The New DBA

What does DBA mean? It’s traditionally meant Database Administrator for technologists. However it’s also been a synonym for a database developer, or even anyone that has raised privileges on a database system. The term has been expanded to people designing databases, and usually includes the BI developers or analysts that work with database related technologies.

In short, it’s been a vague term that means different things to different people. However as I look forward, I think there’s another interpretation I have. The people functioning as DBAs, are the Data Bridges to Applications. We take the data and find ways to ensure it’s useful to applications. We make sure it’s available. We connect systems together. We do the dirty work of cleaning data. We secure the bridge.

We really are the person that needs to answer any question about the database. Throughout my career, when a company has decided to use DBAs, I have found the DBA is usually the catch-all person that really needs to be able to do whatever is asked of them that might tangentially relate to a database.

While there have always been DBAs that tightly controlled their systems and acted as impediments to change, I think those positions are disappearing fast. More and more companies, if they even bother to hire DBAs, want those individuals to ensure data is useful. Whether that’s administering, developing, configuring, or anything else related to data, whether the data is in an RDBMS, Access, Excel, the cloud, NoSQL, any anywhere else, we need to be able to provide some solution to gets data to an application.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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