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Your own direction: keeping current as a DBA

Your own direction: keeping current as a DBA
I wanted to reach out to everyone today and see how you're working through the huge directional swings with SQL Server (and databases in general).  Yes, there certainly are common grounds, but let's face it, it's not just a database platform choice any more.  You get the select from on-premise, cloud, hybrid, the database platform, relational, non-relational... 

There are quite the number of choices.  How do you choose?  I believe it's clear that cloud has to be part of your DBA skillset.  You need to understand how databases and services that work against your data, are deployed to the cloud.  An important skill right now, because it's so in-demand, is the ability to build hybrid solutions.  These are essentially the stepping stone to the cloud - part of your solution in-house, part in the cloud.  It's new-enough to be tricky, but it's key enough to be something that's not going away (and will get simpler) going forward.

My thoughts on the whole DBA scene as a complete picture, are that DBA-types (data professionals, data scientists, whatever you'd like to call us all), are more and more important than ever.  I say this because the data is flowing so fast, in such volumes and with such importance to our businesses and clients, that it's critical that it be done right.  I think some of this is getting lost in the ease that some ad-hoc solutions can be deployed.

I can feel people bristling as I write that.  The fact that it can be deployed ad-hoc means it still needs attention, still needs some structure to the access and control of that information.  Where we so often get into trouble is when people deploy these solutions to address a quick issue, the solution becomes integrated into the overall information fabric of the company, then no one looks back to see if it's taking into account the things it should.  I think this is so important.  

- Storage
- Security
- Access controls
- Personally identifiable information
- Archive, access, reporting
- Destruction of data no longer kept

These (and more) are critical from the time you start taking in information to the time it's destroyed.  The tools that touch it need to be known and understood.  The implication of those tools and their use is important too.  In the "good ol' days" this was an Access issue.  "Oh no, they're deploying a new departmental database... is it at least backed up??"  Similar issues abound today.  And they take an information and data management role to help make sure they'll continue to deliver. 

What say you?  What is your approach?  Where are you putting your learning and "keeping up" time?