T-SQL Tuesday #165: What Do All The Database Job Titles Actually Mean?

Invitation and roundup from Josephine Bush

Earlier this year, when I was looking for a new job, I realized that there are a lot of conceptions about what different database jobs do. I was perplexed about what should be part of what job. These job titles could include other job title tasks, depending on what a company wants. The more I Googled what each of the job titles would include, the more it seemed there was no real standard for what each job title does. For example, if a company doesn’t have dedicated DBAs, that job function is lumped into another job title. You might be doing all of them at many companies because you are the db person, period.

My Conceptions or Misconceptions

Here’s what each job title means to me, whether accurate or not:

  • DBA – This is backups, restores, HA, DR, index maintenance, integrity checks, patching, upgrade, and maybe some performance tuning definitely at the server level, maybe at the query level
  • Database engineer – This is more coding and getting into the meat and bones of db design. This could also include building data pipelines. Also, it would include more query tuning.
  • Database reliability engineer – This is more DevOps-y than DBA, so it’s more about automation and creating CI/CD processes.
  • Database architect – This is designing database systems, such as architecting the infrastructure and making diagrams.
  • Data architect – This is intimately knowing the data inside and out and maybe designing data flows.
  • Data warehouse architect – This is a separate domain because DW OLAP differs greatly from DBA OLTP work. I don’t put this with DBRE or DE because it’s its own domain.
  • Data warehouse engineer – Is this a thing? Or is that lumped into a database engineer job title? But again, as I said with database architect vs. data warehouse architect, data warehouse engineer could be separate from database engineer.
  • Data scientist – This is modeling/predicting with datasets.

Kendra did an amazing post covering some of this last week. It was like she was reading my mind because I was preparing this post as she published hers! I hit her up about her post, and she suggested including data scientists in my post.

If you have other database job titles you want to include, please feel free. I thought up whatever I could based on what I saw or thought should be there. I’m excited to see what you all think!

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