Recently Pradeep Parmer at AWS had a blog post about transitioning from DBA to DBI or in other words from database administrator to database innovator. I wonder what exactly is the difference here as any DBA worth his or her salt is an innovator in itself.
Administering a database is not about sleepily issuing backup commands or in terms of Cloud managed databases clicking here and there. Database administration has evolved over time just like other IT roles and is totally different what it was few years back.
Regardless of the database engine you use, you have to have a breadth of knowledge about operating systems, networking, automation, scripting, on top of database concepts. With managed database services in cloud like AWS RDS or GCP Cloud SQL or Big Query many of the skills have become outdated but new ones have sprung up. That has always been the case with DBA field.
Taking the example of Oracle; what we were doing in Oracle 8i became obsolete in Oracle 11g and Oracle 19c is a totally different beast. Oracle Exadata, RAC, various types of DR services, fusion middleware are in itself a new ballgame with every version.
Even with managed database services, the role of DBA has become more involved in terms of migrations and then optimizing what's running within the databases from stopping the database costs going through the roof.
So the point here is that DBAs have always been innovators. They have always been trying to find out new ways to automate the management and healing of their databases. They always are under the pressure to eke out last possible optimization out of their system and that's still the case even if those databases are supposedly managed by cloud providers.
With purpose built databases which are addressed different use case for different database technology the role of DBA has only become more relevant as they have to evolve to address all this graph, in-memory, and other cool nifty types of databases.
We have always been innovators my friend.