Tag Archives: Python

Becoming a Data Scientist {EDC Developer + Statistical Expert + Data Manager}

At an early age, I was drawn to computers. I did well in math; I love science and I started enjoying programming when my stepfather gave me a small computer to program games. This was my real experience with programming. I think the programming language was Basic. The computer had some built-in games and basic math problems in it but you could also play around with ‘Basic‘ codes and create your own.

Then I went to a technical school and into college where you take basic classes in information system /technology and took courses in telecommunication management.  Most of the courses were around IP, PBX and Network Administration.  As part of that curriculum, I took a basic programming course and VB.net. I really like that since it has a visual interface (drag and drop to create the interface) and when you click a button you create an event so I like the design aspect of it (I am known to be very creative) then I started to design for people (website design and development, small databases). A lot better than working in telecommunications. I thought VB was a great first language to learn. Later I took a Microsoft Access database development class and we learn database design (relational) and found out I was really good at that.

Before I graduated, I was already working for a well known pharmaceutical company as a database analyst within their data management and biometrics team. They really like what I did with their clinical operations data (investigator data – you know the one that now we need CTMS systems for nowadays). So this was a confirmation that ‘databases’ was my passion. I love designing it, managing and maintaining it.

During my early years in this industry, I spent a lot of time writing SQL codes and SAS programs.  We pulled the messy data (back in those years we used the Clintrial Oracle backend system) and very problem solving oriented. A business question was asked and we would go using either SQL or SAS and go into this messy database and figure it out the answer. I really enjoyed that.

In recent years, I take data from a {EDC} system then write scripts to summarize the data for reporting and put into a data warehouse and then I use a product called ‘IBM Cognos’, which points to the data warehouse to build those reports and worked with different users across different departments (a lot of different audiences for the data) with a lot of different interesting data in there. I have spent time using APIs to extract data via Web Services (usually in XML-ODM format) and generate useful reports in SAS or Excel XML.

People think that being a data analyst is just sitting around a computer screen and crunching data. A lot of it is design-oriented, people-oriented, and problem-solving. So when people ask a question, I get to dive into the data and figure it out the answer.

Next step is to get into predictive analytics and do more data mining and data forecasting.

Are you still excited about becoming a data scientist?

You can start by reading my blog about programming languages you should learn here!

Other tools and programming languages you should learn: Anaconda, R Programming, Python, Business Intelligence Software like Tableau, Big Data Analytics with Hadoop, create new representations of the data using HTML and CSS (for example when you use APIs, XML to extract data from third-party sources).

Anayansi, MPM, an EDC Developer Consultant and clinical programmer for the Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and Medical Device industry with more than 18 years of experience.

Available for short-term contracts or ad-hoc requests.  See my contact page for more details or contact me.

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4 Programming Languages You Should Learn Right Now (eClinical Speaking)

I am a strong believer that learning a new language makes you better at the others, but I am not a “learn to code” advocate since a foreign language (I know 3 languages and currently learning my 4th and I have a “to learn” language including Italian and Arabic, if I ever find some free time) or even music (I love to play drums) are equally beneficial. But if you want to obtain a job in the pharmaceutical industry, here are the list of programming languages you should learn:

  1. C#:

What it is: A general-purpose, compiled, object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft as part of its .NET initiative.

Why you should learn it: If you are looking to become a Medidata Custom Function programmer or Oracle InForm EDC Developer then you should.

2. Python:

What it is: An interpreted, dynamically object-oriented, open-source programming language that utilizes automatic memory management.

Why you should learn it: If you are like me always looking to learn new technology, love Google platforms and perhaps want to become a Timaeus Trial Builder, you should learn it. It is used on a lot open-source technologies.

Everyone should learn to code

3. PL/SQL or SQL:

What it is: PL/SQL stands for Procedural Language/SQL.

Why you should learn it: If you are like me additive to databases then Oracle should be your choice. If you want to become an Oracle Clinical programmer or Database administrator, you should learn Oracle PL/SQL.

4- SAS

What it is: SAS stands for “Statistical Analysis System” (software). It is the most powerful and comprehensive statistics software available.

Why you should learn it: SAS skills are in high demand nowadays. If you are able to obtain the SAS Certification and a few years of experience in the Pharmaceutical industry, you will be in good shape. If you are new and looking for training there are several options available from SAS Institute to private vendors such as Clinovo to even learning on your own. I most warn you as it will be difficult to obtain a job without experience. Nevertheless, once you are in, it can only get better.

Remember that your job is not just to code but to solve real problems. Your ability to code covers a lot of range of skills: from critical thinking, problem analysis & solving, logic, etc.

So which one are you going to give a try?

Let me know what is your preference. Happy Programming!

The best thing about a boolean is even if you are wrong, you are only off by a bit.(Anonymous)

Anayansi Gamboa has an extensive background in clinical data management as well as experience with different EDC systems including Oracle InForm, InForm Architect, Central Designer, CIS, Clintrial, Medidata Rave, Central Coding, OpenClinica Open Source and Oracle Clinical.

Disclaimer: The legal entity on this blog is registered as Doing Business As (DBA) – Trade Name – Fictitious Name – Assumed Name as “GAMBOA”.

Source:
SAS Institute
Learn PL/SQL

The Next Best Thing – Timaeus Trial Builder?

First of all, let me clarify by saying that I am not an expert when it comes to Timaeus. I recently came across this EDC tool while working on a project. We were testing out different EDC applications as part of their new infrastructure solution.

At first, I was hesitant to learn about it. All I knew was that you need it to know ‘Python’. The main programming language for their edit checks/validations and back-end structure but after my first encounter with the tool, I changed my mind. This is one of the easiest tool to use and deploy your clinical study you can find in the market, nowadays.

With that being said, What is Timaeus? This another EDC tool, trial builder application provided by Cmed Technology www.cmedresearch.com which helps build eCRF (data entry screens), edit checks/validations, external loading data and other config files.

In order to grasp this new tool, you will need to familiarize yourself with other technologies such as HTML, XML, Emacs, SVN, Python and the like and understand the TMPL element concept.

TMPL stands for “Timaeus Markup Language”. It has a bit of pieces of codes similar to what you see in HTML or XML files.

Even though the system is lacking of front-end features we are so used to in comparison with similar EDC solutions, nevertheless, this tool gets my thumps up for ease of use, cost-effectiveness, change control capabilities and one of the most robust security systems to capture electronic records as per CFR11 regulations.