2017-02-16

Musical Chairs And The DBA

Thomas LaRock wrote a blog post a couple of months ago that really irritated me. It was about the future of the DBA. My first instinct was to write a rebuttal blog post of my own. In my mind I would "throw the bullshit flag" and remind everyone that speculation is an exercise in futility. I'd insist that until his predictions start happening, he's just guessing and full of crap. Let's just say that blog post, if written, would have quickly been added to the list of really dumb things I've done in my lifetime.

That was then and this is now. You see, over time I've come to agree with Thomas. The handwriting has been on the wall for a while, but I didn't really notice until just recently. I hate to do any speculating myself, but I'm starting to envision a landscape where the only people who can make a decent living as a DBA are the SQL Data Platform MVPs, the perennial PASS Summit speakers, the regular presenters at SQLSaturdays, and the superstars at the top consulting firms. Are you one of those people? If and when the music stops, will there be a chair waiting for you?

Hypothetically, if the DBA career path withers on the vine, what's one to do? Get into data analytics? Or data science? Jamie Johnston had a really cool session on R at PASS Summit 2016. He also has a cool backstory on how he made the career change from DBA to data scientist. Part of his path was getting a masters in data analytics. That's no small task. It's about 2 years of school at a pretty fast pace. The classes look intense too. I also found that there are some online certifications for data science that you can get through Coursera, among others. But those involve the same long, intense investment of your time that going back to school does. But I'm probably telling you something you already know: there are no shortcuts to becoming a data scientist.

I hear the music, Thomas. I don't know what's going to happen next. I'm not scared or worried. I'm not even mad. But I'm frustrated. I feel overwhelmed. If you count the jump from developer to DBA, I've gone through two career changes. I really wasn't looking forward to a third. Sorry for the poop hot dog, everyone. Bon app├ętit.


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