What impact does the Tera-Tom series of books have on the computer industry? According to Safari Online Books (now O’Reilly Media), if someone searches under the category of “Data Engineering,” Tera-Tom has written 96% of all books on the subject in the world. No other author has come close to dominating a book search category.
When told that 96% of all data engineering books are Tera-Tom books, Tera-Tom replied, “I didn’t realize that I have done anything special, and had no idea this was some record. It took ten years to understand the system design of a Teradata system and I have written over 50 books on all aspects of Teradata from tuning to load utilities. Once I understood how parallel processing systems work, the other systems were much easier to explain”.
When asked about why the Tera-Tom books have been so special, Tera-Tom stated, “I have taught close to 1,000 classes over 30 years, and the subjects that provide the most impact is explaining how data is organized and processed by large systems, and then to provide hands-on training on how to write the SQL using the best tuning techniques. Once you can see the data and understand the processing path, you have unlimited potential for expanding your knowledge”.
When asked what the most difficult part of becoming an author, Tera-Tom says, “Writing the first book took two years, and there are so many things you have to overcome and learn. The next book took another two years, and it was equally as painful. The next four books took about one month apiece, but with deadlines, I wrote 20 hours a day for thirty straight days.”
When asked what has been the most satisfying part of his career, Tera-Tom says, “Influencing and helping people around the world with their careers. Big data changed my life. Providing the gift of knowledge to so many is the mark I want to leave on this planet. Learning all aspects of big data was nearly impossible, but I never gave up. I was scared and thought I was going to fail so many times. Clearly explaining how things work to others in the same frightened position is thrilling, because it has so much impact on them financially and for their family.”
When asked what he has learned from teaching 1,000 classes around the world, Tera-Tom states, “How important diversity is to the world. I have taught people from every different race, religion, and sexual orientation. I have found no difference in men vs. women, old vs. young, black vs. white, brown, yellow, or red. It has been so beautiful to realize that all people are the same. I have loved 99% of my students and disliked a few, but the dislikes had nothing to do with any category or stereotype. We are all the same, and there is only one path forward, and that is to live and work together”.
Tom Coffing, better known as Tera-Tom, is the founder of Coffing Data Warehousing where he has been CEO for the past 25 years. Tom has written over 75 books on all aspects of Teradata, Netezza, Yellowbrick, Snowflake, Redshift, Aurora, Vertica, SQL Server, and Greenplum. Tom has taught over 1,000 classes worldwide, and he is the designer of the Nexus Product Line.