Filling the Skills Gap

"fill the gap" in a mind the gap logo

Over the course of my career, I have learned about quite a few qualities that team members can possess that add value to the team. Many of these strengths are fairly obvious: being willing to work hard, prioritizing tasks properly to meet deadlines, not becoming siloed and unaware of what other team members are doing, etc.

One strength that may not be as obvious, but is certainly as valuable as the ones above – if not more so – is being able to fill the skills gap when one arises. Having a team member who is not only willing and able, but even excited to learn about previously unfamiliar technologies or processes can make a huge difference in how a team operates.

Such a person becomes a great asset to the team, and often becomes the “go-to person” for any new challenge, in part because of the willingness to step outside the box, but also because people like this tend to be quite resourceful in acquiring new knowledge.

Avoiding the mentality of “staying in one’s lane”, as far as specialization goes, is key here. Not that you shouldn’t become specialized in your field, but that you should be willing to explore related (and sometimes unrelated) fields to get a better perspective of how to solve whatever problem is at hand.

Making a Code Block from a Power BI Query Readable Using Notepad++

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Oftentimes, when looking at the Advanced Editor window on a Power BI query, you will see that the SQL query in one of the steps has been compressed into fewer lines – perhaps even only one line; minified with Power Query codes like “#(lf)” (line feed) and “#(tab)”.

To make this more readable, you can copy the code block from Power BI into a Notepad++ window, and replace these Power Query codes with escape sequences that will format the code into multiple lines that are easier to read.

Once the code is in Notepad++, open the Replace window with Ctrl+R, and select the Extended radio button in the Search Mode box in the lower left-hand corner.

Replace box in Notepad++

Put the offending Power Query codes into the “Find what” field, and the corresponding escape sequence into the “Replace with” field. Select Replace All.

Repeat this with each type of code that needs to be replaced. Afterwards, you can read and modify the code block, if you wish.

To convert the whole code block back into its original format, reverse the steps, putting the escape sequence in the “Find what” field and the original Power Query code in the “Replace with” field and select Replace All again.

Finding Column and Table Names in Amazon Redshift using SQL

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Finding metadata regarding table and column names in Redshift can be daunting, especially if you do not know if the tables are internal or external. Redshift has a table called SVV_EXTERNAL_COLUMNS that is useful for looking at external tables, and there are scripts to look at internal tables as well.

The SQL code I wrote below combines these and should make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

select * from (
select t.table_schema as schemaname,
       t.table_name as tablename,
       c.column_name as columnname,
from information_schema.tables t
inner join information_schema.columns c 
           on c.table_name = t.table_name 
           and c.table_schema = t.table_schema
where t.table_schema not in ('information_schema', 'pg_catalog')      
union all
select schemaname,
       'EXTERNAL TABLE' as table_type
from svv_external_columns)
where columnname ilike '%whatever column%'
and tablename ilike '%whatever table%'
and schemaname ilike '%whatever schema%'
order by schemaname, tablename, columnname;

I have found this to be useful on numerous occasions, especially since the Databaser Explorer in SQL Workbench/J does not yet seem to have a way to search for column names.

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