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Craftsmanship is mastery, also in IT

IT is developing rapidly. The rise of the cloud and the changing way organizations develop, monitor and manage applications can lead to the gradual disappearance of in-depth IT knowledge and expertise within organizations. Before you know it, we have become managers of the cloud instead of craftsmen within IT. An impoverishment, according to Gerard Zuidweg. In this blog he explains why and what OptimaData is doing to turn the tide in their world of databases.

Gerard Zuidweg

Managing Partner
Gerard Zuidweg - Managing Partner

Need for high-quality knowledge and experience

More and more work is done by cloud providers. Database work is increasingly automated, and DevOps departments pick up tasks that were originally performed by a Database Administrator (DBA).

As a result, the full-time DBA is slowly but surely disappearing from the organizations. With him also the high-quality knowledge and experience with regard to databases. Knowledge and experience that is often needed when solving complex problems, major disruptions or drastic projects, such as infrastructural choices, setting up data models, performance optimization, migrations and troubleshooting.


Of course you can outsource or reorganize some of the responsibilities. But you need to avoid becoming dependent on cloud providers and then only be able to solve problems by spending more money on resources in the cloud.

Sometimes I compare it with developments in the automotive industry. Fifty years ago, you found a car mechanic on every street corner who knew exactly how a car worked, and what he had to do to get it going again. Today, the ‘mechanic’ puts a USB stick in it and ‘something’ happens that no one knows exactly what. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then everyone is clueless and the supplier has to be called in to get the car rolling again.

I want to plead that we continue to invest, train and gain experience so that we can stay on top of things ourselves.

Passing on knowledge

One way to do this is to create a specialist within a field in which senior consultants are linked to juniors who work together on customer projects. The OptimaData team, for example, includes people well over fifty years old.

They still have assembled their own computers and know what it’s like to roll up their sleeves and work on large mainframes. But there’s also a generation at the lunch table that has been trained with the idea that ‘a computer’ is synonymous with a few virtual button presses at AWS.

Both groups of people are important and by bringing these two groups together on database projects and issues, we all learn. In this way knowledge is passed on and experience is gained and we maintain craftsmanship.

The center of expertise in the field of databases

As OptimaData we do not only want to share knowledge and experience internally, but emphatically also externally. That is why our mission is to be the center of expertise in the field of databases, in the Netherlands and abroad.

As a specialist we have an enormous amount of experience and knowledge in our field that others can benefit from. We actively make that knowledge and experience available by writing blogs, organizing meetups and giving trainings, lunch&learn sessions, but also by offering internships. Moreover, OptimaData is an accredited training company for MBO trainees.

Proud people with a profession

I plead that we continue to invest in the level of knowledge of the underlying techniques of IT. ‘Craftsmanship is mastery’, an old advertising slogan of a Dutch beer brewer, is written above our door. We are people with a profession. Let’s be proud of that.


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