EPAM dives on war uncertainty

Tom Paine

EPAM Systems this morning withdrew its guidance for the firsr quarter and full year 2022 ”due to heightened uncertainties and regional impacts resulting from military actions in Ukraine”.

Newtown-based EPAM Systems, whicb has significant chunks of it workforce in Russia and Belarus as well as Ukraine, is down a stunning 47& at mid-day (NYSE:EPAM)

This is a very successful, muti-billion dollar company listed on the NYSE.

Over the weekend, EPAM CEO Arkadiy Dobkin issued a statement that included the following:

“With over 14,000 people in Ukraine, we are for the first time in the middle of real civil and humanitarian crisis, in the middle of the war with tens of millions of people in danger. We do know everything firsthand, in real time. And despite the unity of practically the entire world against the aggression, we are seeing a catastrophic loss of life happening as we speak. 

At this point, we are doing absolutely everything we can to save, help and support logistically and financially Ukrainian EPAMers and their families. We are doing it through a network of tens of thousands of volunteers, and with help of all our regional support teams in locations across Europe and EPAM global. And we will continue to do so relentlessly.

Today we stand United in support of the people of Ukraine and against all forms of aggression against them. The war must be stopped NOW.”

dbt Labs raises $222M in Series D funding at $4.2B valuation led by Altimeter with participation from Databricks and Snowflake

The Series D funding round is the latest in a series of milestones solidifying dbt’s position as the industry standard for data transformation in the cloud

dbt Labs


Feb 24, 2022, 09:15 ET

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — dbt Labs, the pioneer in analytics engineering, today announced that it has raised $222 million in Series D financing at a $4.2 billion valuation. The round was led by existing investor, Altimeter, with participation from existing investors Amplify Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sequoia. New investors participating in the Series D include Coatue, Tiger Global, ICONIQ Growth, GV, and GIC. Three strategic investors representing leaders in the shift to the cloud – Databricks, Salesforce Ventures, and Snowflake – also participated. No new board members are joining the team.Continue Reading 

dbt Labs
dbt Labs

Demand for dbt is driven by the industry-wide shift to cloud-based data platforms like Snowflake, Google Bigquery, and Databricks. Over the past two years, dbt has emerged as the industry standard for data transformation in the cloud. dbt enables data teams to transform data in-warehouse, and deploy analytics code following software engineering best practices. This new way of working, known as analytics engineering, has been pioneered by dbt Labs alongside the global dbt Community of more than 25,000 data professionals.

The new round of funding will allow dbt Labs to build the next layer in the modern data stack. “As dbt has become accepted as the industry standard for data transformation, our most forward-thinking community members have begun musing publicly about the future of the modern data stack and about dbt’s role in it,” said Tristan Handy, Founder and CEO of dbt Labs. “As a data practitioner, I could not be more excited about our product roadmap: an open layer to define an organization’s single source of truth, accessible via every BI and analytics tool.”

Investment from the leading cloud data platforms is the latest milestone solidifying dbt’s position as the accepted industry standard. Notable milestones from the past year include:

  • Community growth: The dbt Community now includes 25,000 data professionals, 12 dbt Meetups in 8 countries, and more than 9,000 companies using dbt.
  • Customer growth: dbt Labs increased annual recurring revenue by 6x in 2021, growing to a customer base of 1,800 accounts including JetBlue, Nasdaq, Lendlease, Dunelm, and Canva.
  • User conference growth: dbt Labs hosted the largest global conference dedicated to analytics engineering with more than 7,000 attendees. Coalesce 2022 is scheduled for October 17-21.
  • Deepened partnerships: The number of partner products supporting data transformation workloads with dbt increased by 2x in 2021. dbt Labs added integrations with partners including Firebolt, Materialize, Microsoft, Rockset, Starburst, and Teradata, in addition to existing integrations with AWS, Databricks, Google Cloud, and Snowflake products.
  • New use cases: dbt Cloud APIs now powers more than 25 enterprise applications delivering solutions across categories of business intelligence, operational analytics, data discovery, data quality, and data governance.

“The data industry is converging around unified cloud data architectures supporting machine learning, data science, and business intelligence use cases,” said Jamin Ball, Partner at Altimeter. “dbt is uniquely well-positioned for this future. dbt provides a transformation framework suited for the needs of data engineers, data scientists, and business analysts–multiple users with multiple use cases working from a single knowledge layer.”

