Interview – Monica Rathbun

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.

Next up: Monica Rathbun (b | t): Monica Rathburn

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?

Monica: Absolutely, if you are not taking the cloud seriously and learning all you can you are missing the mark. This is something that is not going away and demand for cloud knowledge is only going to grow. I think companies are really embracing and taking advantage of the DR capabilities the could brings, as well as not having to purchase and maintain hardware. If you are looking to learn about the cloud, make sure you not only understand the mechanics but also fully understand the pricing models. Don’t over allocate your environments to prevent a sticker shock scenarios.

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

Monica: Not at all, there will always need to be a caretaker of the data. Companies will need to have someone on staff that understands it, just because there are cloud services doesn’t mean the need is no longer there.

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

Monica: My hope is that I am encouraging others by sharing my passion for SQL Server and being a positive influence. I am proud to have been able to mentor some and help find others jobs or new career paths. I really enjoy helping build the SQL Server community and when I see individuals that I helped begin to excel, I get excited.

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

Monica: Uggh this is a hard one, I mostly read fiction books for fun as a brain break. As far as technical books the last one I read was A Let Her Finish Series, Voices from the Data Platform written by some incredible women in the SQL Community. I highly recommend it and I am looking forward to more from the series.

Mohammad: For someone who’s career focus has been on one aspect of SQL Server (i.e. high availability), 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?

Monica: I am a jack of all trades, as a lone dba for 15 years I had to be. I am not ever going to be an expert in anything, I have strengths in some things more than others, but I think keeping your skill set wide is very important. I think we now work in an industry that is no longer just focused on the engine, because of this we need to ensure we as DBA’s keep expanding our skills as the industry does. I am not saying you must learn or dabble in all facets of the data platform, but make sure you go beyond the engine. Pick 3-4 other things you can expand on like SQL DB in Azure, SSIS, and Power BI.

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