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Addressing the workplace skills gap needs ‘revaluation and reform’

As a person with a mission critical job role, there was nothing worse than being halfway into the drive to meet a client and you get pulled away.

Triads arrested in Hong Kong speedboat smuggling raids
Hong Kong has no sales tax, making smuggling to the Chinese mainland hugely lucrative - Copyright AFP Bertha WANG
Hong Kong has no sales tax, making smuggling to the Chinese mainland hugely lucrative - Copyright AFP Bertha WANG

Many organizations are feeling the aftermath of The Great Resignation, which has left them with less employees to do more and more tasks. This refers to a period, that began in September 2021, when large numbers of employees quit their jobs.

A key reason why so many people left was in light of the prospect of returning to work following the end of remote working. Even the ‘compromise’ of hybrid working was not sufficient to entice employees back into the corporate machine.

According to Lisa Smith, Senior Remote Database Administrator at MariaDB Corporation, the impact of the loss of skilled and experienced workers has impacted many industries. Smith considers the skills-gap as it impacts across the technology sector.

The need for experts

Smith tells Digital Journal that the demand for experts is growing rapidly. She states: “It’s common that database professionals have a working knowledge of multiple database systems, but they might not know them well enough to be considered an expert, and that’s what is needed.”

Smith interprets this as: “The good news is that individuals looking to get into the industry can actually teach themself if they have that motivation. I actually majored in chemistry and taught college level chemistry for 14 years. But I always loved computers and computer science, so I spent a year learning MariaDB and MySQL and never looked back. It will take time, and a lot of reading, testing, experimenting and digging into internals to become an expert, but there is plenty of demand and opportunity for those who are willing.”

The role of a DBA will continue to grow and remain remote

With database administrators, Smith highlights this particular occupation as being impacted: “As a person with a mission critical job role, there was nothing worse than being halfway into the drive to meet a client when another issue would come up. A work-from-home environment makes sense because cloud enables operations and access for the IT world 24/7 around the clock. DBAs need to be always available—not stuck in a car somewhere—and they can be, with the flexibility and efficiency that modern cloud systems have ushered in for enterprises and developers.”

The shift to the cloud has evolved the modern DBA

According to Smith the database administrator has shifted from a hands-on database overseer to a value-driver for our customers’ businesses. She finds: “Day-to-day, I work with companies in two separate environments. We can work on higher level things for companies in the cloud because we are only a few clicks away from setting up an instance, for example. They already have their database up and running, they’ve got backups, they’ve got this high availability environment — all of this just takes minutes. Customers who aren’t in the cloud spend the majority of their time on foundational elements.”

Flexibility is king

In terms of businesses that buckle the trends, Smith notes that flexibility will be a key differentiator determining success going forward. She says: “Companies must be resilient and open to change. There might be an upfront cost in learning a new product or environment, but companies that understand the importance of building on flexible platforms that can scale, shift, and adapt as new situations arise will be able to spend more time on optimization and looking forward.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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