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Master minds

Teradata technical lead at RBC achieves Certified Master status and gains access to the best minds and resources in the Teradata community.

by Shirley S. Savage

The title "Teradata Certified Master" denotes a person of achievement and knowledge—a guru, in some respects. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Financial Group has such a guru: Ruth Fenwick, Teradata technical lead. Fenwick knows from experience that being a Teradata Master opens up a new level of access to the best Teradata minds around the world.

Master Minds
Ruth Fenwick, Teradata technical lead at Royal Bank of Canada Financial Group, has reaped the benefits of being a Teradata Certified Master.

A Teradata Master since 2003, Fenwick is responsible for all of the hardware and software upgrades as well as performance capacity management. "I'm the technical source for everybody else," she says.

Fenwick began working with Teradata in 1997 and received her first Teradata certification in 2000, followed by her second in 2001. A job change led to her current position at RBC and gave impetus to her mandate. "As the recognized data warehousing leader in Canada, it was only proper that RBC have the first Canadian customer Teradata Master," she says. "I achieved four of the certifications in the three months after I joined the bank." In fact, she passed the last three exams in two weeks.

Fenwick has found that Master certification gives her credibility as well as holistic knowledge of Teradata; she has learned how all the elements of Teradata work and how they are connected. "I'm never going to do a physical implementation," she says, "but it was interesting to learn how it works."

In addition to improving her own expertise, Teradata Master certification gives her an entree into the Master's Team Discussion Forum, informally known as the Master's Team Mailing List. The forum allows members to query one another about Teradata best practices and "how tos," providing a wealth of real-world information. "Membership to the Master's Team Mailing List gives me access to the best minds in the industry and insight into how other customers are fixing real problems," says Fenwick.

Recently, Fenwick needed to optimize the bank's statistics collection. She turned to the Master's Team Discussion Forum to find out how others had approached the same challenge. She elaborates, "Rather than spending three weeks doing a lot of investigation and analysis, I was able to ask the Master's Team Mailing List, 'Is there anybody out there doing this? What is your experience?'"

Not only did she receive an answer, but it also gave her a new way of looking at the data. "Because I pinged the Master's Team Mailing List, I received a view from someone that guided me to data mine the statistics so I could do better analysis," Fenwick explains.

Getting this type of feedback is an excellent way to gauge whether an idea will be successful, according to Fenwick. "When you receive a couple of people replying, 'This is great. It worked for us.' Then you go into it with a greater sense of confidence that this is going to work," she says. Instilling confidence is what Teradata certification and the Master's Team Mailing List are all about. T

Shirley S. Savage has published articles on technology, energy and science.

Photograph by Matthew Plexman

Teradata Magazine-September 2007

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