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.
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?
Bob: I definitely see SQL Server becoming more cloud and/or service-focused with time. I think we’re seeing that already with now-yearly releases for on-premises. I think in the next five years we’ll continue to see new development in many cases be cloud-focused from the beginning. There will always be organizations and use cases where the cloud just doesn’t make sense or isn’t an option though. These are things like old code that just won’t play nice, or databases with massive levels of size or activity where cloud pricing just isn’t economical.
Mohammad: Do you ever see the traditional SQL Server DBA role being replaced/eliminated?
Bob: I don’t think the traditional DBA role will ever be replaced or eliminated, but it will continue to evolve. I think a lot of parts of the job that involve maintaining the data and its storage will start to become more scarce, as things move to the cloud, while architectural and tuning tasks will become more important. When every query costs money, organizations are going to start to care about optimizing their code more!
Mohammad: What are you most proud of doing/accomplishing for the SQL Server community so far in your career?
Bob: Without a doubt, the thing I am most proud of doing within the community is helping new members get started. Making sure they have a great experience and make a new contact at their first SQL Saturday, chapter meeting, or other event. It may not sound like much, but first impressions really do matter. From there, the best feeling in the world is when they enjoy it enough to come back to the next chapter meeting, or go to another SQL Saturday, and maybe get involved in volunteering themselves.
Mohammad: What non-technical/non-fiction book/s would you recommend? If you only read technical books…what do you recommend?
Bob: Every once in a while I get an opportunity to read a non-technical book. One of the ones I most recently enjoyed was “How the States Got Their Shapes” by Mark Stein. This book covers the borders of every US state and how they came to be what they are today. Incredibly interesting.
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?
Bob: I think specializing will always have more value than being a generalist. I don’t advocate for being a “jack of all trades” but what I will say is that you can’t be a specialist in a hole either. Keep up with new developments and other technologies enough to understand what they are, what issues they address and their strengths/weaknesses. Nobody can ever be a master of everything; but I’d rather be really good at one thing than just so-so at many things.