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The DBA Tax Expand / Collapse
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Posted Sunday, July 8, 2012 4:48 AM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The DBA Tax






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Post #1326553
Posted Sunday, July 8, 2012 12:39 PM


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Excellent editorial, Steve! I wish I could give it a hundred stars because it really hits the nail on the head. There're too many people that spend way too much time doing the "Chicken Little" thing.

I'll also point out that there are also too many people that invest way too much time in following the lastest and greatest shiney object. Yes, things like Power Pivot are absolutely the bee knees but, if you don't know how to do a simple CROSS TAB with some pretty good performance behind it, then you're really not doing anyone a favor. You've got to know the basics first.

As I ask a lot of people who skip the basics... "Do you want to be a DBA... or just a user?"


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

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Post #1326603
Posted Sunday, July 8, 2012 10:48 PM


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I have to strongly agree against Jeff.

"When PowerPivot was released a few years ago, I heard no shortage of fears from data professionals that this tool would eliminate much of their work. Since then I've heard no shortage of consultants and BI developers say that this tool has spurred even more work for them. It simplifies prototyping, and allows for a better front end experience, but it also requires better data, cleaner data, and better models of data for users to work with. They are drowning in work."

Steve, I think you forgot the word "performance." PowerPivot gave an entirely new meaning to it.

And yes, to state the obvious, "drowning in work" does not even begin to make any justice to the description. (I worked honest 6 hours this sunny July Sunday...)
Post #1326656
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 1:02 AM
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..And it was ever thus
I remeber being on a training course back in 1984 learning COBOL being told (by the trainer !) that we were the last generation of programmers and that after a couple of years our Role would be to assist end-users in building their own systems .... however the 4GL has come and gone , programmers still program DBAs and sysadmins still administer ...
That is not to say that technology has not eliminated some roles - I don't think there are many (if any ) punch operators or Tape librarians out there and the computer operator has evolved away from being just a "tape monkey" into more of an ops support role but as the French say -- Plus ca change
Post #1326680
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 1:32 AM
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The only ones who see us as a "tax" on company computer systems are the technical/network managers who can't understand why we do so many backups and need so much storage and tell us that their once a day tape backup is enough for our databases (assuming that particular production server is even on their list of backups )
Post #1326693
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 7:11 AM


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For years I've seen companies that produce BI products make the claim that users will be able to create complex reporting such as "as of", drill thru graphs, etc right out of the box. A constant I always see is that this is never the case. Report writing is a profession itself and it is something that requires experience to be good at. We have been a re-seller for several reporting tools that we package with our app and I've never once been worried about job security due to any reporting tool.

Cheers
Post #1326834
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 7:25 AM
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Steve,

I agree with the point that I believe you were intending to make. No arguments whatsoever.

However, a lot of people are worried about losing their jobs, and the reasons are similar enough that I expect to see some contrarian positions here. For example, a lot of highly educated people end up losing their jobs as part of cost cutting measures, only to be replaced by less costly, younger workers. The H1B visa is an atrocious attack on American high tech workers, sold to the public as a way to fill jobs "nobody wants" and "nobody is qualified for", and has been shown to be causing a decline in college students pursuing tech.

Am I afraid of technology replacing me? Not at all.

Do I understand why a lot of people are worried about thier jobs, oh yeah. Those who do may or may not benefit from improving themselves. It is possible to improve oneself out of a job as the cost to employ is raised.

Dave


Dave
Post #1326847
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 7:54 AM


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Self-serve online trading has been around for a couple of decades, but that hasn't reduced the demand for stock brokers and financial planners.
Post #1326861
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 8:01 AM


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In this case, I don't entirely agree with you, Steve. In my work situation things go from hard to harder. 3 years ago we had 5 people in our IT department: 1 manager who occasionally programmed, and was excellent at hardware issues; 1 part time student who did our DBA work; and 3 developers (I was one of the 3). However, before that year was out we lost the student and he was never replaced. I became the accidental DBA, because I happen to know more about SQL Server than anyone else. Last year one of the 3 developers died, and has never been replaced. In March the IT manager quit and will not be replaced. That leaves just 2 of us, who are, remember, first developers. Neither of us have hardware experience. Neither of us are network administrators. Between the 2 of us, I did take 1 SQL Server administration course (for SQL 2005), so that also contributes to my being placed in the role. But using the terminology you introduced in your article, I guess my management thinks that a DBA is a tax, because believe me, they have no intention of replacing that student we lost 3 years ago. Now, perhaps in our situation that's not such a bad thing, because we only have 1 production SQL Server server, and 1 test SQL Server server. We have 5 servers in all, however most of those servers are old and have gone off of warranty, and my management isn't willing to pay the money to either replace the servers or renew the warranties. I live in fear that one of those old servers will die. If either the other developer or I were to leave, then it would really hurt the agency badly, and it certainly would put the person staying behind in a horrible situation (no more vacation, no sick leave allowed, etc).

Bottom line: if the agency is small enough, they don't want a DBA. They're not willing to pay that "DBA tax". They'll make anyone who has any IT experience be the developer, administrator, PC tech, help desk, network engineer and of course DBA.



Rod
Post #1326865
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 8:04 AM


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Great article about addressing fear. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
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