My Three Beliefs About The Future Of The DBA Job

My Three Beliefs About The Future Of The DBA Job

October 23, 2019 0 By dianarobete

I’ve received lots of feedback to my last blog post, and lots of you were asking me what will happen to the DBA job in the future!

I think this is a great question that is on the mind of many DBAs, including myself. As a matter of fact, I attended two presentations at OOW in September on this subject. One presentation was delivered by Francisco Munoz Alvarez – “Does Cloud Mean the End of the DBA?”, and the other presentation was delivered by Rich Niemiec – “The DBAs Next Job”. I was very curious about how others see the future of the DBA job. Of course both presentations delivered tremendous amount of information and food for thought.

Many of you might be fearful of the future of the DBA job. Will it still exist in a few years, will there be a need for DBAs, will the DBA be replaced by the autonomous database? These are all great questions.

In today’s post I will give you my point of view on the subject. What’s in store for the DBA in the near future? How the DBAs future will be shaped?
Please do not take this as the absolute truth or advice, take it simply as is: an opinion of a fellow DBA.

Our current lives are shaped by technology. All IT jobs are affected by technological changes in one way or the other. Go talk to System Administrators, Developers, QA Testers, and ask them if their jobs are changing!

Even if we don’t like change as humans, remember this: change is good! Change is forcing you to grow in your career and as a person. If we don’t grow in our life as a person, we die. Translate that to our jobs, if we don’t grow in our career, if we don’t learn new things, then we become obsolete.

These job changes are not unique to our times, they happened before, just look at the industrial age that replaced the agricultural age. What is unique to our times, is the speed of the change in technology.
We must learn new things faster and more often than ever before, to keep up with the changes in the industry. Just look at the database versions: 18c, 19c and 20c will be out soon.

I won’t make you wait any longer, listed below are three of my beliefs in regards to the future of the DBA job:

  1. The DBA job as we know it today, will change, it will evolve into something else.
  2. You better start learning new skills today, so you can evolve with the DBA job
  3. If you have not automated repetitive task until now, then now is the time to do it.

Let’s look at my first belief: The DBA job as we know it today, will change, it will evolve into something else.

How will the job change?

You might be managing less databases, due to consolidations. You might be managing database not only on prem, but in the cloud, or maybe solely in the cloud. I would not be concerned about being replaced by the autonomous database, as not every company will be using autonomous. I believe lots of companies will still be using regular databases in the future.

You might be engaging in other activities, outside of the comfort zone of the DBA, such as writing complicated SQL reports, data analysis and data mining. You might be working with other technologies, JSON, Ansible, Jenkins …, and might be involved in development or architecture work.
You might be looking into implementing machine learning algorithms and AI in your job.

Second belief: You better start learning new skills today, so you can evolve with the DBA job

In order to evolve with the DBA job, your skillsets must evolve too. This means you need to learn new things!
If you’re wondering whether you should learn Oracle 19c, I’d say absolutely! Should you learn autonomous database? Absolutely! Should you learn about the cloud? Absolutely! Should you learn about other database technologies? Absolutely! Should you learn about machine learning? Absolutely! Should you learn Python? Wouldn’t that be nice?

I think you get the idea!

Don’t get overwhelmed about the amount of stuff to learn! I did not say to become an expert or certified in the field, what I am trying to say is to have a basic understanding of the technology. See what you can do with it. See how the technology could help you, how could you implement it in your work! Once you broaden your horizon, more possibilities open up!

When should you start learning new skills? Well, now would be a good time to start!

Third belief: If you have not automated repetitive task until now, then now is the time to do it.

Are you still doing manual database health checks every morning? Now is the time to automate it! Are you still manually changing password in each database one at a time? Now is the time to automate it! Are you still doing manual database refreshes? Now is the time to automate it!

Why am I so much unto the automation?
One of the benefits of automation is that it frees you from doing boring, repetitive tasks. I don’t know about you, but I do not get any excitement from changing passwords in each database manually, or doing health checks every single morning.

I wrote an article three years ago, called: A Good DBA Automates (Almost Everything), and the article is still applicable now. You can check it out here:

You’ve seen the technologies I listed in #1. That is a lot of new things to learn! Since time is a very precious commodity, you must use it wisely. Where will you find the time to learn new things?

I’ll let you in on a secret, you will never “find” the time to learn new things, you will have to “make” the time to learn new things! If you automate the repetitive tasks, this will free you up some time, and you can use that time to develop yourself.

If you enjoyed this article, and would like to learn more about databases, please sign up to my weekly email, and you will receive

The Ultimate 3 Step Guide To Find The Root Cause Of The Slow Running SQL!