Meet your SAS #StrataHadoop Team: Derek Hardison


A week from today, we'll be in New York City for Strata + Hadoop World, where we’ll kick things off at the Opening Reception. Be sure to stop by booth 543 to meet the team IRL (in real life)! They are excited about the event and eager to talk with attendees.

Next up in our “Meet the Teaderektwitterm” series is Derek Hardison, systems engineer for SAS Data Management. I met Derek back in April when he demoed SAS Data Loader for Hadoop to our team. And I have a twitter post to prove it! 🙂

He frequently refers to SAS Data Loader for Hadoop as “The Easy Button for Hadoop.” My response is always “It’s so easy, Brooke Fortson can do it!” It's true - this product's intuitive user interface empowers business users to prepare, integrate and cleanse big data without writing code. Stop by our booth to take a look.

What’s your background and education?
I have a BS in Industrial Engineering alongside a minor in Business Management from North Carolina State University. I chose IE after taking courses in several engineering disciplines (including computer and electrical) because I found the people, process and data aspects of industrial engineering fascinating. After graduating, I practiced engineering and computer science for a while prior to leaving the industry altogether to build houses. Several years later, I obtained my PMP (project management professional) certification and took several post graduate computer programming courses through North Carolina State University and several community colleges in the area. Now, I'm happily employed at SAS.

What skills help you most as systems engineer?
My recent studies in computer programming along with my engineering degree have helped me with this role. It also helps that there’s been a paradigm shift: We now know the importance of our data instead of it being an afterthought. My mathematical and computer science skills help me use the latest available technologies to find great insights in the data.

When did you figure out you wanted to be a data guy? What motivated you to become one?

Derek Hardison, SAS Systems Engineer, will be at Strata + Hadoop World in NYC, Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

Following the 2008 housing and financial crisis, I, as a builder at the time, decided to reflect on my career and determine what I enjoyed the most for “re-pursuit.” With my industrial engineering and computer science background, I understood the importance of data in the world we live. I decided at that point to return to school to further sharpen my skills and seek a career in the technical and business use of data.

What’s your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Re-establishing my career in the data management space, and I am very happy I did!

What’s your favorite new technology or app?
The ever-changing landscape of Hadoop and related technologies.

What are you most looking forward to at Strata + Hadoop World NYC?
Meeting new people and learning new strategies. I am excited to “take it all in” and assist in future advances in the space.

What software/techniques are you excited to show attendees?
SAS Data Loader for Hadoop, of course, I like to refer to it as “The Easy Button for Hadoop”!

To learn more about SAS Data Loader for Hadoop, visit SAS offers a free trial of the product, so give it a try. Then, be sure to come by and visit Derek and the SAS team at booth #543. We'll be demoing products like SAS Data Loader for Hadoop, SAS Factory Miner, SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Visual Statistics.

And don’t miss Paul Kent’s session on Thursday morning, Oct. 1: Patterns from the Future.


About Author

Brooke Fortson

Marketing Specialist

Hi, I’m Brooke Fortson. I’m a wife, mother and marketing guru who runs on coffee, Skittles and laughter. I graduated from NC State University in 2003 with a B.S. in Business Management and a concentration in Marketing. Before coming to SAS, I worked for a gourmet candy company, a newspaper publisher and a real estate boutique. I am now a marketing specialist in the SAS Americas Marketing and Support division, focusing on the promotion of data management and Hadoop. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to do what I love best, every day: communicate great ideas in fresh, unexpected ways. My favorite color is green, my best dance move is the Sprinkler and my happy song is “Boogie Shoes” by K.C. and the Sunshine Band. That’s my story.

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