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Google Cloud Data Heroes Series: Meet Lynn, a cloud architect equipping bioinformatic researchers with genomic-scale data pipelines on GCP

Google Cloud Data Heroes is a series where we share stories of the everyday heroes who use our data analytics tools to do amazing things. Like any good superhero tale, we explore our Google Cloud Data Heroes’ origin stories, how they moved from data chaos to a data-driven environment, what projects and challenges they are overcoming now, and how they give back to the community.

Lynn Langit rides her bike in the middle of a snowy Minnesota winter

For our first issue, we couldn’t be more excited to introduce Google Cloud Data Heroine Lynn Langit. Lynn is a seasoned business woman in Minnesota beginning her eleventh year as the Founder of her own consulting business, Lynn Langit Consulting LLC. Lynn wears many data professional hats including Cloud Architect, Developer, and Educator. If that wasn’t already a handful, she also loves riding her bike at any given season of the year (pictured on the right), which you might imagine gets a bit challenging when you have to invest in bike studded snow tires!

Tell us how you got to be a data practitioner. What was that experience like and how did this journey bring you to GCP?

I worked on the business side of tech for many years. While I enjoyed my work, I found I was intrigued by the nuanced questions practitioners could ask – and the sophisticated decisions they could make – once they unlocked value from their data. This initial intrigue developed into a strong curiosity and I ultimately made the switch from business worker to data practitioner over 15 years ago. This was a huge change in career considering I got my bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and German. And so I started small. I taught myself most everything both at the beginning and even now through online resources, courses, and materials. I began with database and data warehousing, specifically building and tuning many enterprise databases. It wasn’t until Hadoop/NoSQL became available that I pivoted to Big Data…

Back then, I supplemented my self-paced learning with Microsoft technologies, even earning all Microsoft certifications in just one year. When I noticed the industry shifting from on premise to cloud, I shifted my learning from programming to cloud, too. I have been working in the public cloud for over ten years already!

“I started with AWS, but recently I have been doing most everything in GCP. I particularly love implementing data pipelining, data ops, and machine learning.”

How did you supplement your self teachings with Google Cloud data upskilling opportunities like product deep dives and documentation, courses, skills, and certificates?

One of the first Google Cloud data analytics products I fell in love with was BigQuery. BigQuery was my gateway product into a much larger open, intelligent, and unified data platform full of products that combined data analytics, databases, AI/ML, and business intelligence.

I’ve used BigQuery forever. It’s been amazing since it’s initial release and it keeps getting better and better. Then I discovered Dataproc and BigTable. Dataproc is my go-to for Apache Spark projects and I’ve used BigTable for several projects as well. I am also a heavy user of TensorFlow and also AutoML

I’ve achieved Skills Badges in BigQuery, Data Analysis, and more. I’ve also achieved Google’s Professional Data Engineer Certification, and have been a Google Developer Expert since 2012. 

Most recently, I was named one of few Data Analysis Innovator Champions within the Google Cloud Innovators Program, which I’m particularly excited about because I’ve heard it’s a coveted spot for data practitioners and necessitates a Googler nomination to move from the Innovator membership to Champion title!

You’re undoubtedly a data analytics thought leader in the community. When did you know you moved from data student to data master and what data project are you most excited about? 

I knew I had graduated, if you will, to the data architect realm once I was able to confidently do data work that matters, even if that work was outside of my usual domains: adTech and finTech.. 

For example, my work over the past few years has been around human health outcomes, including combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. I do this by supporting scientists and bioinformatic researchers with genomic-scale data pipelines. Did I know anything about genomics before I started? Not at all! I self-studied bioinformatics and recorded my learnings on GitHub.  Along the way  I  adopted my learnings into an open source GCP course on GitHub aimed at researchers who are new to working with GCP. What’s cool about the course is that I begin from the true basics of how to set up a GCP account. Then I gradually work up to mapping out genomic-scale data workflows, pipelines, analyses, batch jobs, and more using BigQuery and a host of other Google Cloud data products. 

Now, I’ve received feedback that this repository has made a positive impact on researchers’ ability to process and synthesize enormous amounts of data quickly. Plus, it achieves the greater goal of broadening accessibility to a public cloud like GCP. 

In what ways do you think you uniquely bring value back to the data community? Why is it important to you to give back to the data community? 

I stay busy always sharing my learnings back to the community. I record Cloud and Big data technical screencasts (demos) on Youtube, I’ve authored 25 data and cloud courses on LinkedIn Learning, and I occasionally write Medium articles on cloud technology and random thoughts I have about everyday life. I’m also the cofounder of Teaching Kids Programming, with a mission to help equip middle and high school teachers with a great programming curriculum on Java.

If I had to rationalize why giving back to the data community was important to me, I’d say this: I just turned 60 and I am learning cutting edge technology constantly – my latest foray is into cloud quantum computing Technology benefits us when we combine life experience with curiosity, so I feel an immense duty to keep learning and share my progress and success along the way!

Begin your own hero’s journey

Ready to embark on your Google Cloud data adventure? Begin your own hero’s journey with GCP’s recommended learning path where you can achieve badges and certifications along the way. Join the Cloud Innovators program today to stay up to date on more data practitioner tips, tricks, and events.

Connect with Google’s data community at our upcoming virtual event “Latest Google Cloud data analytics innovations”. Register and save your spot now to get your data questions answered live by GCP’s top data leaders and watch demos from our latest products and features including BigQuery, Dataproc, Dataplex, Dataflow, and more. Lynn will take the main stage as an emcee for this event – you won’t want to miss!

Finally, if you think you have a good Data Hero story worth sharing, please let us know! We’d love to feature you in our series as well.

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