20 November 2005
Who's gonna rule the world? This morning I started to read an article from Information Week about the future of database administrators, as it seems they will rule the world. Is not a joke, their role will become more and more important over the next years, why this? 1. Databases become bigger and more complex The size and complexity of databases is increasing from year to year, same their importance in making faster decision based on current or historical data. Bigger the size and complexity, bigger also the need for ad-hoc or one mouse click reports, and who’s the person who has the knowledge and resources to do this?! 2. Data mining Historical data doesn't resume only to simple reporting, but data mining is becoming more popular, having as purpose the discovery of trends in the business, facilitating somehow predictions for business' future. Let’s not forget that the big players on the database market started to offer data mining solutions, incorporated or not in their database platforms, the data mining features are a start in providing new views over the data. Big companies will opt probably for data analysts, but for medium-sized and small companies, the role of a data analyst could be easy taken by a database administrator. 3. The knowledge that matters Even if databases are backend for complex UI, in time, if not immediately, the database administrator becomes aware of underlaying overall structure of the database and, why not, leaded by curiosity or business' requirements he becomes aware of the content of the data. Even if is a paradox, the database administrator has sometimes more data knowledge than a Manager and the skills to do with data that magic that is important for Managers. 4. Data Cleansing More and more companies are becoming aware of the outliers from their data, so data cleansing is becoming a priority, and again the database administrator has an important role in this process. 5. Database Security Database platforms are growing, unfortunately same thing happens with their security holes and the number of attacks. A skilled database administrator must have the knowledge to overcome these problems and solve the issues as soon as possible. 6. Training Even if can be considered a consequence of the previous enumerated facts, it deserves to be considered separately. Companies start to realize how important it to have a skilled database administrator, so probably they will provide the requested training or help the DBA to achieve this. 7. On site/off shore compromise If in the past years, has been en vogue the concept of off shoring people, including database administrators; probably soon companies will become aware that reducing direct maintenance costs doesn’t mean a reduction of overall costs, which may contain also indirect costs. The delayed response time generated by communication issues, availability or resources plays an important role in the increase indirect costs, most of the big companies will be forced then to opt for a compromise between on site and off shore. In this case the direct benefit for a database administrator is not so obvious, except the financial benefit there is also an image advantage, even if is disregarded, the image and the fact a person is not anymore isolated is important.