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Interview with Belaid Cherfa, consultant at Talan Solutions

In this employee testimonial, Bélaid looks back at his career, his assignments as a consultant and a strong memory at Talan.

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Can you present your background in a few lines ?

I first obtained a degree in mathematics and research at the University of Nîmes and then a master's degree in computer science at the University of Paris Saclay, with a focus on data integration and big data. At the end of my studies, I joined Talan for a 6-month internship in the Data Integration unit. From the start, I was given very interesting tasks and I was trained especially on the Talend solution. I also participated in POCs (Proof of Concept) around data quality issues and the RGPD. Very early on, I had the chance to make presentations and demos. I was very quickly considered as a full collaborator. Then, this internship evolved into a permanent contract.  And I have been working at Talan for 2 years now.

 

What is your current position ?

I started as a business intelligence consultant with Talend ETL. For a little over a year, I've also been working on Snowflake, a new data warehouse solution in the cloud.  Overall, my mission revolves around data in BI and integration. Most of my time is spent working on a very strategic project for a client in the luxury sector. It's a question of overhauling their BI system to Full Cloud solutions.

I am also working on a BI project for one of the major French specialists in "green chemistry", covering the entire chain from extraction to visualisation. We designed "From Scratch", a data warehouse that allows data from several operational applications to be cross-referenced. It provides business users with a set of indicators to manage their activity on Power BI.

 

Have you been impacted by Covid ?

I started one of these missions on 23 March last year, i.e. 4 days after the containment. So we had to adapt quickly. The client's stakes were too high to postpone the project, so we started and carried out 90% of this mission remotely. Despite the difficulty of working remotely with my team and the client, we kept our commitments and obtained the satisfaction of our client on the first production starts. It was a different experience that changed my way of organising my work and my daily life.

 

Do you have 3 words to describe Talan ?

 

Trust

I'm talking about the trust that managers and executives have in consultants. This is reflected, for example, in the editor training and professional certifications that are offered to us. At Talan, employees are supported in their learning and continuous improvement of their skills. This encourages them to give their best to client projects.

 

Innovation

Talan has very strong partnerships with major software publishers such as Microsoft. As soon as a new technology emerges, Talan invests in it.

At my level, this was the case with Snowflake. As soon as it appeared in 2018 in France, Talan got closer to them and developed a partnership. I was one of the first to be trained and certified on this solution and I must admit that I am quite proud of it.

 

The future

I've been with Talan for over two years now and I'm looking forward to it. Talan gives all its consultants real opportunities for development. For example, during the annual interview, I discuss my professional future and the role I can take within the organisation.  Talan invests in people.

 

What is your playground at Talan ?

My playground revolves around data. On the project I'm mainly involved in, we first analyze operational data to produce technical and functional specifications for the warehouse. Then, the modelling and development of the feeding framework via the Dbt_ tool (Data Buid Tool, a new actor in ELT data processing). We then feed a data warehouse. I am involved in the modelling, flow automation and integration test automation.

I am developing my skills through training and also thanks to the experts and project managers with whom I work. With them, I am constantly improving my skills.

I also help Talan resources to improve their skills through training on Snowflake and I help them to get certified.

In short, my playground is all the new technologies related to data processing and storage, such as Snowflake, Azure Synapse, etc.  The aim is to become a reference in France and even internationally for this technology. And contributing to this project is very motivating.

 

Do you have a strong memory at Talan ?

It was the launch of the project I'm still working on. We met every Wednesday at the Saint-Denis service centre. There were managers, architects, senior consultants, project managers and the head of the data intelligence entity.  It was a big team and we had several brainstorms to build this project from scratch. We created the different layers of the project: modelling, architecture, infrastructure, security management. It was very rich.  Everyone was able to contribute at their own level! It's a really strong memory, because we were all aware that we were participating in something important!

 

Who is the person who inspires you the most ?

On a professional level, there is my manager. More generally, I would also say the managers of Talan Solutions. They are experts in their field and are very open-minded. They don't hesitate to take their time to explain something... They are very generous.