The Future for Database Administrators

  • I started out in IT back in 1984 as a Cobol programmer , spent seven years doing that . Moved into Maiframe technical support role looking after , amoungst other things , the Burroughs DMSII codasyl database becuase I found coding boring. When it started to look like the era of Mainframes was beginning to come to and end I got involved in a project to link a DMSII database to a SQL server Database via a third party product and so got into SQL server. That was fifteen years ago .What I have noticed that thoughout the years however is this. Pundits have forever been anoouncing the death of one or more roles within IT , and with the exception of a few (like Punch operator/Data Prep ) this has rarely changed . During my Cobol training I was told that I would be the last generation of programmers and that 4GLs would permit end users to code their own systems. Its the same with computer operations , in my last job they still had 24x7 shift operations - the change from Mainframe to CMP servers didn't affect them. In my current job we still have a large team of sysadmins to look after the server farms .The truth be told the "death of the <insert IT specialist here" only if ever apply to the most basic aspects to a role or to roles tied to particular types of technology - there are even Cobol programming jobs out there becuase the cost of re-coding legacy systems often outweigh the benefits .

  • I think that we are more likely to come across Death of the Overworked IT Professional than Death of the IT Professional [insert rolename here] Role. As mentioned before, it does happen but often those involved in that role can move sideways at the end or naturally do so as part of the shifting trend. I have found at times that I have been in roles that have meant me moving backwards in time with regards to technology, however, that's OK as being at the bleeding edge year in, year out is a struggle.

    I hope that I am correct in my belief that people with good experience and a good attitude will always be able to find work. There may be blips (some of our friends here recently have suffered them) but hopefully for each individual that these blips are infrequent and very short.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Gary Varga (8/24/2016)


    I think that we are more likely to come across Death of the Overworked IT Professional than Death of the IT Professional [insert rolename here] Role. As mentioned before, it does happen but often those involved in that role can move sideways at the end or naturally do so as part of the shifting trend. I have found at times that I have been in roles that have meant me moving backwards in time with regards to technology, however, that's OK as being at the bleeding edge year in, year out is a struggle.

    I hope that I am correct in my belief that people with good experience and a good attitude will always be able to find work. There may be blips (some of our friends here recently have suffered them) but hopefully for each individual that these blips are infrequent and very short.

    +1 for pretty much all that

    I'm always evaluating my position and how I can move it on, especially with regard to doing the best job possible in my current position. Sometimes you just need to grind out the work (move backwards relatively), other times explore the possibilities.

  • Its not the roles disappearing in the short term it where they are moving to.

    Live in a small city or town and the opportunities are a lot less than a big city. Commuting or relocating may not be viable for some with new families, and of course remote-working is virtually non-existent.

    For me the biggest issue is the recent graduates who don't seem to get taught any database skills and are pointed towards the nosql because the lecturers themselves don't know. So who needs database skills when you can store json and not need to worry about scaling :rolleyes:

    Regarding the 4+GL I think it was one of the oversells then have quietly been dropped in favour of new/rebranded fads 🙁

  • Steve, not working for longer than another 25 years will be a decision you make, not forced by age. I retired 4 months ago, went immediately on the "well deserved" holiday and was contacted during my holiday for a job interview I did not apply for. So I said I will help out for 1 hour per day and now it has increased to 4 hours per day. (Only temporary, because I do not want to commit) What I am getting at is that this is a fun job, I like it. it is more like a hobby than work. And if I can help companies and teach some IT professionals on the way it is rewarding.

    So never say never. 🙂

    5ilverFox
    Consulting DBA / Developer
    South Africa

  • Japie Botma (8/24/2016)


    Steve, not working for longer than another 25 years will be a decision you make, not forced by age. I retired 4 months ago, went immediately on the "well deserved" holiday and was contacted during my holiday for a job interview I did not apply for. So I said I will help out for 1 hour per day and now it has increased to 4 hours per day. (Only temporary, because I do not want to commit) What I am getting at is that this is a fun job, I like it. it is more like a hobby than work. And if I can help companies and teach some IT professionals on the way it is rewarding.

