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Marty Durkin
HST Ground System Software Support

picture of Marty Durkin

I am a team lead for a Database and System Administration group. My team is responsible for two databases that store the information that a proposer submits to Space Telescope, called a proposal, which is used to operate the telescope for the particular observations they are interested in. These databases are also responsible for storing internal tracking information about the proposal and long-range planning and scheduling data. Other responsibilities of my position include:

- scheduling the work of the other team members and monitoring their performance
- generating reports from the data that is stored in these databases via a report writer called SQR
- maintaining accuracy of the data since often the proposal goes through many iterations in order for the proposal to be executed in the best possible manner
- improving performance of the database
- modifications to the database tables (i.e. adding new fields to tables, deleting existing fields, etc.)
- writing WEB pages
- writing and maintaining various tools that access the databases

One of the new tasks of the Database and System Administration team is to redesign the existing databases. The needs of the database have evolved over the years and the tables need to be brought up to date. This is an effort that involves the work of many different groups around the institute since they are currently using the databases.

I first decided on a career in Computer Science back in high school when I had the opportunity to take several computer courses. I loved math and found computers to be challenging and interesting. In college, I majored in Computer Science and later received a masters in Engineering Science.

During the time that I worked at my first job, I found that I enjoyed programming, but I also enjoyed interacting with other people. When I started working at Space Telescope seven years ago, my position as a System Administrator gave me the opportunity to do both of these and eventually grew into the position that I am currently in. The best thing about my job is that I get to do technical work that often involves what I call "fire fighting" where some crisis occurs that needs to be fixed and fixed quickly. I guess you could say that I work well under a little pressure. Also, I like working with people as oppposed to spending an entire day strictly interfacing with a machine.

Outside of work, I have a lot of things to keep me busy as well. Tropical fish has been a hobby of mine for years. I currently have a 55 gallon tank which is well stocked with fish. I recently have converted the tank into a plant tank which has been a lot of work but lots of pleasure as well.

Besides tropical fish, I also enjoy gardening. Last spring, I purchased a house that has mega-gardens, and I really love working in them when the weather gets nicer.

Any additional free time that I have is spent listening to music. My preference as far as music goes is rock. I enjoy newer groups (i.e. Smashing Pumpkins, Collective Soul, Alanis Morissette) and older ones (i.e. Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Boston).

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