Beena Emerson

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Tags:   postgresql (170)   enterprisedb (6)   pgwomen (4)   postgreswomen (10)   india (5)  
Category:   Interviews   
Interview conducted by: Andreas Scherbaum

PostgreSQL is the World’s most advanced Open Source Relational Database. The interview series “PostgreSQL Person of the Week” presents the people who make the project what it is today. Read all interviews here.

Please tell us about yourself, and where you are from.

I am an Indian who grew up in Mumbai and now settled near Chennai. Mother of a super energetic 4 year old who keeps me young. Currently employed by EnterpriseDB and also recently got my license as a Purpose Coach.

Beena Emerson

Beena Emerson

Any Social Media channels of yours we should be aware of?

My social media handles:

I do have a blog and have also posted on the enterprisedb website.

How do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies?

I was a classical dancer and love watching classical and semi classical dance videos. My most favourite youtube dance channels are One Stop Dance and IndianRaga. I also love watching art videos ranging from simple sketches and origami to the more complicated illusion art, clay murals, etc. Watching the whole process of creating wonderful art relaxes me. For art I go by what youtube suggests and do not have a favorite channel. I enjoy fantasy novels, the Artemis Fowl series was one of the best I have read. I also relax with light comedy books preferrably by Sophie Kinsella and motivational self help books by various authors.

A book that made the most impact on you

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I think, I read this book about a decade ago. This book is really inspirational and has made some major shifts in my perspective and understanding. I don’t think any other book had that level of influence on me though Losers Like Us by Daniel Hochhalter and the autobiography of Mother Teresa came close.

Any favorite movie

I am not much into movies but these two movies are my all time favorite:

It’s a Wonderful Life - The world without you in it can be completely different. Even the smallest of positive action can have a big impact due to the ripple effect. It may not be visible but it is there.

Life is beautiful (La vita è bella) - There is just something about the way the protagonist maintained a cheerful attitude to shield his son from the harsh truth of the Nazi camp that encourages me to maintain positivity during my low times..

What does your ideal weekend look like?

I spend it with family, and prepare for the next week. Since I started coaching, I take my coaching sessions in the weekend too. As a purpose coach I have a program called Discover my core where I help clients find out their core values and passions which helps them make necessary changes and take decisions to move towards their dream.

What’s still on your bucket list?

Quite a lot. To list a couple - a family tour to Italy, and to publish a book about my journey and transformation.

What is the best advice you ever got?

Always keep a vision of an exciting future so that you are motivated and driven in the present.

Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?

I was introduced to PostgreSQL 9.1 in July 2012.

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

When I joined NTT DATA in 2012, fresh out of college, they had chosen and trained 6 people to work on Postgres and I was one of them. I remember my first patch was on pg_repack.

Currently I am working on a few bugs and features for EDB Postgres Advanced Server (an Oracle compatible version of Postgres).

How do you contribute to PostgreSQL?

  • Reviewing or Authoring patches
  • Writing blogs
  • Presenting at conference

What is your favorite PostgreSQL extension?

I have worked with quite a lot of extensions. The ones I use the most are:

  • pg_indent is essential for code readability
  • pg_bench to test performance of your patch

Which PostgreSQL conferences do you visit? Do you submit talks?

I do submit talks and have presented a few times at My talk was selected for PgCon but I couldn’t deliver since my visa was not approved. Maybe next time!

What is the feature you like most in the latest PostgreSQL version?

In v14 it is the improved handling of B-Tree bloat indexes.

Do you think PostgreSQL has a high entry barrier?

I guess it does. Understanding the internal code could be difficult and confusing at times.

Which skills are a must have for a PostgreSQL developer?

Inquisitiveness, creativity, coding in C, team player, quick learning ability.

What is your advice for people who want to start PostgreSQL developing - as in, contributing to the project. Where and how should they start?

The best way to learn is hands-on. Take a small patch and start reviewing or coding.

What other databases are you using? Which one is your favourite?

Only PostgreSQL.

Do you think PostgreSQL will be here for many years in the future?

Definitely. With the strong community support, it will last for a very very long time.

Would you recommend PostgreSQL for business, or for side projects?

Since it is open source project with very strong features which improves with each version and has an fantastic active community to support. It works well for both business and side projects.

Anything else you like to add?

It is impossible until you start.

Thank you for this opportunity Andreas!