Brighton Cloud is a friendly and inclusive group, here to build a network and a community among Cloud professionals.
Open to all passionate technologists, engineers, digital professionals, entrepreneurs, graduates – and anyone who’s interested in how cloud computing is changing the fabric of IT systems – Brighton Cloud meets up regularly to discuss topics across all aspects of Cloud usage.
We caught up with one of the organisers, Lacë-Chantelle Rogers (Lead Data Specialist in Advanced Analytics at Measurelab), to learn how she got into the world of Cloud, her predictions for the future of the technology, what advice she can offer those looking to enter the industry or migrate their business to Cloud, and more.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the work you do?
I’m a data engineer and scientist working in digital marketing and an all-around cloud obsessive. I’m currently heading up an Advanced Analytics function and team at a consultancy in Lewes, working on anything data and Google Cloud Platform.
My work varies greatly from day to day, which I love, including training and developing colleagues and clients, and product and business development. This is alongside still being an active programmer in what is an ever-changing environment.
Outside of work, I spend a lot of my time studying programming as it’s something I have a passion for and have a lot of fun with, alongside gym and hiking.
Tell us about a moment that helped define your career…
In 2014 I lost my mother, which made me really reflect on what I wanted to do and pushed me to take more risks and challenges. So I decided to leave my very secure role and the team I loved to work with at Lloyds and went to an 8 person start-up in mobile gaming.
I got asked many times whether this was the right move, especially with BI [business intelligence] in the app industry being very much in its infancy at this point, with startups going bust all the time. I also had almost zero experience in gaming or apps, but the director took a punt on me, and I’ve never looked back. The industry went from strength to strength, and I feel incredibly honoured to see the evolution of data analytics and science in the mobile app industry over the past 7 years.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Take risks. Remember that even if you are not the expert in the field, you can support others’ growth however experienced they are. And learning is a journey rather than an objective.
Can you explain the difference between Cloud (computing and storage) and traditional IT infrastructure?
For me, it’s removing the boundaries to accessing data and tools alongside the centralisation of resources such as data and storage. This includes accessibility from remote locations, alongside the ability for people to pick up a broader role due to the ease of use of these tools.
Cloud-based tech has been tested and proven during the Covid epidemic, where we have been working with multiple clients in a team which is located around the UK. Additionally, it has facilitated an escalation in skill growth, in part because of the power and speed of data processing and the vast array of tools available.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to start a career in Cloud, or looking to develop their Cloud career?
Don’t let the documentation, terminology, and the term cloud put you off. Set up a small project for yourself, and have fun. It’s ok for things to go wrong, and however experienced you are – errors happen. You don’t need to know every resource; learn bit by bit about the tools you find interesting.
Blogs like Medium are your best friends in learning. The community loves to share and support people. One of the biggest words of advice I can give is that you don’t need to remember everything. Google, GitHub and learning sites are your best friends.
Do you have any predictions for the future of Cloud? How is it changing the fabric of IT systems?
In time, I believe cloud tools will continue to develop and become more and more accessible for users without significant upskilling. I also very much believe in the hybrid data stack, in that using the best elements of each platform to build an enhanced environment.
Working with data, I also see more legislation around cloud-based data science and engineering to build a structure around data management and usage standards.
Do you have any advice for businesses looking to switch to Cloud?
Work out what you really need and what you’re likely to do with the tools; each of the cloud stacks has its own speciality. Set clear goals in mind and gradually develop the usage of tools. I always advise making sure you continue to review what on-prem [on-premises: hardware and software applications that are hosted on-site] tools can be migrated. Even down to storing CSVs and storage, the cloud has tools.
One of the other significant considerations is cost. Each of the major platforms has calculators to work out estimated spend. I can say from a GCP (Google Cloud Platform) price, often people are shocked at how low the price actually is compared to on-prem servers and storage.
What are your other big tech predictions for 2022?
Being in digital marketing, the big change on everyone’s lips is Google Analytics 4. From my experience with Firebase in apps, I predict that companies who have historically only scratched the surface of their data will be able to accelerate towards being data-driven organisations because of the free GA4 dataset. And for those organisations already working with the cloud, I predict much greater adoption of automation using Cloud tools, meaning we programmers get to do more of the fun stuff.
And finally, Silicon Brighton wouldn’t be here without people like you giving back to the community, so… what does the word community mean to you?
For me, it’s the support network we build from the newest user to the most experienced, allowing everyone to have a voice to share and develop.
Supporting people from diverse backgrounds is a particularly important part of the community for me, both being a woman in tech and someone who grew up in a children’s home.
These communities are a great place to build networks alongside supporting growth for those who may not feel they can enter the industry. And most of all, it’s just great to meet so many passionate and like-minded people who really care about what they do and bring people along for the journey.
Working hand-in-hand with Brighton’s tech community, we run a range of free meetup groups that cover a broad spectrum of specialist areas; from marketing to programming, product design to data. Check out what’s coming up here and join our community of like-minded individuals in the local tech scene!