That is a very good question, thanks for asking 😉

An expert is someone with a lot of years of experience?

No, even if it is for 20 years, if you only do the same things in the same context…

An expert is someone who gets certificates?

Neither! An expert is not someone who manipulates concepts or the keywords of a technology…

We can already tell ourselves: an actual expert is difficult to qualify and it is potentially rare 😱!

But why is it rare? Let us start by noting that an expert will be considered on several dimensions:

  • The first, among the most essential: the diversity and richness of the experiences, the contexts met whether technical, business and organizational; indeed, the changes of context will lead him to compare and take a step back, measuring limiting impacts (from bad scoping to the design, etc.) or determining what can/should be replicated (the ELT mode pros on a massively parallel database, etc.)
  • The second stands in the fact that he will develop real skills of expertise on constrained IS: either in large volume of loading (> 1 TO per day), in complexity of design (EDWH containing more than 1,000 tables, fact tables > 10 billion rows, etc.), or in data loading (simultaneous management of data loading power, intensive processing and queries – > 100 complex queries in less than one minute, etc).
  • The third is the fact that they have met with other experts, they have been able to learn from them and they are able to share past experiences with a didactic approach.
  • And finally of course there is the state of mind of the person: it takes rigor, curiosity, the will to perform and ESPECIALLY an ability to challenge himself => the real expert, it is the one who knows that he does not know everything, the one who knows how to say «I don’t know» … but who will come back with the solution after having involved his network of expertise 😉

A true expert will know how to quickly diagnose a situation, advance workarounds and formulate the steps to solve a complex problem by highlighting the impacts to not manage!


So why don’t we call on an expert, a REAL, more often?

On one hand, as we have just seen, real experts are uncommon.

Then because a real expert will not want to stay 100% of his time in a 3 years mission (this is a very good indicator 😉) …

On the other hand, because French culture does not recognize well technological expertise. Unlike the Anglo-Saxons who rely on it (the «geeks» at Google have among the highest salaries of the company), the technical expert in France has a low perceived value in comparison with jobs such as project managers, functional consultants, ERP “setup-er”…

It is like a superiority complex of these jobs that is wrongly rife …

Finally, buyers and managers are biasing this value recognition of expertise by systematically seeking to reduce the daily rate of missions… but perhaps they have not yet had the opportunity to work with ACTUAL experts 😊

I will end with an anecdote that illustrates all of this:

For a major telecom operator in Europe, I met a manager who was convinced of the value of expertise. He had to fight for 2 years to prove to his hierarchy that the daily rate set at €550/day literally prevented him from finding an ACTUAL expert on Hortonworks at the time of the Big Data boom (around 2015). He had to prove by the absurd that the team set up of 3 people at the indicated rate could not stabilize the platform.

After more than a year of repeated failures, his hierarchy agreed. He found a 1,400€ per day expert who solved the various problems in just 3 months. In the end, not only was the problem finally solved, but also conclusion was clear: above all it showed the difference in total cost between 3 people over 1 year at €550 VS 3 months of an expert at €1,400 (330,000 – 84,000 = €246,000 savings).

Currently, the expert is only there 2 days a week to secure all Hortonworks platforms…

At Follow US, we are convinced that it is a good idea to work in tight and expert teams to get quality projects out on time in the planned budgets.

In conclusion, take the time to find the ACTUAL experts and don’t be so afraid of the daily selling price. In the long term, you will gain not only on the success of your project but, at the end, the expert will also make you save money 😉.