What does the Future DBA Do?

The database administrator (DBA) role has always been a strange one to many organizations. Some companies embrace the role, some don’t. Some hire DBAs, some expect others to handle those duties. The others could be sysadmins for other systems or developers, or maybe everyone might just assume someone else is handling backups, index maintenance, and more. Often those latter companies will have issues at some point when they need to recover a system or performance is extremely poor.

As cloud computing has become more popular, there have been quite a few pieces about how the DBAs job is changing. Often the response to these items is one of two things. Either people agree and talk about a completely new way they will need to work and new skills they must acquire, or they are sure nothing will really change.

I think both things are true. I’m not sure that if you are a DBA now that your work in your current role will change that much. Sure, the company might add some new tasks, new resources, ask you to learn now things but often if your company hasn’t embraced a lot of change, your job isn’t changing. Even if your company adopts some cloud computing.

I just wonder if this is your last job. I hope this is mine, but for many people, they can expect a new employer at some point. If that is likely, then are you positioned for your next job?

I ran across a piece on how the DBA job might change, and I think there are things to think about here. There are five items to look at, and all of them relate to the cloud’s influence on DBAs. While I don’t know that most, or even lots, of companies will adopt the Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) or have their DBs be a utilty in the PaaS sense, I do think DBAs should strive to make the database a utility for both ops staff and developers. There is a surprising amount of effort here, and I do hope things like the Spawn project from Redgate change the way we work with databases in the future.

I do think that if you need to seek a new employer, and new opportunities, your general skills will matter. Being an amazing T-SQL guru or incredible AG admin might be highly valued in your current role, but often hiring managers might want to be sure you know something about a wide variety of things, from AI/ML to Power BI to working in the cloud. Your ability to learn, collaborate, and discuss intelligently different aspects of database work will be important.

If you think you might need another job, think about acquiring the skills for your next job today.

Steve Jones

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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