This week I was honored to be able to attend, and present a session at, SQLDay in Wroclaw Poland. I fell in love with Poland the very first time I attended this event, so I look forward to any time I can go again.
This year, Pavel Potasinski presented the keynote: The Evolution of the Data Professional, How NOT to Become a Dinosaur. It was an excellent keynote, and did the two things I think a keynote ought to do. First, it set a great tone for the event. Pavel's focus was absolutely on learning and professional development, two of the key themes for SQLDay. Second, it made me start thinking (yes, even the two tired old squirrels in my head can be revved up to set the wheel spinning on occasion).
One part of Pavel's keynote was on the things that Platform as a Service (PaaS) data offerings give us. He talked about eliminating servers, both hardware and the OS, automating backups, maintenance, upgrades, even some performance tuning. All of these things are potentially what you think your job may be. Heck, all those things may be your job.
The fact is, some of us (and please, if you don't think it's you, it's not) aren't great at what we do. We don't configure the hardware correctly. We're not getting the servers patched. We might have backups automated, but we haven't tested them, or even validated that we're meeting the needs of the business when it comes to recovery. In short, yeah, PaaS is absolutely coming for you.
Others of us (and if you think this is you, it is), are absolutely on top of our systems because we have to be. We've automated things to a fare-thee-well. We've got eyes on the system so we can see the smallest (figurative) sparrow fall from a SQL tree (just go with me). Is PaaS coming for you?
I don't think so. Let me quickly explain why.
I believe that if you are managing some big iron, and doing it well, PaaS is only going to offer you opportunities. It's not replacing you because, frankly, it can't. You're going to appropriately use it within your system, thanking it for taking some of the load off. But you are in a hybrid environment and are likely to stay there for a very long time. You'll learn the cloud technologies, sure. You'll use 'em. However, you'll use them well. You'll spot when they work and when they don't. In short, you're probably already what Pavel was suggesting everyone aim to be:
A data engineer.
What do you think?