Interview – Andreas Wolter

I decided to start a series of blogs where I interview key people in the SQL Server community. Instead of me asking technical questions, I plan on asking about their outlook on the future, books they read (non-fiction and/or technical), and their overall thoughts on where technology (mainly SQL Server) is headed. You can find more interviews here.

Andreas Wolter
Andreas Wolter

Next up: Andreas Wolter (b | t):

Mohammad: Do you think people who dismiss the cloud as a “fad” or just don’t take it serious enough to learn about it (i.e. Azure, AWS, etc), will be in a tough spot to find a job 5 years from now?

Andreas: Fair question. First of all, from what I see that number of people is declining a lot. Even in Germany ;-)

And then it depends on the person and their specific job. I guess from a certain age on, it really doesn’t matter a lot, because those jobs will not disappear overnight. The shift towards cloud is already happening since a couple of years and will continue to do so.

Then there are highly focused experts, and they will always find work in the traditional server landscape. But if you are just an average IT guy with a long time till pension, you really need to get cloud on your skillset.

Newcomers really should learn to design for the cloud.

Mohammad: Do you ever see the traditional SQL Server DBA role being replaced/eliminated?

Andreas: Yes, I do. I give it about 7 years. I am pretty confident on that number. But now that it is public, I am open for bets – not involving money though ;-)

And remember my answer from above.

Mohammad: What are you most proud of doing/accomplishing for the SQL Server community so far in your career?

Andreas: I think that would be the fact that over time I was able to share my knowledge with an enormous variety of people in different countries and continents. From that a lot of friendships evolved. And that is real life. Which is what counts in the end.

Not so much, that over time I was able to save some company’s a lot of money by designing highly scalable systems that will remain more than a decade. Even though I am also proud on such, this is just a different “scope”.

Mohammad: What non-technical/non-fiction book/s would you recommend? If you only read technical books…what do you recommend?

Andreas: I must admit that I am much more into older literature than contemporary. I really can recommend “The History by Herodotus”, the great ancient Greek historian. Also “The Hearth of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad (which the movie “Apocalypse Now” was based on) with an extraordinary density of words is one of my favorites.

Mohammad: For someone who’s career focus has been on one aspect of SQL Server (i.e. Database Engine), do you think it would be wise for them to become a “jack of all trades” by starting to learn, SSRS/IS/Azure, etc. or remain focused on their area of expertise? In another words, which would you say is more valuable? mile wide / inch deep or inch wide / mile deep?

Andreas: My advice would always be: be focused. And with the cloud, generalists will have less to do, because of the increase of simplification and automation of general tasks. This loops back to the first two questions and specifically addresses newcomers.

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