Interview with Jason Myerscough

Jason Myerscough is the author of Scalable Data Analytics with Azure Data Explorer we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?

Jason: I consider myself a jack of all trades. Currently, my specialist tech areas are Site Reliability Engineering, DevOps, Big Data and Cloud Architecture.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Jason: It is an interesting story, I always wanted to write a book. I remember when I graduated from University after my Bachelor degree I went for an interview. The guy thought I was a dreamer when I told him I wanted to write a book. In 2017, I wanted to write a book on Infrastructure as Code, that did not work out and my manager, Arunee Singhchawla encouraged me again, so when I had another idea, I reached out to Packt and the rest is history.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Jason: Tech, more specifically cloud computing and big data are a passion of mine. I like to understand how things work and how they are put together. I watch tech videos and read books the same way most people watch TV, movies, etc. Microsoft has excellent documentation and the Azure Data Explorer team have a nice technical blog.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Jason: Of course, writer’s block, ensuring I had good examples that people could relate to. I also had to ensure my day-to-day job was my top priority. I have a ‘create support’ network, I would bounce my ideas off my friends and family, well the ones who are interested in tech. Shreya from Packt Publishing played a big role. She would always share her thoughts and opinions to help make the book what it is today.

Q. What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Jason: I see these technologies becoming ever more important. A couple of years ago, big data analysis was very expensive and difficult to scale. Hardware had to be purchased upfront and specialised skills were necessary to manage the infrastructure. With the Azure PaaS services, a lot of those difficult tasks are abstracted away, which allows you to focus on analysis. As more and more companies transition to the public cloud, big data services such as Azure Data Explorer are going to be essential for managing not just the pure cloud environment but also the hybrid environments.

Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Jason: I have not seen any other Azure Data Explorer books on the market but I would also not say to choose my book over another. Always keep an open mind. Consider my book and other material as steps along your journey. Each book focuses on specific topics which complement the others.

Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?

Jason: I would like the readers to understand the basic infrastructure of Azure Data Explorer, understand the importance of Infrastructure as code and the basics of KQL and how easy the Kusto Query Language makes data analysis, such as forecasting, anomaly detection and presenting visual reports that help you tell a story with your data.

Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Jason: I read a quote from Richard Branson: “Don’t learn then do, do then learn” and I cannot agree more. Always dive in, try new things, expand on the examples and work on your own projects. Practice makes the master. Participate in projects on GitHub.

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?


Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Jason: Was a great learning experience. I cannot speak highly enough about Shreya Moharir. She was with me every step of the way always giving her opinions. Shreya and Aishwarya Mohan were both supportive and understanding when I was sick for a week or so. I would highly encourage aspiring authors to reach out to Packt and pitch their proposal.

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Jason: MSDN, Medium, SRE Weekly, DevOps Weekly, and the Azure Data Explorer blog.

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Jason: I created a Kanban board in Azure DevOps to track the chapters and work that I had. I also organized my time and mainly spent my evening and weekends working on the book.

Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Jason: Don’t be afraid. I was so nervous when I wrote the first chapter. I thought it would not be good enough. I soon realized, to be me and your personality will shine through, which helps build a connection with the reader.

You can find Jason’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Scalable Data Analytics with Azure Data Explorer on