Why I Left RapidMiner

For those that are wondering why I left RapidMiner, my dream job, there are no gory details to share.

The simple reason is I got burnt out. My time at RapidMiner was some of the best learning and growth years in my entire professional career. I solved problems, made presentations to C-suite people, and worked with some of the best talent. The flipside of this was that it wasn’t easy and it sure as hell wasn’t a smooth ride. I worked through some of the most tumultuous years at RapidMiner. We had 3 years of management changes and radical 180 degree strategy changes while I was there. All this ‘chaos’ eventually took it’s toll on me.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no ill will towards anyone. I really miss my colleagues and friends, but I made my decision to leave in early May 2017. I had no real plan at that moment, I just needed some ‘me’ time. I quit in July 2017 and took a few weeks off to be with my family.

As luck would have it, my town’s Municipal Engineer approached me and asked if I’d like to work on a town project. He knew that in my former life as an Engineer, I had a lot of stormwater management design experience and this project needed some big stormwater analysis. I decided to take this job and simultaneously start a Data Science consultancy too. I ended up doing Engineering and RapidMiner/Data Science consultancy from August 2017 work till right about September 2018. What happened in September 2018? Well that deserves its own post for another time.

I started taking on RapidMiner related consulting work and doing my stormwater analysis. I was living the life of a consultant, working strange hours, worrying about invoices, worrying about where the next job will come, etc. Luckily I picked up more Engineering work from my Municipal Engineer to keep me afloat as I navigated through the lean times.

In August of 2018, my stormwater project ended up getting approved by the NJDEP and Highlands Council as a Major Development in New Jersey. This was a first in Highlands and NJDEP history, a brand new Community Center and Shelter got the green light to be constructed, all because we engineered a better stormwater management system. Although my work will never be seen – it’s all underground – I can take solace that I will be recharging 133% of clean rainwater over the development area into a depleting aquifer. I know that this project will be a benefit to the Community and the environment, and that makes me happy.

Making a positive impact can be really hard at times but the reward is immeasurable.

So there you have it. Nothing to see. It was time to move on to the next adventure. I can take solace that all the RapidMiner adventures and friends will always be a part of me. As Ingo from RapidMiner would say, “onward and upward.”

Let’s go.

Python, RapidMiner, and Carriage Returns

I’ve been working on some Python code for a RapidMiner process. What I want to do is simplify my Instagram Hashtag Tool and make it go faster.

Part of that work is extracting the Instagram comments for text processing. I ran into utter hell trying to export those comments into a CSV file that RapidMiner could read. It was exporting the data just fine but wrapping the comment into carriage returns. For some strange reason, RapidMiner can not read carriage returned data in a cell. It can only read the first line. Luckily with the help of some users I managed to work around and find a solution on my end. DO all the carriage return striping on my end before export.

The trick is to strip all carriage returns, spaces, tabs, etc using the regular expression ‘s’, then replace the stripped items with a space like this ‘ ‘ in place. While this isn’t elegant, it had to be done because Instagram comment are so messy to begin with.

Code

RapidMiner Text Mining Resources

Just some Text Mining resources in RapidMiner that I found cool, helpful, and interesting. This list will be updated as I find more links.

  • Using NLTK and Text Blob python packages
  • Fix spelling mistakes using Text Blog python package
  • Splitting text into sentences inside RapidMiner
  • Building a dictionary based sentiment model in RapidMiner
  • Text processing customer reviews using the Aylien extension