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After a data modeling question got migrated to DBA, I spend a little time in DBA's meta looking into what the DBA community thought about the boundary between SO and DBA, especially where data modeling is concerned. Some people thought that advanced or complicated questions concerning data modeling belonged in DBA, while neophyte questions should remain in SO. Kind of a "separating the men from the boys" sort of thing. In fact, that phrasing was used with regard to DBMS specific questions.

Where are data modeling questions better served, in DBA or SO? Are advanced database designers all DBAs? Has the DBA SE become the Database community?

I tend to think of data modeling as being like object modeling, only different. And I tend to think of both kinds of modeling as fundamental skills for today's programmmers. Conceptual data modeling is not complicated. It's a little on the abstract side, but then again so is object modeling.

Are databases main stream tools that most programmers are going to use, like object libraries? Or are they a special niche in the broader field of IT?

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It's on topic for both. If it was asked here, we wouldn't ship it blindly to DBA, but we might still ship it over – casperOne Mar 26 '13 at 12:46
The "men from the boys" distinction is a bit unfortunate. Some questions are shipped to DBA because they require a DBA's specific expertise. – Robert Harvey Mar 26 '13 at 15:36
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Are databases main stream tools that most programmers are going to use, like object libraries? Or are they a special niche in the broader field of IT?

Good question. Based on my experience I'd say data modelling is a special niche.

I'm presently using data structures in my job that were designed in the 1970's. The data structures were migrated from IDMS to DB2, but they remained the same.

I've designed way more data structures for students on Stack Overflow than I've ever designed for commercial and government enterprises. I'm a trained data modeller, but there's not much call for data modelling in the business world.

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Thanks for your answer. Back in the 80s, when I learned relational databases, everybody who built a database needed some kind of data model to guide the design. The only practical way to get a data model was to learn data modeling. Today, building a database seems to be a routine part of building an application. Yet, if your experience is a guide, data modeling is beyond their ken. Seems like a recipe for doing things badly. Thanks again. – Walter Mitty Mar 27 '13 at 11:41
Yep. Web developers tend to say, let's use a NoSQL database. Basically, a fancy flat file system. – Gilbert Le Blanc Mar 27 '13 at 12:50
right. Add to that that many of them think that sharing data between applications is a dumb idea, at least from the vendor's point of view. – Walter Mitty Mar 29 '13 at 10:05

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