The world of data has fragmented and splintered into many tiny pieces. Back in the 1990's as a report writer, we had data in Oracle or SQL Server and a GUI interface called Seagate Crystal Reports to pull the data, export it and send to the users.
Now we have a plethora of options, quite overwhelming. If you were to look solely at the Microsoft offering alone, you'd quickly see at least 20 variations.
Storing the database, we have SQL Server 2014, Excel, Access, Blob Storage, DocumentDB and Hadoop.
Pulling the data, we have SSRS, Power View, Power Pivot, Power Query, T-SQL, Map Reduce, HiveSQL, Machine Learning, SSIS, MDX and Excel.
There's on-premise, Azure, Office365, PowerBI and Hybrid solutions.
So the variety of options can be customized to fit any client. However, this creates an opportunity for Data Professionals to learn the gamut of offerings and stay up to speed on new developments.
My approach is to learn as much as possible to keep a wide view and focus on specific technologies as it becomes necessary. The other approach is to become deeply knowledgeable of a few specific technologies. These features listed above are the hard skills
The soft skills include project management, Agile Methodology, gathering specification, Networking, Active Directory, Virtual Networks, Visio diagrams, Documentation, attention to details, problem solving, etc.
And then there's other skills like completing the last 10% of a project, staying within budget, meeting client expectations, proper email etiquette, entering hours in timesheets, meeting new clients for potential sales.
And then there Architecture. Recommending the best solution to specific clients based on needs. Knowing hardware specification, hard drives, memory, virtual vs. physical, Cloud vs. On-Premise, Source Code repository solutions, Network, ITIL Methodology and Architecture frameworks.
So you can see there's quite a bit of a knowledge curve in getting up to speed in the world of data. And the learning never ends. It's a challenge and opportunity and a great way to earn a living.
Gone are the days of simple queries to pull data into a report to send to a client. The Data Ecosystem has incrementally compounded for the better.