3 Can’t Miss Ways to Turn Your DBA Skills into Gold

Autonomous databases signal change, and DBAs can make that change pay off with new data-focused opportunities.

By Jeff Erickson

October 14, 2019

A technology shift can be painful for those who aren’t ready for it but a boon for those who prepare.

As more enterprise database management work is taken over by autonomous databases—which deploy, tune, upgrade, and secure themselves with no human intervention—the options for the DBAs who do this work remain broad and intriguing. Why? Because in the digital economy, data is one of the most precious commodities—in a close race with caffeine—and while barista seems like a fun job, DBAs can instead follow their expertise with data and databases into more of a “data architect” role with these three wide-open opportunities.

Opportunity: Develop

Sure, app developers have often been a pain in your side. But that’s because you were busy managing the database and you didn’t have time to help them use the database well. Now that the autonomous database is handling many time-consuming database management duties, use your time and expertise to build or improve your company’s applications.

Here are a few pieces of advice I’ve heard from database developers and DBAs over the past year and a half of writing about Oracle Autonomous Database and those who use it. These DBAs have shifted the way they work towards app development, whether that is helping developers use the data better, using development tools readily available in the database, or even dipping their toes into the open source development process, for example:

  • Get good at data modeling with Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler. It’s a free tool with Oracle Database that lets you create, browse, and edit logical, relational, physical, multidimensional, and data type models. With it, you can help developers plan and execute the very best way to use data in their applications.

  • Learn Oracle Application Express (Oracle APEX). Oracle APEX is a popular development platform that’s free for use with Oracle Database. It’s a drag-and-drop interface for building data-driven applications. It has a large and enthusiastic community behind it and is a source of opportunity for many database developers.

  • Explore open source tools and cloud resources and how they work with Oracle Database. One way to get started is to visit Oracle’s homepage on GitHhub and check out the projects there. See how Oracle is participating and leading open source efforts, such as graal, Node.js, docker-images, and much more. It’s an entrée into a whole world that could really use your database expertise.

Opportunity: Analyze Data

Why should data scientists get all the glory? You already find, transform, mask, and clean data for data scientists to do their work. Instead of throwing the data over to the data scientist’s open source data stores and algorithms to explore with Python and R, why not just leave the data you’ve gathered in Oracle Database and analyze it using your SQL knowledge? That solves a common problem that keeps data science models derived in other languages from getting into production, and it spells a big opportunity for DBAs who want to get into the data science game.

Oracle Autonomous Database comes with Oracle Machine Learning, a rich library of machine learning algorithms, as well as a popular notebook for defining questions, experimenting with analytical approaches, and publishing data science projects. And it’s one click away in the autonomous database: Click Oracle Machine Learning Accounts in the autonomous database console and explore the “hot” job of data scientist.

Opportunity: Go Big (Data)

The amount of data that companies generate and use these days is not just “big”; it’s unprecedented and it’s accelerating. Hundreds of petabytes won’t be unusual as more IoT devices and 5G networks come online.

Your job as a data management expert is not just to find a place to store data but to help your company make good use of it. That will take complex data management architectures that must be designed, built, and maintained. For an Oracle DBA, that will mean understanding ancillary file systems, such as Hadoop or BigQuery, or learning Oracle’s broader big data management platform, which integrates popular big data file systems and cloud services with Oracle Database to help organize and analyze big data—with SQL at the center of it.

For DBAs and data architects, a longtime database architect and tuner said the following in a recent conversation about dealing with vast and growing data volumes: “That added complexity and scale should sound like a huge opportunity knocking.”

Next Steps

TRY Always Free Oracle Autonomous Database.

Illustration by Wes Rowell