“Like the dbt Labs team, we believe that all data users should have access to the same powerful tools and workflows used by engineers,” said Ali Ghodsi, CEO of Databricks. “With Databricks SQL, we’re now enabling data warehouse workloads. And with dbt, analysts are able to access Databricks machine learning and data science capabilities. We’re looking forward to deepening our partnership with dbt Labs over the coming years as, together, we expand what’s possible in the modern data stack.”

“The work the dbt Labs team does to help analysts create and disseminate organizational knowledge aligns with our mission to help our customers easily find insights, make better decisions and thrive in this new data-driven world,” said Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer of Tableau. “We are excited to see dbt Labs innovate the ways in which data is accessed, transformed and analyzed.”

“Snowflake and dbt Labs share a common vision of data democratization. We see organizations unlock the power of their data when more people are able to participate in analytics processes,” said Christian Kleinerman, SVP of Product at Snowflake. “By deepening our partnership with dbt Labs, we offer joint customers the ability to solve their business problems in a simple, scalable, and secure environment using the power of the Snowflake Data Cloud.”

“We are looking forward to enhancing our data strategy with dbt,” said Summer Collins, Head of Data and Growth Capability at Vodafone New Zealand. “We are undertaking a large digital transformation project in New Zealand to migrate to a modern platform and framework. Working with dbt greatly helps our speed of development, collaboration standards, and data quality.”

For more information, visit: https://www.getdbt.com/

About dbt Labs
Since 2016, dbt Labs has been on a mission to help analysts create and disseminate organizational knowledge. dbt Labs pioneered the practice of analytics engineering, built the primary tool in the analytics engineering toolbox, and has been fortunate enough to see a fantastic community coalesce to help push the boundaries of the analytics engineering workflow. Today there are 9,000 companies using dbt every week, 25,000 practitioners in the dbt Community Slack, and 1,800 companies paying for dbt Cloud.

EPAM: Great earnings, but a storm warning

Tom Paine

Newtown-based EPAM Systems reported its 4th quarter and full year 2021 results on Friday. 2021 revenue was $3.758 billion, up 41.3% year-over-year. GAAP Diluted EPS was $2.40, an increase of 64.4%, and Non-GAAP Diluted EPS was $2.76, an increase of 52.5% year-over-year

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its IPO, EPAM (NYSE:EPAM) has continued its strong performance (aided by a snapback from Covid-19 delays), which has led to a current market value of $25 billion.

EPAM’s business model is built around deploying mostly Eastern European talent to deliver systems solutions primarly for Western European and US customers. EPAM operates at a higher level of strategic engagement than some other large outsourcers. and this is reflected in the more attractive margins it earns.

Arkadiy Dobkin, a Belarus native, founded EPAM in 1993.. As the company’s CEO, he has successfully guided EPAM through the political currents of Eastern Europe. But it could be tested to a greater extent this time due to current Russian threat to Ukraine. In a 2020 regulatory filing, EPAM stated that 22% of its workforce was based in Ukraine and 15% in Russia. In adddition to its workforce, EPAM also has important physical assets (such as data centers) in the two countries.

EPAM has 54,000 employees, of which only about 350 are in the greater Philadelphis area.

EPAM shares are off about 30% since last Fall. Some of that is likely due to the general tech stock malaise, but some of it is due to EPAM’s geopolitical situation.

EPAM Systems EPAM : “We too well remember 2014 and 2015 and then 2020 as well,” Arkadiy Dobkin, CEO of the software-consulting company, said Feb. 17. “In 2021, to navigate this situation, we continued something which we started actively implementing since 2014, both organic and M&A-based efforts to improve our geographic talent diversification and to do it without any degradation in the quality of our delivery.”

Philly tech employment trends

Employees. Total. Phil

CMI Media. 915. 434

Phenom People. 1501 386

Frontline Education. 812 209

Boomi 1390 313

Qlik 2698. 230

Gopuff. 3637

EMoney Advisor. 667. 373

Dbt. 205

Piano 520 56

Source: LinkedIn

This is not a scientific survey of Philly Tech employers; it’s missing the very largest & some of the up & comers.

I’ve relied on LinkedIn’s fiilters to obtain figures on how many employees of the Philly firms are actually local. (I can’t swear these breakouts are always acccurate. And I simply couldn’t find local breakouts for a few including GoPuff.’)
But on the whole, it’s surprising that so few employees are actually locally based.

