Big Data = Big Learning Opportunities

Manufacturing Insights Blog

Cameron Beatty is one of six Kettering University students currently part of Plex Systems’ co-op program. The second post in this series, read on as Cameron shares more about the program and how his experience is helping prepare him for his career.

I've only been with Plex Systems for two years, but in that time I've learned countless things, many of which are technical. I've learned programming languages, best practices, neat tricks, and new ways to do things. I've learned about manufacturing processes and how technology can improve them. I've learned interpersonal skills, how corporate environments work and dozens of important life lessons.

However, in the face of what the future brings, arguably the most important thing that I've taken away from my time here so far is the importance of big data, what it is and how to manipulate it.

Big data is, I believe, one of the defining characteristics of the modern era. The number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2011 was more than twice what it was 20 years ago. Moore's Law is still producing continuous results, and with the global mass proliferation of computers, the world's collective ability to create data is increasing exponentially. Some even go so far as to call the last couple of decades the dawn of the "information age," which is a clear reference to the fact that society is storing more data now than ever, and entire businesses and business practices are built around the manipulation of that data.

While big data provides enormous opportunities for growth and optimization, it also presents challenges. How can we store, modify and retrieve data efficiently? How can we even tell whether or not something is efficient?

At Plex Systems, these issues are paramount. Thankfully, knowledge sharing is part of our culture, which leads to an ever-growing pool of resident experts from which to learn. Because our pace of work is rapid and our development cycles are very fast, the rate at which I am able to learn is also very high. The things I've learned here at Plex Systems have enabled me to develop a wide range of things, from business reports that draw on big data to provide the customer accurate and timely information to applications that monitor the performance of our entire system. By tackling these challenges head-on every day, we not only are able to build the best cloud ERP product available today, but also to collectively stay at the cutting edge of technology.

A college education is a great starting point for anyone interested in pursuing a technical career; however, a college education alone simply can't keep someone at the forefront of technological development and well-prepared for the future. In order to stay there, one needs constant and immersive hands-on experience. That is exactly what I get every day in my co-op.

Partnered with a theoretical education of the fundamentals from Kettering, the Plex Systems co-op program has a track record of producing top-tier software engineers … and the natural education garnered by solving complex problems in real time gives me the knowledge and confidence I need in order to prepare myself for a successful career.