Prediction: SQL server DBA role

There have been a lot of questions, posts, answers, guesses and such floating around the SQL blogs lately…most of which seem to suggest that the DBA is going away.


The DBA position is not going away.  Ever.  Or at least not before I retire to Utah to spend my days mountain biking 😉

But…it is changing and will do so even more over the next 3-5 years.   Long gone are the days where a DBA stays busy backing up databases and creating indexes.   Those are still necessary, or even critical, but thanks to some brilliant minds and thousands of willing testers, the basic tasks of the DBA have largely been scripted away.

Automation.  Powershell.  Cloud technologies.  SQL Server on Linux.

Some of these have been around awhile, some are newer and some are still in CTP.  But they are ABSOLUTELY going to be required knowledge for anyone in or around the database world…admins, developers and managers.

Automation – this is a basic need at this point.   Whether running Ola‘s backup/maintenance scripts, or using Powershell to shut down Virtual SQL Server in Azure, if you are not automating repetitive tasks you are wasting your employer or client’s money.  Simple as that.

Powershell – 10+ years old now, and is really starting to pick up steam in the SQL realm…thanks largely but not solely to the dbatools team. Companies increasing their use of PS are going to make obsolete the “I can do everything I need in T-SQL” argument.  My decision to switch.

Cloud tech – AWS, Azure, Google, Cisco, internal, public, private…lions and tigers and bears, oh my!  As a DBA you are going to have to help guide your firm in the right path when the marketing/sales guys try to influence them.   You cannot do that unless you know the pros and cons…from Data Lakes to simple blob storage for backup.  Learn the lingo so you are not caught unaware.

SQL on Linux – Something I have just started messing around with.  I guarantee you this is going to be huge.  Microsoft made a brilliant decision here and has done an amazing job porting a massive number of SQL features to the Linux based “vNext”.  My prediction – in 5 years if you aren’t competent enough to navigate Linux in order to troubleshoot a SQL issue, your job prospects will be limited.  Just start learning now…free Linux training is all over the place.

This is just touching the surface of how the DBA job will be changing…just like it has been changing for the 18 years I’ve been in it.  Don’t be afraid, just begin adapting now so you are ahead of the game!

I sincerely hope this has been an encouragement to you.  Your job as a DBA is not going away…its actually becoming more necessary.  Are you up to the task of adapting?

Thanks for reading!


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