Alexander Groß’s love affair with Alteryx was a slow burn. Having studied Computer Science at university, the 27-year-old was working on his master’s thesis when he came across the software that would soon transform his life.
The Journey Begins
“I just studied the basics at university, Python and so on,” he says. “Towards the end of my time at university, while I was doing my master’s thesis, I was working for an Alteryx partner and my boss suggested I learn Alteryx. At first, I really didn’t like it to be honest. I think because my background was in Excel, with SQL databases. I can write SQL. I can write Python. So my mindset was, Alteryx is an ETL builder, similar to a website builder. And all the website builders I know are trash. I just wasn’t convinced it would work any better or give me more than I already had. What I would do for every workflow was drop an input, then drop the Python tool and do it in Python. But when I realised I could do it more quickly in Alteryx, I made the switch.”
What a spectacular switch it turned out to be. Alex found himself working on Alteryx for “twelve hours a day”. The more he used it, the more he appreciated what the tool gave him.
“When I see the other Aces, I see people who have been active for a longer period than me. Some who have been around for ten years or longer. I’m also pretty young. I don’t have as much experience as some of them, in life or in data. But they made me feel pretty comfortable with it and I’m very happy to be an Ace.”
“For me the key to Alteryx is the speed to performance,” says Alex. “I make this bet every time I meet any coder. I know that ten times out of ten I can build the same workflow or script way faster with Alteryx. It’s also easier to maintain, easier to read and even my boss can read it.”
While he was absorbing the intricacies and benefits of the software, Alex was happy to share his knowledge. He became heavily involved in the Alteryx community. Having solved over two-hundred community posts he was Top Solver for three straight quarters in the DACH region. By 2020, Alex was so prolific that he became a top ten contributor globally.
He quickly came to the attention of regulars and was soon rewarded with the Alteryx Ace accolade in November 2020.
“I really didn’t think I deserved it at that time,” says Alex. “When I see the other Aces, I see people who have been active for a longer period than me. Some who have been around for ten years or longer. I’m also pretty young. I don’t have as much experience as some of them, in life or in data. But they made me feel pretty comfortable with it and I’m very happy to be an Ace.”
“It’s not about the benefits, like the free licence or other resources,” he continues. “The main advantage is being able to meet the people involved. I learn so much from them about life and Alteryx. That’s the main benefit for me. Meeting these people is priceless.”
When Alex is not spending twelve hours a day working on Alteryx (he assures me he is only spending ten these days), he likes to get out and about on his bike or go jogging. He is also something of a historian.
“I have written two books,” he says. “They are about a German mathematician named Anton Neudörffer. He is a sixteenth century mathematician and we did some research about him and came across some books by him that had never been published. We did a big analysis on him and wrote these two books.”
“I really like challenges,” Alex continues. “I have interest in things that I have no idea about. What made this project special was that I couldn’t google anything because the language in the book doesn’t exist in that form today. Many people underestimate how difficult it is to solve problems without googling it. I think it is a skill that many people are missing. If you can google it it is not a challenge.”
Alexander, who works for Berlin based M2., is one of two top-class guest presenters at the next Alteryx User Group Ireland. The Alteryx Ace will be joined on the day by AUG Poland leader, Emil Kos and host Dave Pansegrouw for what promises to be a morning of great tips and enlightening insights into the use of Alteryx.