life. I learned methodology and statistics from Michael Schwartz and Judith Tanur, regression analysis from Stephen Finch, algorithms from Michael Bender, and how to be a SAS ninja from Frank Romo. Learning statistical packages after coming from SQL and relational databases vastly expanded my data analysis toolkit and I found a synergy in the complementary approaches that still serves me to this day. I remain a firm advocate for the social sciences. I find no better complement to my technical skills than the fascinating education and training one receives in social science. Sociology and related disciplines provide a unique and compelling foundation for working with data, a context for understanding what data means and how it is useful, while a purely technical education simply cannot supply these perspectives.
Today I work mainly with Python and R with the scope of my work being so varied that I will never tire of learning new things and solving interesting new problems. I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of the modern data stack, and I daily bounce around between data science, engineering, and analysis.
I’m also a husband and father and these will always be my number one and two priorities. H. & O., my love, always.
My personal motto is based on pragmatic altruism: “the best way to help yourself is by helping others”.
This site is generated by jekyll and hosted on S3, using s3_website. I’m using a custom build of Bootstrap and a little bit of my own admittedly very basic CSS styling. I finally got around to deploying to Cloudfront with a TLS cert so the site should now be redirecting to https://czep.net/.