The old proverb goes, “knowledge is power.” Like never before, technology has made it possible for information to be created, collected, analyzed, and disseminated at rates almost unthinkable just a generation ago. Crucial data drawn from social media posts, customer transactions, and smart sensors are now at companies’ fingertips, ready to inform business strategies and operations. But information that is unorganized is often unhelpful. Without focus, the estimated 2.5 quintillion (2.5x1018) bytes of new information created every day is noise, not useful knowledge. More and more, businesses require a more effective way of handling their data. With their expertise in cloud technology, Portland State Business Accelerator startup Tura.io helps companies develop new structures to better store and access data while equipping a new generation of programmers to harness its power.
Though the use of big data has been around since the early 90s, many mid-to-large companies still do not have the necessary tools and systems in place to keep up with the sheer velocity of data that is being generated. Without proper storage, vital information may sit untapped, buried underneath the volume of collected data.
Through their consulting arm, Tura.io works with companies from all sectors to modernize their databases, allowing them to bring together data from different sources and store them all on a single serverless platform.
“The cloud takes away a lot of friction in operations,” says Tura.io CEO and Founder, Parham Parvizi. “The older systems required specialized people and specialized hardware. You had to monitor it at all times to figure out if you needed more space or had the right tools. It was a nightmare if you were trying to scale up.”
Movement towards a cloud-based architecture allows companies to be more flexible and cost-efficient, without having to compromise on security or performance. Beyond freeing up time and resources, cloud technology also allows companies to stay current with the ongoing job market. “Most young people entering the industry, that’s what they have experience in and what they want to work with,” says Parvizi. Keeping up to date with technology not only gives companies access to the latest analytical tools but also allows them to hire the best skills and talent that are out there.
Midway through the pandemic, Parvizi and his team began entertaining the idea of expanding their services to include educating this emerging group of data programmers. What began as a passing thought became a pet project and eventually a ten-part curriculum, designed to help entry-level programmers grow into data engineers and data architects. Tura.io’s digital bootcamp, dubbed Tura Labs, is meant to fill the gap in the online education market for data engineering even as the number of offerings on app development, web development, and data science exploded on learning platforms like Springboard and Udacity.
While Parvizi admits it may be challenging for an outside observer to distinguish between data science and data engineering, the former, he argues, would be nothing without the latter. “Data engineering may not seem as flashy, but it is every bit as important,” says Parvizi. “Everyone wants to create useful models from their data, but data has to be operationalized first before it can be useful. Someone has to process the data so that data scientists can accurately analyze it on the back end. Someone else has to continue to upkeep the model and refresh it with new data to make sure it’s up to date. That’s where data engineering comes in.”
Though the curriculum is still in development, Parvizi believes their material is already more comprehensive than what is available elsewhere online. When complete, he hopes it will be the premier resource helping users to develop competency in Google Cloud’s ever-expanding collection of analytical tools and services.
In the few months their site has been live, Tura Labs has already seen promising traction and growth among their beta testers. “We’ve had one user who’s taken our curriculum and started live-streaming it weekly onto their Twitch platform for an audience of 50,” says Parvizi. Every week, new users register for newsletters and updates, having come across Tura Labs through word of mouth.
Later this year, Tura Labs plans to begin commercializing its modules and to start a marketing campaign to draw even more awareness to its product. Until then, a portion of the material will remain available and free for use.
“In the end, we’re committed to this new growth and we’re excited for the synergy of it all,” says Parvizi. “At Tura, we are helping companies put together their technology and then equipping new engineers to help run it. As we’re teaching, we’re also ensuring we ourselves are staying on the cutting edge of the technology. It’s a win-win for everyone.”