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My name is Deron Banks and I’ve been an intern at Definitive Logic this summer. I am entering my final year at George Mason University as a Computer Science major. I’ve learned and experienced many new software programs and techniques during my time here. Postgres, pgAdmin, Ansible, Tableau were some of the programs I grew accustomed to. I feel as though my greatest accomplishment here at Definitive Logic is learning what a data scientist is and acting in such a role.

What is a Data Scientist?

Before I detail the concept of a data scientist, I will detail the concept of data. Companies that specialize in technologies and Integrated Research & Development (IRAD), like Definitive Logic, have large amounts of data at their disposal: consumer data, customer data, personal data, internal data, external data, etc. Data scientists are often tasked with obtaining such data from a source, integrating the different varieties of that data, and building some type of visualization for that data. Data scientists statistically analyze large sizes of data, manufacturing ideal ways to condense that data into a particular view and then creating a visualization that makes it easy to interpret. The usage of a data scientist’s work varies according to the dataset being used. A data scientist working with a consumer dataset can unearth patterns and trends in consumer spending. This allows companies to better appeal to their consumers and potentially generate more profit.

My work as a Data Scientist

Definitive Logic works with many U.S. government departments such as the Department of Defense (DoD). The United States federal government has a website that details how much money each department in the government has been allocated, and how it was spent. Much of this data is freely available on their website, USASpending.gov. I was tasked with pulling the data from this website and engineering how that data is viewed to have it later condensed into an articulate visualization. 

My data journey started with pulling USASpending.gov’s large database onto a Linux server via Ubuntu. Once I installed PostgreSQL and its necessary SSH components for authentication, I was able to begin engineering the data with SQL code. Whilst crash coursing through many hours of PostgreSQL content, I discovered pgAdmin, a software that specializes in database management with SQL code. After that, I was off to the races finding different ways to section off the data and create various data views. Following this advancement, I took to learning Ansible to enable automation of the data handling process. I learned how to interact with the YAML data language and create playbooks, the language used by Ansible to deploy and execute different commands and configurations.

I then worked to refine my data views using Tableau Prep Builder, a software with a very interactive user interface that allows one to handle data from the backend with the versatility and ease as if it were a frontend presentation of data. Once the data presentations were constructed, referenced as flows within Tableau Prep Builder, they were uploaded to Tableau Desktop for the final stage of data visualization and interpretation.

With that proof-of-concept accomplished, the finishing touch will be utilizing Ansible to automate the process of pulling that data, condensing, and displaying it as frequently as the federal government updates their spending data.

My experience at Definitive Logic

I have had a lot of experience coding in different languages and creating a multitude of different projects during my time as a student. During my internship, I found myself encountering a unique experience from my time as a computer science student in a number of ways. As a student, I found myself working with peers following a loose set of guidelines to build something complex using the simplistic concepts we learned in class. In such environments, one is often hindered by a small subset of tools and arbitrary limitations by the lesson plan. At Definitive Logic, I was able to branch out and experience using new tools with the freedom of exercising such tools with as much versatility it could provide. Another feature of my internship was my access to seasoned, knowledgeable, and refined individuals that readily guided me and clearly presented their expectations. As an intern, I was under the tutelage of a handful of remarkable people. Being amongst such persons presented a stark difference from when I worked amongst my peers; the atmosphere of greatness often felt inspiring and constantly compelled me to become something greater than I was the previous day.

In conclusion, my internship at Definitive Logic was very beneficial, informative and has shaped me in a way to heartily promote my ability in the work environment of technology. An internship at Definitive Logic represents a great opportunity to learn, adapt, and become.

Jim Eselgroth

Deron Banks

Intern at Definitive Logic and future data scientist

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