It’s interesting to look at the data business and how companies view DBAs, database developers, BI developers, data scientists, and more. There are some companies that really see value in our services, and I’m grateful for that. I’ve been gainfully employed for well over two decades to work with data. There isn’t much standardization in our jobs or what we’re expected to do, but I’ve grown comfortable with that. That’s one of the reasons the people working with me, my coworkers, are more important than the work. The work is the work.
As our systems become more advanced, there is concern over how much less some of our skills might be needed with new AI type systems. Will the move to smarter systems mean there will be more opportunity for us? Or less? Certainly in the long term there might be less jobs if systems become really capable, but in the short term I don’t think so. As much as Microsoft has improved SQL Server, and they’ve done great things with easier HA configs, the Query Store, Adaptive Query Processing (coming) and more, they aren’t replacing many of us. Maybe a few, but I think there’s still lots of technical work.
Darmesh Shah wrote a nice piece on AI and how it will help many of us in our jobs, providing the easy information and guidance for us to focus our skills. He sees bots as helpers, which to me presents new opportunities to interact with and work with customers and data. We will find ourselves more capable with help from AI, not replaced. As we get better machine learning or other adaptive algorithms, we’ll actually find new ways to work with data. This should provide us with new opportunities and new types of jobs that we might grow into. Plenty of people want to dismiss the data science jobs as a popular area where anyone can claim those skills if they know a statistical function and can query data in R, but there are real jobs in those areas, and there are opportunities in new companies that might not have existed in years past.
There are going to be some amazing new ways that data and more intelligent algorithms will help us see our world in the future. There will also be scary ones, and many we don’t know if we can trust. Somewhere in there, the world will become very, very interesting for those of us that work with data on a daily basis, looking for new ways to extract information from all the bits and bytes that we store. Once again, this is something I do look forward to as a data professional.