Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2023


DBA Evolution (the Changing Role of the Database Administrator)

Do you ever find yourself pondering life’s important questions: What does a DBA actually do? How has the role changed over the years? What will it look like in the future? Why are DBAs so grumpy?

It shocked me to realise recently that it’s almost a quarter of a century since I started work as a junior database administrator, fresh out of university. Just like everything else in the IT world, the role of the DBA has evolved massively in that time. Has it changed beyond recognition, or does today’s DBA still do fundamentally the same job?

I don’t imagine most DBAs currently spend their time reorganising their datafiles to create contiguous blocks of free space that the database can make use of. And I’m fairly certain the world is a better place for it.

My 21 year-old self could never have imagined managing a self-healing, automated, scalable database cluster on Kubernetes.

On the other hand, the questions of data modelling, disk capacity, query performance, and user management are as relevant today as they were back then.

Let’s take a light-hearted look at the changing role of the DBA over the past couple of decades, with some guesses about what the DBA of the future will be doing. Or will autonomous databases finally have put us all out of work?


Photo of Karen Jex Karen Jex