As people who have made our career in IT, data drives our decisions. It is often the way we best understand the world around us. And, I’ve found, it’s a source of clarity, if not comfort. For some, seeing the daily COVID-19 statistics creates a rise in anxiety. For me, at least, knowing them gives me something tangible to hold onto. Those numbers remind me that information about the pandemic is know-able. It exists. And if that exists, then solutions do (or will) exist as well.
In the early days of the pandemic, I found that the sources of data were both disparate and sometimes conflicting. Gathering that information into a single place was time-consuming. And so I did what I would with any tech challenge: I automated the hell out of it.
From cron jobs that pull down the data from a github repo; to spreadsheets with embedded API calls to remote web services, this event has caused me to grow my skills in ways I would never have pursued otherwise. I might wish I’d had a better reason to learn them, but I cannot deny that the techniques I’ve learned will come in handy in a (please God) better future that lies ahead.