Jay is Making his Dreams a Reality in a World of Big Data
Meet Jay! He's a staff data engineer who is making his dreams a reality in the world of big data.
In this monthly blog series, we shine a light on Procorians across the globe who are living our values of ownership, openness and optimism as we work to improve the lives of everyone in construction. They are Groundbreakers in every sense of the word, and these are their stories.
What is the impact of your role?
Construction technology makes a difference in the lives of real people—the tools and apps we’re building are saving them time and money so they can get their work done safely and more efficiently. As more and more customers and projects collaborate on the Procore platform, there will be ripple effects across the entire construction ecosystem.
I’m an engineer on the platform team in the data and artificial intelligence (AI) division. We build the Procore platform and enable internal teams and customers to generate value from the information that flows across it. Big data exploded a few years ago, and AI is a very hot topic at the moment. As a metaphor, AI is like the new electricity, and data is what powers it. I’ve been in this role for about two years, and I’m grateful to work with many talented folks to help bring the power of Procore to the world.
Data is a valuable component of the modern platform because its trends and insights help inform strategic decision-making. When I first joined Procore, we didn't have a real-time data platform—it was more like a batch of information that lagged a day behind. Several months later, we set off on a mission to get our customers their data at a much lower latency. There were challenges along the way, but in the end, we significantly reduced the delivery time to well below the requirement. This improved the customer experience by making data readily available to be reportable. It was a huge team undertaking, and while I only worked on the first part of it, it’s one of my proudest Procore moments yet.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I was born and raised in Chengdu, China, which is the capital city of Sichuan. The city is famous for its giant pandas and delicious spicy cuisine. My wife and I now reside in Austin, Texas, and have two daughters—a ten-year-old born in China and a seven-year-old born in the US.
I try to spend as much time as I can with my daughters because one day, they won’t think I’m cool anymore and will prefer to play with their friends instead. Until then, we play tennis, go to sports practices and explore new places together. This year, we went on a family trip to Yellowstone for the first time, and it’s now one of my favorite places in the world. Beyond that, I’m a huge Marvel fan and have seen all of their movies. My favorite is Infinity War, which I’ve watched over ten times.
In 2006, my journey into the software world began when I took a job as a software engineer to do backend project management work. It’s a vast field, so I made it my mission to expose myself to as many areas as possible. When the iPhone launched in 2007, I joined a mobile distribution digital asset management company on their mobile management solution. When the mobile world exploded a few years later, I helped a new company build their mobile web solution.
In 2012, the business I worked for was acquired by a US-based company, which is why I moved to Austin, Texas. From there, I did cloud computing work before I joined Expedia’s big data team. I had been in the data space for almost ten years, and when I envisioned my next five years and where I wanted to focus my time and energy, I realized data and AI were it. The AI field was hotter and more challenging to get into so I pursued the data side of things to learn more about AI. I’ve worked in big data since 2017, but I see myself doing more AI and computer vision work over the next five to ten years.