I wanted to report on how strong EMoney Advisor (sub Fidelity Advisor) & CMI Media Group (sub WPP) have
become since buyouts by out of town
Firms a few years back. Frontline Education is one that’s often overlooked locally.

Boomi is in a curious position. Split between Chesterbrook and San Francisco, it was always Dell’s (implicit?) commitment to keep Boomi’s headquarters here. Now that Dell no longer owns it, who knows? The natural pull is towards Silicon Valley, but new CEO David Meredith. is a Boston guy and might establish yet another base over time up there.

Vivek Ravichandran of TCS,
Vivek Ravichandran, Head of Talent Development for TCS in NJ | Screenshot by Esther Surden

TCS to Hire 1,000 More Tech Professionals in New Jersey. Where Will They Find Them? How Will It Work? Vivek Ravichandran Tells Us


 February 16, 2022  Esther Surden0Around New Jerseycomputer sciencecybersecurityEmerging technologiesHealth TechInnovationNewsNJ Tech CompaniesNJ Tech PeopleTech for BusinessTech jobstech trainingTech Workforce

When Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), whose Edison Business Center serves more than 100 customers in New Jersey, announced that it would bring 1,000 more jobs here and increase its STEM investments in the state, we wanted to know more. The company already has 3,700 employees in New Jersey.

We spoke with Vivek Ravichandran, the head of talent development for TCS in North America. Ravichandran is based in New Jersey.  His primary responsibility includes ensuring that adequate tech and soft skills are imparted to TCS employees in North America. He also actively works with graduates from colleges and oversees their hiring.

Here are some of his insights:

ES: Why is TCS increasing its hiring in New Jersey?

VR: New Jersey is very important to TCS. We have a big customer base in the New Jersey/New York region. As far as employees go, we have many who are based in this area. Most of our employees are high-tech professionals. We see a lot of demand in areas like cloud, AI [artificial intelligence], machine learning—these kinds of skills that the industry is leaning towards. I believe we will be hiring a lot of Java developers and people who possess modern digital skills.

ES: Do you think TCS will be affected by the tight hiring market for tech professionals in New Jersey?

VR: We see a very strong interest from the talent pool to apply for the jobs that are available in TCS.  I think this is because of the very strong brand that TCS carries. Also, the company looks at people as its biggest strength. A testimony to this is the fact that, even during tough times like now, our attrition rates are probably among the lowest in the industry.  Also, when I see the number of applicants for each job, I feel confident that we won’t be afflicted by the talent shortage.

But what gives me even more confidence is our ability to train these people. Let’s say we need you to have 10 skills, and you have seven or eight and you’re reasonably good at them, we are confident that we can absorb you, give you enough skills, bridge that gap without any problem and make you an asset for TCS to go deliver to our customers. We have a very clear understanding of the skill inventory that a person needs to have, so that they can contribute to the delivery of our projects to our customers.

People who come into the company have access to a plethora of learning resources, any course on LinkedIn Learning and any course on Udemy. Apart from that, we ourselves have a bunch of AI-driven learning platforms. All of these together today can give you a curated AI-driven learning journey, custom made for you. Let’s say we need you to be a data scientist. Based on the skills that you currently possess, our systems can actually tailor the learning path for you and say, “Hey, so today, from where you are, this is what you need to do to be the data scientist that I want you to be.”

ES: Making training available is one thing, but many of your employees actually complete their courses. What’s special about what you do?

We’ve broken this down into small nuggets that you can do in a short time. We call it “micro learning.” You can even consume 10 minutes, 15 minutes a day for five months, and go through this learning journey. We meet people where they are.

We did a lot of number crunching and figured out that people who have consistent learning patterns — such as logging online 20 minutes each night before bed — learn way more than people who have sporadic learning patterns. So today the system focuses on bringing you to the learning platform so that you will at least spend 20 minutes a day. It is gamified to incentivize this. Those who learn consistently receive currencies called miles and credits that we give out. Sometimes we’ll increase the number of “miles” they can earn. They can exchange these for quantified benefits that are defined by the company in its employee rewards and recognition framework. So, we have primary incentives, our ability to enable career growth for people who learn these skills and secondary incentives such as the “miles.”

