What I learned this week – Data Migration and the Role of Data Migration Specialist

September 28, 2020
What I learned this week – Data Migration and the Role of Data Migration Specialist

Thank you to Nakturnal for sponsoring part of this post!

Data migration is something I kept hearing about during my internships, but I never actually researched what it entailed. This week, I decided to dive into the topic and share what I found on here! I also thought I would present a job position related to this topic since it could help discover a potential career path for some readers. While surfing the web for information about data migration, I discovered the role of Data Migration Specialist and thought I would share what the role is and what it requires to be one.

What is data migration

Data migration is the process of moving data from one system to another, one version to another, one format to another, etc. There are four types of data migration: storage, database, application and business process migration. There can be many various reasons for a company to migrate data. For example, it could be that a company acquired another or wants to move to the cloud. Let’s say Instagram was storing its data in an Oracle database. However, they find out MongoDB products are more suited for their needs. Therefore, Instagram needs to migrate their existing data which is stored in Oracle to MongoDB. This can seem quite easy when put like this, but it is quite a challenging task since data is often customized and there is a lot of it.

Data migration tools

There are three types of data migration tools: on-premise, which are used to transfer data within the same network, open source, which their design is available to the public, and cloud-based tools, which are used when data needs to be moved to the cloud. There are different factors that influence the selection of tools for a migration. Examples of those factors are cost, the data model used vs the one that will be used and security. Checkout this data migration IT consulting company who understands that all migrations are unique and require a different set of tools and therefore knows how to use all of them.

What is a data migration specialist

Now, data migration specialists are the ones who take care of everything related to the migration of data. They are in charge of designing, planning, implementing and maintaining the data migration. They hold responsabilities such as considering risks and impacts of the migration while planning it and examining existing data systems and deployments. For more responsibilities examples, you can checkout this blog post which explains well the different responsabilities of a data migration specialist.

How to get there

A bachelor’s degree in information technology, information systems or computer science/engineering is a pretty good start, although it is possible to become a data migration specialist without a post-seconday diploma. There is also a possibility of getting a data migration certification.

Obviously, data migration specialists need to have an extremely profound understanding of databases. If you can, take database-related courses at University or online (Cousera offers a pretty complete one). You need to become an expert in databases and data migration; a tip would be to focus in a certain type of data migration, such as storage or database migration.

Also, the data you move is used by a team or a company. Therefore, you need to have strong communication skills. You need to be able to understand the client’s needs and how to fulfill them. Another important skill to have is problem solving as you may have guessed, migrating data most likely will throw at you unexpected curve balls which you will need to assess.

If databases are something you are passionate about, I would encourage you to go on LinkedIn and connect with data migration experts.

Hopefully you learned something new just like I did!