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The evolution of the DBA and the Data Architect

When a company's customers, employees, and partners can access data easily through a user-friendly system, they have two people to thank for it: a database administrator and a data architect. Ensuring that well-built databases function reliably and securely for potentially thousands or even millions of users is a major responsibility, and companies in every industry rely on data architects and DBAs to design and monitor data networks that meet the needs of all who use them.

As the business community's data needs have skyrocketed, the skills necessary for keeping up with the latest database technologies have also expanded. The recent ebook from ObjectRocket, The Emerging Skillsets of the Data Revolution: Defining Key Data Roles, provides an overview of the essential skills of both the DBA and data architect. A snapshot of these roles, along with the C-level data positions of the chief data officer and chief analytics officer, is provided in the following infographic.

DBA Infographic

The New DBA: Keeping up with the Latest Data Demands

The database administrator role has been a central IT role for years, and as IT responsibilities have changed, the duties of the DBA have grown in unprecedented ways. In many cases, developers and other IT professionals have taken on the role in order to keep company operations functioning without delays. This kind of resourcefulness is common among DBAs, who are expected to keep a finger on the pulse of today’s range of technologies and make the best choice of database for a company’s operations.

"Today there's a myriad of choices," says Kenny Gorman, Chief Technologist at the Rackspace Office of the CTO, and co-founder of ObjectRocket. "DBAs are increasingly challenged with knowing what these different data stores do, how they work and what they can bring to the table."

Having SQL and NoSQL skills are necessary, along with big data skills that include proficiency with a variety of technologies, from Microsoft SQL Server to Mongo DB. Having a working knowledge of the latest developments will be necessary for DBAs who want to stay on the cutting edge of database technologies, or those who have stepped up to become a DBA.

The New Data Architect: Building a Robust Data Infrastructure

The emergence of big data has not only ushered in the need for the latest database technologies, but also the need for a data infrastructure with user-friendly access to those databases. Whereas the chief data officer and chief analytics officer plan and implement a company's data strategy, a data architect is responsible for designing and building a network that will meet a company’s storage, access and analytics requirements. Along with that is making sure employees can access and share data easily.

"People want to get to the data in a timely manner," says Ali Farahani, the CDO of the County of Los Angeles' Chief Information Office. "Once you make the data available with a consistent architecture, you can have a more streamlined process of creating data sources and sharing them."

David Murphy, Lead DBA and former Mongo Master at ObjectRocket, emphasizes that once data architects have matched up the needs of employees with a customized data architecture, they can complete their primary duties by thinking about future data demands. "The final part is understanding what technologies a company should be looking at, moving forward," Murphy explains, "so that they're ahead of the curve and are preparing for the next six months, the next year, the next two years."

A Closer Look at the Evolving Skillsets

For organizations looking to stay competitive and gain new insights on consumer behavior, their game plan must consist of determining where any skill gaps exist and then assembling a team of data experts who can provide the knowledge and creativity to realize a company's data objectives. Even for someone well versed in past database technologies and expertise, keeping up with the latest requirements is a challenge, and The Emerging Skillsets of the Data Revolution will be a helpful resource when gathering the talent to form a data management team.

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