It’s interesting to think about the role of the DBA and how it might evolve in the future. I regularly see predictions about the DevOps movement, and increasing ability of fewer staff to manage larger scales of systems (more systems or more data). There is also the fundamental way in which larger “cloud” type providers (inside your organization or third parties) can include features or services that reduce the need for DBAs.
However I ran across a statement that I think certainly provides some view into how the DBA might be affected in the future. The statement was: “The more an organization values its data, the more the DBA is under pressure to provide access to this data.” That includes all the people working with and managing data, whether developers, sysadmins or dedicated DBAs. They must ensure the data is available and useful to clients.
I’m sure many people unconsciously realize this is their role, but they sometimes get caught up in looking at performance, or normalization, or backups, or some other task as being the highest priority task. In reality, we must continue to ensure backups are available if we need them, and systems perform well, and all the other ancillary tasks, but remember that backups and tuning and everything else are tasks needed in support of making data available for users.
More and more I really believe that anybody that functions as a data professional, whether that is a small part of their job or all they do, needs to keep this fact in mind. The data is the more important asset we work with and all our efforts need to be geared towards helping our users access in as many ways as possible.