Whatever happened to data modeling?

Check out Michael Duffy’s new post Where Have All The Data Modelers Gone?

Data modeling used to be a valued specialization. Then Moore’s Law let companies worry less about data storage efficiency. Developers would do their own database designs, often with little regard for efficiency. Some companies have always cared about data modeling, but fewer over time. But that trend may be reversing. Now that companies are storing rapidly increasing volumes of data, there area new opportunities for data modelers to be heroes.

(Data storage is literally growing exponentially for now. One of my pet peeves is people saying that something is growing exponentially when that’s not what they mean. But in this case, the term is justified.)

3 thoughts on “Whatever happened to data modeling?

  1. It’s nice to think that we’ll see wide spread, old school, specialization again; however, employers and employees have gotten used to dumping computer related tasks onto the “IT Professional”. It’s not cost effective to bring in someone who specializes on just one task. When that task is complete the data modeler will be expected to become a software developer, system administrator, AND (not OR) tester (if testing is even in the budget).

    I fear that a data modeler, hired on for one task, will quickly find himself frustratingly reclassified. This sounds like a good task for on-shore outsouring.

  2. In my limited experience with data modellers, they’ve been in a seperate group from the developers, like the DBAs usually are. So, during design and early development, they’re not part of the team. When they do get called in, they don’t have the domain knowlege that the rest of the team has, and bringing them up to speed tends to slow things down, sometimes dramatically.

  3. Data modeling became standardized. Standardization makes for commoditization. Commoditization leads to reduced wages. Data modelers moved on to higher paying skills.

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