Goodbye Database Administrator

Goodbye Database Administrator

A Title for the end of the 20th Century

Farewell out-dated and stodgy title.

So long connotation that alludes to buzzing fluorescent lights over a cluttered, tiny cubicle in the back corner of a windowless basement nerd farm next to the copier and coffee machine; smell of cheap, burnt java roasting for hours.

Adios, to a position that is summed up the the single word that is believed to be uttered by those holding this irrelevant title… “No”.

The Database Administrator is dead!  Long Live the Database Artist.

Today’s Database Professional Does More

The Database Professional of this century, still in it’s quirky teen years, is more than just the person responsible for ensuring “the database is up” and that backups are running on schedule.  Today’s DBA is the breakwall between critical and sensitive data – credit, clinical, financial, and criminal information – with exposure through state of the art solutions with complex architectures as well as rickety applications developed back when we still had all three Bee Gees and we were rocking our collective mullets.  We are cloud-hosted.  We are on-prem.  We are high availability.  We’re replicating, mirroring, publishing and subscribing.  We’re clustering and building Availability Groups.  We need to understand development methodologies (though we’re not necessarily Developers.)  We must understand the businesses we’re entrenched in so we can provide recommendations that fall in line with our corporate strategies.  We must consistently train and re-educate ourselves on the ever-changing platforms from which we earn our keep.  There is no stop, there is no end and there is no room for slowing down and staking our claim.

There was once a time when you could know everything about your database platform of choice.  As it pertains to Microsoft SQL Server there was a time when there was no Reporting Services, Integration Services or Analysis Services.  There was a time before “Big Data” – or at least when that was measured by Gigabytes.  Those days are gone and not having at least a cursory understanding of all these aspects or a network of fellow professionals you can turn to has gone the way of the Whitesnake groupie – withered, dried, forgotten.

The Future is DBA-Free… Yeah, Whatever

For the last 15 years it seems as though the mantra of “the end of the Database Administrator is here.”

We were told we’re overpaid and that our jobs could be outsourced to regions of the world with cheaper labor.  Those jobs came back when companies realized that the economics of communication and engagement were not factored into their financial equations.

We were told this when advances in automation started to develop.  What did we do then?  We started automating our processes so we could do more with less effort.

We were told this on the advent of “Self Service BI” and found out that meant we had to up our game and scale our skills out to ETL, integration, and business analytics.  It made us more valuable.

We are being told this now… that the Cloud is here to steal our jobs because the Cloud doesn’t need a DBA.  Another falsehood.  It just means that Database Administrators are no longer an impediment for Developers to spin up test/dev instances of SQL Server in Azure.

Our Palate Has More Colors

Our jobs as Database Administrators is getting more colorful and the future is bright.  There is going to be many tones of Azure in that palate.  But it only means we can shed the grey of bygone days and embrace the more radiant future brimming with possibilities.  Get out there and get colorful.