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?
Parikshit: Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Every company today, needs software infrastructure to have a website, an app or a digital presence to be discovered since most consumers today look for products and services on the internet, marketplace or e-commerce site. To get feedback, reviews, telemetry, social media pulse, gain insights and to predict, again, you need software and infrastructure to ingest, process, transform analyze, predict and report this high volume, variety and velocity of data. LOB applications like CRM, Finance, HR, document repositories are all software services but doesn’t need be proprietary. While every company needs these software services to compete with others in the digital world, it doesn’t make any sense for them to build or maintain these services and datacenters themselves ground up since it is a very high cost to them with minimal value.
A good analogy here would be, if you are a consultant, as part of your job, you need to travel to different places to deliver services to your customers. Now, a consultant doesn’t buy airplanes or hotels but rather rents a seat in an airplane and books a room in hotel for few nights to do their job. If they are paid handsomely, they might consider a faster flight (better performance) to save time or first class (better capacity) but they will still prefer to “pay as you go” rather than buying it upfront. The same logic applies to all small and large businesses. They would like to invest and research in their core competencies and move or offload their mundane data/IT services to cloud. The transformation may take some time but it has started and is happening at a healthy pace so if you are not part of this wave, you will miss out a lot.
I also feel this might be an opportunity for some of the experienced professionals to lead the transformation since the services by themselves are no different, only the platform changes. By virtue of having worked on these services, they can become SMEs and guide the engineering/software development teams in right direction to add value and guide businesses to embrace cloud.
Mohammad: Do you ever see the traditional SQL Server DBA role being replaced/eliminated?
Parikshit: I don’t see it eliminated but I expect it to change into to a more of DevOps role. The administration part of the role like taking backups or repeated mundane tasks will be going away but performance troubleshooting, query tuning, developing and planning automation for standard deployment, jobs, creating runbooks for alerts, capacity planning will remain. I already see these changes in some organizations.
Mohammad: What are you most proud of doing/accomplishing for the SQL Server community so far in your career?
Parikshit: Developing Performance Baselining Reports. :) Also, I love to blog in Tiger team blog and I have got some great positive feedback for some of my posts which makes me feel proud and motivates me to blog more.
Mohammad: What non-technical/non-fiction book/s would you recommend? If you only read technical books…what do you recommend?
Parikshit: Not Applicable – I have a 2.5 year old toddler who loves to keep me pretty busy outside work. :) On a serious note, I am not a books person. I am more of a visual guy who likes to see or learn it, by doing it myself. For entertainment, I enjoy movies (Bollywood preferred with lots of dance and drama ;) For education, I love to read blogs, whitepaper and video presentations or anything which I can put to practice immediately.
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?
Parikshit: It depends :) on what excites you the most and what you aspire to become. Both have their merits and market in the industry. If you are a breadth guy, you can have wider scope and become an architect who can put together a solution which can be implemented or operationalized by depth guys. If you are going in-depth, you should be smart enough to see and understand the demand and roadmap of that product or technology. If you are investing your time and career on a dead product, it might be waste of your time no matter how good you are at it. Also if you go deep, be really good at it since that will be your value prop and differentiator from the rest.
Mohammad: Finally, for someone who has a deep passion for SQL Server, how would they go about applying for the SQL Tiger Team? Would an “outsider” be considered or does the Tiger Team only hire from within Microsoft?
Parikshit: Tiger team was born on the principle to make the customers and community successful on in-market releases of SQL Server. So, if you have deep passion and knowledge of SQL Server coupled with a mindset to make the customers and community successful, you should consider yourself as a good candidate. The role also requires strong business and inter-personal skills to achieve that goal, scale, support and run multi-billion dollar product like SQL Server. You need not be an insider to be part of the Tiger team but the deep knowledge, passion, customer obsessed attitude, strong business skills are key ingredients.