ES: Why does the company have such an elaborate employee training program?

These mechanisms drive our ability to be confident that we can hire people en masse, train them, retrain them and make them fungible. We can train them for a position today, and tomorrow if I need them to learn something else, I can be confident that this person won’t become redundant. I have a machinery that can transform this person from a one-dimensional person to a multidimensional person, which I can use across the whole company.”

ES: TCS is one of the few tech consultancy companies we’ve run across that hires out of college. What universities in New Jersey do you look at most? And how are you able to do this?

We hire from a number of New Jersey colleges and universities, including Rutgers and NJIT. While hiring out of college represents just a fraction of our hires, it is very important to our strategy. This workforce is a very, very important workforce for us because it helps us reskill a lot of our middle level employees to upgrade their jobs.

Ten years back, if you needed to run a mainframe development project, you might need 100 mainframe architects to run that project. But today, it can be run by a few architects. There is an increased need for generalists, people with adequate depth of knowledge in more than one skill. So, these fresh graduates have picked up many of the skills we need as part of their curriculum, and it gives us a strong base to help them pick up adjacent skills. When the new graduates come in, a lot of people who have been in similar roles for a while and have acquired contextual knowledge are able to move up. They’ve been in the ecosystem, and they’ve been learning. So, they are qualified for higher-level jobs. The fresh graduates can come into their vacated places.

For anybody coming in, we invest about 12 weeks of immersive hands-on learning across skills where we have demand. It could be cloud, it could be full-stack development, it could be AI, it could be machine learning, it could be data analytics. We have a bunch of these streams in which we run 10- to 12-week immersive hands-on clinics. We believe that these recent graduates can absorb learning like a sponge and also bring in new perspectives.

ES: Talk to us about how TCS strengthens the STEM ecosystem in New Jersey.

We have two flagship programs that foster innovation and career readiness. TCS’ go Innovate Together (goIT) program, a STEM training initiative, fosters digital innovation and career readiness. This program has impacted over 42,000 students in the U.S. and Canada, including more than 870 students in New Jersey at 25 unique events in 2021. Overall, more than 2,900 students in New Jersey have engaged in goIT programming, through teaching curriculums and other programs, such as CSEdWeek and STEM Career Accelerator Day. In August 2021, TCS also celebrated the culmination of a month-long goIT STEM Camp with the Edison, New Jersey, Board of Education, with 350 students participating. 

 TCS’ Ignite My Future in School, a pioneering, transdisciplinary program for K-12 education, helps educators embed computational thinking into core subjects such as math, science, language arts and social studies. Since its launch in 2017, Ignite My Future has reached 26,300 educators and 1.55 million students across North America. To date, we have partnered with more than 375 school districts and nonprofit partners. In 2021, TCS supported New Jersey teachers and students through two TECHademy events, which are professional development sessions for educators from school districts across the state. 

 The TCS goIT and Ignite My Future in School programs are open to any schools that are interested in participating. TCS relies on a variety of channels to reach educators: word of mouth among teachers in our network, proactive outreach, government relations initiatives, TCS employee volunteer programs, and proactive engagement by our own employees. Since TCS has a particular focus on students traditionally underrepresented in STEM careers, we do research on states and cities to see which may have the greatest need and/or have new laws or mandates around computer science standards..

Esther Surden is Editor & Publusher of NJ TechWeekly. This article, which first appeared there, is republished here with her permission.


weWster Surden is Eiq


Akamai to buy Linode for $900 million

Philly-based Linode has agreed to sell to Cambridge-based Akamai for $900 million. Linode, which moved up to Philly from the Jersey shore a few years back, expects revenue near $100 million in the current year .

My impression is that Linode’s recent growth has been steady but perhaps a bit disappointing given the market it operates in. Founder Christopher Aker has famously rejected outsude financing ecxept for equipment leases,
so he’ll do well but may have forfeited some growth.

By comparison, competitor DigitalOcean, founded in 2011, now is worth almost $7 billion.

“There is natural synergy between Akamai and Linode, not only in our missions and cultures, but in the potent combination of strengths we each bring to the table,” said Aker.
“The marriage of Linode’s compute and storage products with Akamai’s serverless, CDN, and security solutions, will give customers a broader range of services to build, modernize, and scale the next generation of applications.”

Linode, founded in 2003, currently employs 238.

Press Release #security