Life after FDM

John Smith

Life after FDM is full of success and opportunities—just ask Rachael Burns and Alper Tosun, two US-based FDM alumni, who have transitioned to permanent positions with client Fannie Mae. The pair recently won first place in Fannie Mae’s EDL Innovation Competition, which highlighted the capabilities of the Enterprise Data Lake and encouraged analysts and data scientists to experience the benefits of this tool.

When did you start with FDM, and what did it lead you to with Fannie Mae?

Rachael: Alper and I started with FDM in September 2015, shortly after graduating college. We were soon placed with Fannie Mae and began working there in January 2016 as Data Management Analysts on the Enterprise Data Modelling team.

What was the journey like to transition from an FDM consultant to a permanent employee with Fannie Mae?

Alper: The journey with FDM was definitely a pathway that was beneficial for me and helped me jump-start my career. Ending up in the position I am while coming from a background with limited IT experience is satisfying and rewarding.

Tell me about being FDM alumni and how your experiences have allowed you to go on to do impactful work in your career journey.

R: Alper and I both graduated with a desire to work in data technology, but we had no relevant experience and limited practical skills. FDM gave us what we needed to get our foot in the door, which gave us the opportunity to grow our talents and do impactful work.

A: Being fortunate enough to be surrounded by intelligent and caring instructors at FDM’s academy to having incredibly talented colleagues to collaborate with were critical to my journey. This pathway allowed me to prove myself and gave me the resources and avenues to further develop my skill set.

What was your Yellow Submarine project and what technologies did you work with?

R: I wrote a program in Python and Cypher (a graph query language) that operationalized the graph database as a search tool. It lets business users and data analysts find the right data if they do not know exactly which data set they need, but know something related, even if there are multiple degrees of separation. Alper has more experience on the server side, so he got the code running on a cloud server with a web interface so that others could use the program. We still have some work left to do before exposing the program to a large number of users, but we hope that when we do it will encourage more people to explore and leverage the data available in the Enterprise Data Lake.

A: The Yellow Submarine project is exactly what firms want from young hires. It is an example of what happens when the younger generation has opportunities to bring forward our ideas that the older generation necessarily wouldn’t think of, comparable to the Facebook of data lakes. Using Rachael’s algorithm, the tool uses networks to find information in the most efficient fashion. I’m really looking forward to coming into the data lake phase of this company and its adaptation will lead to more opportunities to challenge myself and learn innovative ways to further company goals.

R: We used UNIX to navigate and configure the remote servers in the cloud, and Unix was directly covered in FDM training. We also learned SQL with FDM, and we used SQL to query data from Oracle source systems for this project. Beyond that, the FDM coursework provided a technical foundation and a comfort level with learning new languages quickly. That foundation makes Alper and I adaptable to changes in the technology we work with.

Rachel and Alper are a testament to the amazing work that FDM alumni go on to accomplish in their careers. Well done and congrats to them both!

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