With the changing landscape of technology and data, the role of a database administrator (DBA) continues to evolve. The biggest concern of DBAs is whether this change will affect their importance in a positive way or will Big Data wipe out their significance?
To many, Big Data opens more challenging opportunities but with a new focus on the role. The fact that someone needs to administer and take care of the valuable data will make a DBA stay in the game for good. As more organizations maintain and store massive amounts of data, a DBA’s role becomes more important in efficiently handling data and ensuring its security and integrity.
Despite an ever-increasing amount of data to be maintained, the challenge is that the organizations don’t increase the number of DBA to administer the data. The DBA is therefore overwhelmed, and they end up doing a lot more than they used to handle.
In another scenario, some companies are outsourcing DBA works, leaving no room for a DBA in the organizational structure. This situation becomes another concern for a database administrator.
However, many more businesses recognize the importance of having a DBA to perform not just the traditional administration duties but also data management, including data integration.
Modern data architecture offers many opportunities for DBAs to expand their role in the company. Administrators can perform other “exciting” opportunities in Big Data, and new skill areas are emerging in this arena. These include being a Hadoop platform administrator. Understanding data processing in Hadoop and integrating it with existing data sources are invaluable skills to develop in the Big Data environment. Another focus area for the Big Data DBA is learning how to set up an R environment as well as understanding all the R scripting and advanced analytics scripts.
Data integration is a fundamental skill of a DBA. In Big Data, this becomes a more essential function because there’s always a need to connect to different data sources. Developing a service for diverse data sources is a valuable asset for Big Data projects.
There are massive opportunities for DBAs according to Gwen Shapira, a senior database administrator at Pythian, a data infrastructure management company. In this era of Big Data, the DBAs are more recognized and regarded, said Shapira in an interview with Enterprise Apps Today. In the past, database administrators were acknowledged only when the database stopped working. Now, business leaders see them play a significant role in the organization.
By enhancing their Big Data skills and learning new technologies and tools needed to manage Big Data, DBAs will have a strong foundation for bringing their role to a higher level. With an open mind and analytical capability, they will be able to embrace the changes in the industry and use Big Data to their advantage.
In the end, database administrators have a choice. Either they face the challenge and play a more significant role in the Big Data arena and take their career to the next level or be content in playing the traditional technical and administrative role.
Photo by Christoph Scholz.