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Data Engineering At Global

This blog from Leslie Salami details her experiences at Global, having recently joined the company as a data engineer.

I recently joined Global as a Lead Data Engineer. As part of the role, one of my key objectives is to lead and develop a team of data engineering experts towards being best-in-class, as we build and evolve key data platform services across the business. I will also be focusing on mentoring some of the best talent in the field of data in Scotland through internships/placement programs and hosting a series of events such as hackathons. Over the next couple of months, I will be writing a series of blogs about Data Engineering at Global and how we work collaboratively with the Data Analytics and Warehouse teams to provide world class data infrastructure and tools to deliver end to end innovative business solutions. My first week of joining Global and getting to know the team offered me a great learning experience. Here are some of my key takeaways on the organisation, working for Global and personal development.

The Company and Culture

Global is home to some of the UK’s best-loved radio stations such as Heart, Capital and Classic FM, just to name a few. Through these stations, we keep over 25.2 million listeners tuned in and entertained each week. We are also one of the leading Outdoor advertising companies in the UK with over 35,000 sites covering 95% of the UK population. In 2018 we launched our awards ceremony, The Global Awards, to celebrate the biggest stars of music, news and entertainment. Global has taken an exciting step by launching its Scotland Tech Hub based in Glasgow to help transform the audio, ad tech and outdoor advertising landscape in order to better serve our consumers and clients.

Everything we do at Global is driven by our culture, the talented people who make it happen and of course, our loyal audiences and customers. The culture in the engineering team is innovative, fun and inclusive. Everyone has helped get me up to speed on the current technology stack and it gives me immense pleasure to work for an organisation that has the well-being of its staff at its core. In addition, Global offers a comprehensive employee benefits package from health and wellbeing to additional perks and benefits. Furthermore, there are also groups such as the FEEL GOOD (Health & Wellbeing) and RISE (Diversity & Inclusion group) that staff can join to enhance their experience at Global.

Working For Global

Data is at the heart of Global’s Technology and Digital department. The main objective of the technology team is to better serve our audiences and drive value across our business by analysing large volumes of data generated from millions of listeners and viewers per week and transforming this data into meaningful insight. The Data team consists of the Engineering division, Analytics division and Warehouse division. It is worthwhile to note that working for Global is not just a job, it’s an experience. We are not only focused on ETL, building and maintaining pipelines but we also encourage creativity and innovation to build customer-driven solutions that make Global one of the top entertainment and media companies in the UK.

The Technology and Tools

We are currently building a data platform to improve our recommendation engine for our Global Player, advanced customer segmentation and our own digital advertising exchange that connects brands to audiences. Some of the tools we use as the engineering team to achieve this are Python as the primary language, Apache Airflow for pipeline scheduling and orchestration, Snowflake and DBT for our Data Warehouse. On the other hand, Docker, Kubernetes and Helm are used for development and production environment deployment. We also use Big Data technologies such as Apache Kafka for streaming, Databricks and Spark for distributed data processing. For our storage, we use AWS which is a primary cloud and storage platform. In addition, we use Jenkins for CI/CD, Terraform for infrastructure as code and Atlassian products (Confluence & Jira) for project & defect management. That’s quite a stack!

Personal Development and Growth

One of the reasons why I joined Global was because it was a good cultural and career fit. Global organisation’s culture creates an environment for employees to innovate, grow, evolve and make an impact which was a key attraction for me. We offer programs such as the Early Career Program and Global Academy which are tailored for young people who are looking to start their careers in the technology field. Furthermore, as employees, we have a development plan and portal that allows us to upskill and attain certifications in the latest development tools such as AWS, Databricks. As part of my growth goals, the next step for me is to achieve an AWS Solutions Architect certification. At Global, the opportunities for growth and development are just as exciting as the role itself.

What’s Next?

The first week of onboarding was helpful and the Confluence page had everything I needed to hit the ground running. For the next couple of weeks, I will get to know the other teams within the business and the various products and services and see how we can collaboratively work together. I will also spend time getting up to speed with the technology stack and the development processes. Keep an eye out for my next blog post to track my data journey and continue to discover the amazing world of Global.

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