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Role Analysis: DBA, Data Engineer, DB Reliability Engineer

Kendra Little disambiguates roles:

Much has changed: development patterns transformed from Waterfall to Agile, DevOps drives automation and shared ownership of code, and cloud services have made many more kinds of PAAS databases, data lakes, and data lakehouses available to organizations of all sizes.

These changes have introduced new and varied career paths for data folks which have different emphases on skill sets. In this post, I talk through the commonalities and differences between DBAs, Database Reliability Engineers (DBREs), and Data Engineers (DEs). Whether you’re a hiring manager or data professional, it’s worth knowing about these roles.

And a fourth one I’d include is Database Engineer, which I’ve also called a development DBA (versus a production DBA): focus on one platform, like SQL Server, and specialize in code development and tuning on that platform. I’d expect a Data Engineer to be familiar with at least one or two non-SQL programming languages—Python, Scala, Java, C#, F#, pick your poison—but that wouldn’t necessarily hold for a DBE.