Today we talk with John, a UDig IT consultant whose specialty is data work and business process management. Most of the work is with JBoss and Java, but there’s some .NET in there, too. For past Brain Digs, click the category link at the bottom of this post.

John, our JBoss and Java dev

What database software do you work with for data warehousing, and what trends have you seen with it during the past five to 10 years?
Most of the datawarehousing work I’ve done has been in a SQL Server environment. From the data warehouses and data marts we set up we used Business Objects (Crystal Reports) for reporting.

If someone is trying to get into data, which software would you recommend working with?
Since SQL is mainly about syntax and the knowledge of relational databases, I would familiarize yourself with any database management tool (SQL Server Management Studio, TOAD, DB Explorer) but most importantly for Data Warehousing I would read The Data Warehouse Toolkit by Ralph Kimball. It is an excellent book and will get anyone up to speed!

How are you using Java?
My experience with Java has been for web applications. These days I’m working on the maintenance and enhancement of a large automotive parts retailer’s legacy business to business sales system, which is Java and RichFaces running on the JBoss application server. My previous project was a Java web app to sell insurance products and other benefits to different credit card holders. This was done using Java along with the ATG e-commerce platform on the WebLogic application server.

What are the most common enterprise applications that you end up dealing with?
I would say the top enterprise applications we end up doing are Content Management Systems (CMS) and Retail Applications.

Any other open-source projects you’re involved with voluntarily or participating in?
I had set a goal this past year to involve myself in the JBoss community more, however I just haven’t had the free time. I do like to dabble with nopCommerce shopping cart for .NET/C# when I can, but I am not a contributor to the project.

Do you ever expect Java to be acceptable or more widely used in mobile phones?
I haven’t really followed the mobile phone industry too closely. However, I do know that applications for Android and BlackBerry are written in Java. While Objective C is obviously huge due to the iPhone and iPad, I think Java has a pretty good share on mobile phone applications. The Android userbase is growing quite a bit it seems, and to develop for Android you don’t have to pay what I feel is an outrageous fee for an SDK.

What’s your recommendation for someone trying to break into IT consulting?
Trying to get into IT consulting, I would say one has to keep an open mind. Familiarize yourself with the concepts and ideas and not the small nuances that will exist between different implementations. My work varies between application servers, front-end technologies and even languages. Definitely work on the soft skills as well. We are typically client facing and not heads down coders like many developers are used to.

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