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I'm a DBA - What role should I move into next?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community10 months ago

I'm a Database Administrator and I'm looking how I should proceed further as I see many companies especially big tech don't have a DBA role but Data engineer or Data Scientist or Data Architect. I tried talking to interview kickstart about what roles I can apply to and I'm told to choose one of the above mentioned Data * roles. Can you guide me here on what will be a better approach here?




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    Former Head of Engineering
    10 months ago

    I would preface and say that there's still a big demand for DBAs within the tech industry overall. It's not as high as 10 years ago before the rise of managed services and cloud, but I would still consider it a viable career.

    Now to answer your question, I would lean towards Data Engineering. As a DBA you are naturally exposed to a lot of queries and interact with the data model on a daily basis. Plus you understand best practices around "operational excellence" such as performing backups, IAM, security, ACID properties, etc.

    All these skills are highly transferrable to data engineering. To make things easier, you could even niche down to a particular area such as performance tuning queries or data modeling. When I was in tech consulting, there's a huge demand for these roles, especially in large enterprise. I haven't met a single company that is really happy with how performant their queries are or their data model design.

    Data integrations should come naturally as well since the DB is usually a data source or the destination itself.

    To get a 30K overview of data engineering, I highly recommend Joe Reis' book "Fundamentals of Data Engineering". You can find it on O'Reilly platform.

    Hope this helps you make a more informed decision. DM me if you'd like a quick POV on the other career paths (I've spent some time in each and hired lots of people into these roles).

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    10 months ago

    Which company are you at? Can you navigate from your current role to an area that you think is a higher company priority? Or where you would work with smart people in the company? (who then may help you get a job later on.)

    I'm confident that all the roles you mentioned (DBA, DE, DS, Data Architect) will have roles available in the coming years. I'd advise you to pick the one where you have an unfair advantage based on your network and skills.