Julia Gugel

Reading time: 5 minutes

Tags:   postgresql (170)   switzerland (8)   dba (8)   conference (10)  
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 was born in Germany, near the Swiss border. In 2011, I moved to Switzerland to be closer to my workplace and to reduce my commuting time. I now work in Basel and I really enjoy the region. Being close to France and Germany generates an enriching cultural and linguistic diversity. It’s the best of both worlds… except there are three!

Julia Gugel

Julia Gugel

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

When I can take off my “Co-Head of Family” hat, I like to be outside and hike, preferably in the Alps. If the weather is not cooperative, I sew, I bake bread and cakes and If I’m not in the mood, then there is always a good book to read.

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

You can find me on:

Last book you read? Or a book you want to recommend to readers?

Choosing only one is almost impossible.There are so many good books and authors… the list is almost endless. The last book I read was “Kingsbridge” by Ken Follett (good one by the way) and I can say that the “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is the one I would like to read again.

Any favorite movie, or show?

“The Pursuit of Happiness” and I like “Vaiana”. I can watch this one again and again.

What does your ideal day look like?

Start the day with a hearty breakfast, then go for a hike with a stop at an alpine hut for ‘Brotzeit’ and end the day at a mountain lake with a breathtaking view and a glass of good wine.

What’s still on your bucket list?

Watching a football match in the US, a helicopter flight, seeing the polar lights….. My bucket list is quite extensive.

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

The first time I heard about it was in 2013 or 2014, I was already interested in another technology, but my private life did not give me the time to extend/change my professional focus.So I started to use PostgreSQL in 2018. It was a part of my new job and I was really excited to start with it. I learned so much and it was really a great decision to say good bye to Oracle.

Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?

I think I’ve started with 9.6 but only for two months. I switched to 10 quite rapidly.

I studied business informatics at a “Cooperative State University Loerrach”. Having worked in a company during my studies was obviously also a big help. It was good to learn the basics. I particularly remember the course on databases.

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

After my studies, I started working as an Oracle DBA. I still have some Oracle knowledge left, somewhere in the very back of my head. To help customers, I also have to work with MariaDB from time to time. But I must honestly say that PostgreSQL is the one who won my DBA heart.

How do you contribute to PostgreSQL?

I do not actively contribute to PostgreSQL as a developer but I do share my knowledge at conferences and I also help to organize the German PostgreSQL conference. Additionally, I am a member of the Swiss PostgreSQL User Group board and I blog about PostgreSQL and Patroni from time to time.

What is your favorite PostgreSQL extension?

I like pg_stat_statements as it helps a lot with performance troubleshooting.

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

The new monitoring features, like the progress of the COPY command are really appreciated. It makes me happy to monitor the progress of operations.

Adding to that, what feature/mechanism would you like to see in PostgreSQL? And why?

Since I spent a lot of time with partitioning last year, automated partitioning would be welcome.

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

Due to the pandemic the list is not as long as expected… I visited the PGConf.EU in Milan and made a presentation there. An incredibly enriching experience that I renewed at the 2021 PGDay Austria in Vienna. I really hope that there will be many more conferences and that I can join some of them as a speaker. Sharing knowledge is a must in a community.

Do you think PostgreSQL has a high entry barrier?

Since the documentation is clear and comprehensive, the barrier to entry was not that high for me. Of course, there are some things that take time to understand. But once you get the grasp of them, it’s not that hard… I really like the documentation and the Wiki. They are a great help in most cases. And of course, you have to get used to the mailing lists.

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

Of course! There have been many improvements in the last couple of years and there are many companies that want to launch new projects on PostgreSQL. In my eyes, PostgreSQL’s future looks bright.

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

PostgreSQL offers so many features today. It’s definitely usable for both.

Are you reading the -hackers mailinglist? Any other list?

For the moment, I am only subscribed to the -general mailing list. But it’s not excluded to follow it one day.