Growing to be hardened information farmers
Title 
The Coming of age of InfoFarm.

Since 2014, there have been quite some changes in the fields of big data and data science.

InfoFarm has attracted new employees in order to continue to grow and provide state of the art services to our current and future clients.

Currently (end of 2017), our team consists of 20 people (http://www.infofarm.be/about_us). 

Not trying to cling too close to the titles, we have 8 Data scientists, 11 Data engineers and one infrastructure specialist.

The labeling of our skills is greatly improved since labeling of the function “Data engineer” (as complementary to Data scientist). We used to call them “big data developers” due to lack of better terms. Following an article on cognitive class (https://cognitiveclass.ai/blog/data-scientist-vs-data-engineer/ ): “Data Engineers are the data professionals who prepare the “big data” infrastructure to be analyzed by Data Scientists”. Those with the good programming skills so to speak.

Back in 2014, the big buzz was “Big data”, and together with “Hadoop”, “Pig” and “Hive” were the go-to technologies. Now, we have “Spark”, which integrated or replaced the previous technologies.

Data science also got its new buzz: AI. Deep learning took our field by storm. The breakthrough came in 2012, when more computation power and labeled datasets became available. Since then it started to spread from the academic world and the big companies towards all business industries.
While this field is still booming, we already have very good libraries to make and execute neural networks. Starting in 2016, we built our own first convolutional network for one of our clients, and is being used in stores as we speak.

InfoFarm strongly emphasizes on continuous education of its employees, enabling them to stay up to date with the latest technologies: both the new ones as those who are becoming more established and main stream. We follow the developments by IBM, Microsoft, Amazon and other providers of software and hardware in this field closely, as well as the open source community that continues to push the edge.

And of course, we got some competition. Many IT and consulting companies have started or are starting their data-science division, as well as some startups who bring different forms of data science as a service, or use the technology for the products they make. But even then, the demand is bigger than the supply. Our employees get contacted by headhunters on a regular basis.

But beware, where there is hype, there are cowboys: people who promise you the sun and the moon with this new technology. We try and keep our feet on the ground and discuss with our client what is in the realm of the possible.

 

Yes, we are on fertile grounds. This year, InfoFarm opened an office in Hasselt, and is looking to Ghent as well in the near future. Both for our employees and clients, it’s a good thing to be closer to their homes or offices.