    So never say never. 🙂

    It's a long way off, but this is the ultimate goal for me. Rather than retiring completely (which may not be possible) it would be great to pick up some work here and there wherever possible. It sounds like the best of both worlds to me.

  • I work with a lot of younger folks that could excel and exceed me, if they tried. But mention SQL, simple database theory, programming, nifty Excel tips or simple automation that could save them time and their eyes glaze over like you are speaking in Sanskrit in a hot classroom after a large lunch. But they know lots of sports stats and video game trivia.

    Sigh...

  • I just need a couple more years. But in spite of that I decided to move from IT into Compliance. Wow, what a change. This is a career opportunity young folks ought to look into.

  • The career path of IT professionals is a lot like actors, you don't want to allow yourself to become type casted in terms of a role or industry, and you don't want to lose your edge. You don't want to become like the IT equivalent of Norm Peterson on the TV series 'Cheers'. A job like MS Exchange or SharePoint administration is too specialized. I believe that a DBA who deepens his or her general SQL Server or RDMS skills will is not only more adaptable, but their knowledge enhances whatever current role they happen to be in as well. Orangizations can and should rely on their inhouse IT staff to introduce new ideas and technologies to move the department forward.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • I feel the operational roles are going to be harder to keep due to outsorcing and automation. Being the guy who just monitors and restores backups are becoming the minimal position. The developer of data however is exploading with opportuny. Those who develop new data products, SQL developers, BI developers, data scientist, data engineers and even those so-called big data developers are all on the rise.

  • The developer of data however is exploding with opportunity. Those who develop new data products, SQL developers, BI developers, data scientist, data engineers and even those so-called big data developers are all on the rise.

    That's why I'm primarily a developer.

    But most of the top-notch DBAs I know are just as much a developer as they are DBAs. Same with the really good systems administrators.

    As far as jobs go, ETL developers will always be needed. There's so much data out there that needs to be put elsewhere...

  • Whenever I change jobs or projects, I context switch between being primarily a DBA or Database Developer, both of which cross-over into tasks that could be best described as DevOps. I believe that experience in one role adds value to the other roles. Knowing about internals, monitoring, and security makes me a better T-SQL programmer, and having experience as a developer helps guide my approach and strategy for administration, infrastructure, and deployments.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Japie Botma (8/24/2016)


    Steve, not working for longer than another 25 years will be a decision you make, not forced by age. I retired 4 months ago, went immediately on the "well deserved" holiday and was contacted during my holiday for a job interview I did not apply for. So I said I will help out for 1 hour per day and now it has increased to 4 hours per day. (Only temporary, because I do not want to commit) What I am getting at is that this is a fun job, I like it. it is more like a hobby than work. And if I can help companies and teach some IT professionals on the way it is rewarding.

    So never say never. 🙂

    Perhaps, but 25 years is a long time for me. 15 years, sure, but I'd like to be at the point where I pursue other interests, volunteer to help people after that.

  • My boss just told me to begin looking into DynamoDB. Our new data warehouse replacement project for 2017 will migrate from onprem Oracle to AWS Redshift/DynamoDB. I am starting to see a shift of these type offerings becoming more mainstream.

    As of 9/1 one of our SQL Servers will be replaced as SAAS with two more by 1st quarter next year. Our second largest SQL Server based system will be replace by end of 2017 and my guess is it will be a cloud based system. Our most visable SQL Server based system is rolling out right now replacing it as SAAS as well.

    My boss sees our Oracle systems drastically shrinking over the next 5 years and I see our SQL Server systems shrinking as well.

    In looking at DynamoDB it really requires very little DBA work. Quite honestly an applications developer could do all of the work.

    The days of a DBAs duties are changing that is for sure.

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