T-SQL Tuesday is a monthly blog party that is the brain child of Adam Machanic (b/t). This month the blog party is being hosted by Koen Verbeeck (b/t) and is inspired by Kendra Little’s (b/t) recent blog post regarding the role of the DBA and The Cloud.
Working in IT doesn’t have many guarantees except one, that things will change. The reason for that change is often driven by the business, where they have to continue to innovate or die. In part, change in IT is also driven by better technology because who still wants to be using Windows 98 Second Edition with a SQL 7.0 on NT 4.0? Oh, and floppies….because they were so awesome. As technology changes, so will the service offerings.
Anyone remember ASPs (Application Service Providers)? For those who don’t, think “The Cloud”, the beta version, circa the early 2000’s. After the fear and expense of the Y2K bug (I can’t believe I need to link this), ASPs showed up promising the businesses protection from crazy bugs like Y2K by hosting their apps. Great idea, except back then bandwidth wasn’t as cheap and the hosting platforming was no where near cheap enough for most businesses to use. Well, both problems have been resolved thanks to cheap bandwidth and virtual servers, making “The Cloud” possible.
Are DBAs endangered?
Yes and no. If, as a DBA, you sit idly by and do nothing to adapt to the changes of the industry, then yes you would be endangered. On the other hand, if you are constantly working on expanding your knowledge, foraging new skills, and trying new things then no, you will not endangered.Oh sure critics, business types, and others who aren’t fond of IT are constantly going to say stuff like “The Cloud”, automation, robots, AI (artificial intelligence, not a guy named AL), is going to replace IT. That is, until the replacement for IT breaks and someone needs to fix it. Even Skynet will need to be repaired. Of course I guess by that time robots will be sentient but I digress.
Sure a person could dogmatically hold on to the old role of database administration where you run backups, set permissions, and etc but why would you want to? How many times can you get excited about installing SQL? These type of duties are the basic parts of our job. The fun stuff is getting to troubleshoot new issues, tweak queries, or learn more about SQL in general. The great part of the job is applying that new knowledge to make everyday work life a little easier.
My point here is this: If you have been in IT for any length of time than you have changed. Actually, you have evolved. Take charge of your evolution, focus on new areas you know little about, chase a certification, do something that makes you uncomfortable. It doesn’t just have to be about SQL either. Take the time to learn the business you support so you can figure out how to better support/serve that business. It’s so much easier to solve problems when you understand the why.
Kendra said it best at the end of her podcast.
“You get one life. You may as well get to solve problems that you enjoy while you work.” – Kendra Little